Thirty-five years ago, the three rail O gauge hobby consisted mainly of restoring and running postwar Lionel® trains. Thirty-six years ago, the most elaborate way to run three-rail trains was a rebuilt ZW transformer. Thirty-five years ago, a twenty-year-old named Mike Wolf opened a toy train mail order business in a bedroom of his parents' home. At train shows, customers approaching his table didn't realize he was the business owner, and often asked to speak with his father.
Fast forward three decades and we all look a little older.
We are arguably in the golden age of model railroading, with more product choices, both scale and semi-scale, than we ever dreamed possible back in 1980. Our trains have amazing detail, CD-quality sound, and run smoothly at scale speeds. We can model almost any railroad in almost any era. Railroaders can choose among multiple command control systems and experience more features and more fun while running multiple trains on the same track at the same time.
How did this happen?
Two things came together: A generation of children raised on Lionel and American Flyer trains reached a point in their lives when they had the time, money, and desire to have a hobby. And folks with vision created products to fill that desire, at M.T.H., Lionel, Atlas, Williams, Weaver, QSI, Third Rail, and others, along with pioneers who are no longer in the hobby, like Jerry Williams, Bill Benson of Right of Way, and Maury Klein of KLine.
Many of you have been with us since the beginning, and others have joined our journey along the way. We believe that M.T.H. continues to be a leader in this hobby, for several reasons. First and most important, we try to be a leader in communicating with you. We're the only model railroad company that publishes a weekly e-newsletter, and we try to make our catalogs and other literature as inviting, informative, and fun to read as possible. We've even expanded our use of online social media, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Second, we have the broadest product range of any model train company in the world. M.T.H. offers full product lines in HO scale, two-rail and three-rail O Gauge, One Gauge, and Lionel Corporation Tinplate. The benefit for you is that research and development in one scale often leads to new products in other scales; in addition, our broad reach across many segments of the hobby increases our financial stability, an important factor in tough economic times.
Technology, service, and management are other factors that have made us a leader. We have a separate research and development facility in Michigan, with its own dedicated staff. We were the first model railroad company to establish ongoing seminars to train and update technicians at more than 150 M.T.H. Authorized Service Centers.
Finally, we believe that one of our greatest resources is a management team distinguished for its unique blend of talent, continuity, and cohesiveness. As his company grew, Mike hired the most talented people he could find to head each department.
M.T.H. Electric Trains
7020 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046