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Meccano Trains & Railroads

Frank Hornby, founder of Hornby trains, established his toy company in Liverpool, England in 1901 with the production of a metal building set for children. Similar to the Gilbert Erector set, the Mechanics Made Easy sets allowed children to build just about anything they could think of. Hornby shortened the name of the sets to Meccano in 1907.

In 1920, Hornby produced a clockwork model train that was designed to go with the Meccano kits. Called the Hornby Clockwork Train, this model train could be put together and taken apart just like the Meccano kits. The train sets were made out of nickel based plates rather than tinplate, and were enameled in black, red, or green with brass trim. The sets were a huge success and were considered revolutionary in the toy train industry. Meccano also offered a less expensive version of the Clockwork Train called the Tinprinted Train Set. These trains were made of tinplate.

Meccano produced its first electric train set in 1925 and the model railroad branch of the business began to operate separately from Meccano under the Hornby name. Meccano continued to function as the parent company of Hornby until it was purchased by Lines Bros. in 1964.


Quick Facts

  • Frank Hornby started his working career as a clerk in Liverpool England. He went on to become one of the most famous toy manufacturers in England, founding Meccano, Hornby Trains, and Dinky Toys
  • Dinky Toys was born out of the necessity for accessories to go along with Hornby model trains. Frank Hornby began producing scenery for his trains in miniature, including die-cast vehicles. The production of these vehicles became Dinky Toys in 1934
  • Hornby clockwork locomotives in mint condition can sell for £600 and up

Recommended Items at Auction

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Toys: A quantity of assorted Meccano parts to include flat plates, girders,
Apr 28, 9:00 AM BST
Toys: A quantity of assorted Meccano parts to include flat plates, girders,
by Claydon Auctioneers
Est: £30- £50
£300 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Meccano Trains & Railroads


Claydon Auctioneers

Claydon Auctioneers