Arguably one of the best-known names in the model railroading industry, Walthers has been delighting hobbyists for generations since its founding in 1932. Or, as Walthers explains, 1899 actually marks the beginning of this beloved company – that’s when Bill Walthers discovered his first wind-up toy train hiding beneath the Christmas tree.
Fun fact: Business thrived in the Depression era as consumers wanted cost-effective ways to enjoy time at home. By 1937, Walthers found that his business had outgrown Milwaukee his home, so he migrated operations to the Erie Terminal Building located at 311 E. Erie Street in Milwaukee, WI.
Walthers, A Giant in the Model Railroad Industry
Today, Walthers continues to reign as a giant in the model railroad industry. It is widely known as the world’s largest distributor, retailer and manufacturer of model railroad products. Their massive reference book, sometimes dubbed the “Bible of the model railroad industry”, is packed with about 1,000 pages of modeling tips, images & lots of model railroad inspiration.
And Milwaukee? It’s considered “arguably the historical headquarters of model railroading” according to UWM’s Encyclopedia of Milwaukee.
Our Favorite Walthers HO Scale Products:
#1) Walthers Cornerstone 130′ Motorized Turntable (Part # 933-2859).
Why? For one, this turntable is huge – at 130’ it’s big enough to turn the ultimate hulk – the 4-8-8-4 Big Boy. And it can accommodate other sizable modern engines too (up to 18-7/8″ 46.1cm long). Think of it as the centerpiece of your HO scale layout, where your steam locomotives, (or if you’re modeling a later era, diesels), are turned around at the end of their run.
The Walthers Cornerstone turntable features a design typical to ones built since the 1900s (some remain in service today). A control box is included, so you can use on layouts with DC or DCC. You can operate the Walthers Cornerstone Motorized Turntable remotely – up to 4 remote locations. To do this you will need additional control boxes, which are sold separately.
#2) 3-Stall Modern Roundhouse Kit (Part # 933-2900).
Walthers calls their Cornerstone 3-Stall Modern Roundhouse the “hallmark of later steam-era railroading on your HO layout.” What if you’re modeling the diesel era instead? Still this roundhouse can serve as the focal point of your servicing facility, given that some of these classics remain in use even today for servicing diesels.
Some specs of the 933-2900 Walthers 3 Stall Modern Roundhouse:
- Accommodates engines up to 125 scale feet long
- Includes stall for bigger engines up to 145 scale feet long
- Compact 10-degree stall spacing
- Modular design can expand to a full circle
- Excellent detailing: Interior and exterior brick, fine window details & floor inspection pits
#3) WalthersTrainline™ locomotives.
Actually the WalthersTrainline™ product line encompasses a full range of HO scale diesel locomotives as well as rolling stock and structures.
Back in 1993, Walthers launched budget-friendly, quality HO scale products under the “Trainline” name. Today, it’s become well-known as an excellent entry point for those just getting started in the HO scale model railroad hobby.
Most setup needs no specialized tools or advanced skills – just about anyone can enjoy a running train in mere minutes. Focus eras are from the 1950s to present. See what WalthersTrainline locomotives we have in stock.
Walthers, Always an Innovator in the Model Railroad Industry
In practically any industry, there is often a question that’s become almost cliché: what does the future look like?
In the beginning of the 2000s, many were left wondering about the future of the model railroading hobby. Older enthusiasts said many young folks lacked the interest – or the patience necessary – to really engage in the hobby.
About a decade later, Wm. Walthers, Inc. and Kalmbach Publishing embarked on plans to transport model railroading into the modern world. To accomplish this, they leveraged the power of the internet (and video), also promoting “The World’s Greatest Hobby” at train shows around the US.
Always the innovator, Walthers demonstrates the importance of adaptability to reach new model railroad enthusiasts in an ever-changing world.