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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.
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