Category:Hornby (brand)

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Frank Hornby (1863-1936) lent his name to a number of products:


  • 1901 – Frank Hornby borrows five pounds from his employer and patents the basis of his construction set.
  • The set is sold as "Mechanics Made Easy", under the manufacturer name "E&H", for Elliott & Hornby.
  • Printing of "The Hornby System of Mechanical Demonstration", a booklet based on Mechanics Made Easy.

The set is rebranded as Meccano in ~1907, and the company re-formed as Meccano Ltd.

The Meccano Ltd. years

  • ~1920The Hornby Clockwork Train, the first proper Hornby Train set. Originally constructional with Meccano nuts and bolts, its loco was the basis for the Hornby No.1 locomotive. The basic gauge 0 0-4-0 design remained in production until the late 1950s.
    • Hornby Trains is the overall catalogue brandname for the gauge 0 range of "Hornby" trains and accessories, for as long as they remain in production. Although the "Hornby Trains" brand is used in the literature from the 1920s, the company didn't seem to feel the need to trademark it until 27 September 1954 (reg: UK00000734453).
    • Hornby Series is the branding physically marked on most gauge 0 "Hornby Trains" items and accessories, up until perhaps the late 1930s, either as a decal or as part of the design on screenprinted items. The Hornby Series logo goes through several variations, and also often includes the Meccano Ltd name. "Hornby Series" also appears on a few non-train items (such as the sawbench).
      "Hornby Series" markings didn't appear on the very earliest Hornby train pieces (marked "MLDL" for Meccano Limited, Liverpool"), and seemed to start being phased out at around the time of Hornby's death in 1936.
      The very earliest trains also used the Hornby name to set apart the more expensive models form the cheaper ranges (only the "Hornby"-branded trains carried a guarantee).
  • 1931 – Appearance of Hornby Modelled Miniatures, a range of painted lead-cast figures and accessories that appeared in advertising in late 1931 with just a "No.1" set, "Station Staff". The range became the Dinky Toys range in Spring 1934.
  • 1932 – Launch of Hornby Speedboats, a range of metal clockwork-powered boats, produced up until WW2.
    • Hornby Racing Boats referred to a subset of the "speedboat" range, which tended to be based more on boats designed for racing, rather than on boats that were merely designed to be fast.
  • 1938Hornby Dublo The company's range of smaller "00-gauge" (or "double-oh gauge") trains and accessories, with track half the size of gauge 0. Hornby-Dublo wasn't registered as a trademark until 27th September 1954 (reg: UK00000734454) with a hyphenless version of the name (with logo) registered in 1957. Production ended in 1964. Its continental "H0" counterpart was Hornby Acho.


  • 1960Hornby Speedboats is relaunched as a successor range of boats, now with moulded plastic hulls and superstructure.
  • 1965Triang Hornby is introduced as a model railway brand after the Triang takeover of Meccano Ltd. This was a range of plastic-shelled pieces based more on the Triang Rovex production than on Dublo, with only a few original Dublo pieces retained (such as the large Dublo styrene station).
  • Triang Hornby Minic – is used as a company name circa ~1970, with
    • Hornby Minic used as a brandname for the relaunch of the Minic Ships range.
  • 1972Hornby Railways replaces Triang Hornby as a brandname for the railway range in 1972 after the breakup of Tri-ang, and the name is registered in 1975, reg:UK00001055062.
  • 1972"Hornby" is registered as a stand-alone brandname for model railways and accessories (UK00000994115)
  • 1987"Hornby" name is registered as a more general toy brand (UK00001325627).
  • 1980Hornby Hobbies Ltd. (]) is floated on the stock market as a publicly listed company, and absorbs many other well-known toy brands, such as Airfix, Corgi and Scalextric.
  • 2010The Hornby Visitor Centre opens at the Hornby Hobbies "Rovex" building in Margate, as a permanent exhibition of "Hornby Hobbies" legacy brands.

Groups and resources

  • The Hornby Railway Collectors' Association is the default group for enthusiasts of Hornby Trains and Hornby Dublo.


This category has the following 33 subcategories, out of 33 total.






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