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Hornby O Gauge Model Railroads & Trains

O Gauge model trains were the first model trains that Hornby produced. In 1920, the company introduced the Hornby Clockwork Train, which was designed to be taken apart and put back together. Hornby model trains were made of nickel-based plates that were painted in enamel and trimmed with brass, so they were very attractive model railroad sets.

The Hornby Electric Train set was Hornby's first O gauge electric model railway. This set was modeled after the Metropolitan Railway, London's first passenger subway, so Hornby's first electric train represented a real-life electric train. This train ran on high voltage and was considered dangerous, so the company replaced it with a lower voltage set.

Pressure to make model railroads in a smaller scale was put on Hornby in the late '20s. The company continued to produce O gauge stock, however, including model trains for export to the United States and Canada. Hornby also made advertising wagons that are highly desired by collectors today. These include Coleman's Mustard, Jacob's Biscuits, and Cadbury's Chocolates. Hornby continued to produce O gauge model trains into the '60s, but their popularity decreased after World War II.


Quick Facts

  • Frank Hornby originally founded his company to produce a toy construction set called Mechanics Made Easy. This set was renamed Meccano in 1907. Hornby's first model railroad set was made to go with the Meccano construction sets
  • Hornby produced a railway game in 1915 called Raylo. This game used a clockwork locomotive. Players were required to operate a series of switches to prevent the locomotive from running off the rails
  • Hornby's largest O gauge locomotive was the Princess Elizabeth introduced in 1937. This locomotive now sells to collectors in near-mint condition in the original box for over £2700

Recommended Items at Auction

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Sellers Who Sell Hornby O Gauge Model Railroads & Trains


Chaucer Auctions

Chaucer Auctions

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Svendborg Auktionerne ApS

Svendborg Auktionerne ApS