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Fleischmann Trains

History

Fleischmann logo from the 1950's Today Fleischmann is a German manufacturer of model railroad products. As a company, Fleischmann was originally founded in Nüremberg in 1887 by Jean Fleischmann (1864-1917), as an engraver and maker of handicrafts. Later, the company began to make toys under the name of Fleischmann Brothers or Gebrüder Fleischmann Nürnberg. Many of the early products made are found with the GFN markings. Fleischmann is best known for the production of toy boats, mostly made of steel, in the 1920's and the 1930's that used clockwork and live steam mechanisms. Fleischmann bought up the model boat machinery and tooling from Bing when they ceased to exist in August 1932. Up until that time, Bing had been one of Fleischmann's wholesale customers. Fleischmann later took over Doll et Cie in 1939 and began making trains for which they are renowned today.

Fleischmann E 325 Black Locomotive in 'O' Gauge made 1949 When Jean Fleischmann passed away in 1917, his wife Käthe and his brother Jobst took over running the business. In 1940 sons Johann and Emil Fleischmann took over. Initial train production was just a continued Doll et Cie product line, and much of the advertising even retained the Doll logo. During the war years toy production was prohibited and Fleischmann made gas masks, ammunition belts, visors, plates and mugs for the military. The Nüremberg factory at Kirchenweg was partially destroyed during the war, but was rebuilt, and toy production resumed in 1945. Their first new model train, in 'O' scale (32mm), was produced in 1949, and introduced at the Frankfort Toy Fair. These early products included locomotives and carriages that mimicked the prototypical trains that ran in Germany during this period. Some of the trains were clockwork powered and some of these trains ran on DC powered 2 rail steel track, that was unique in its use of cardboard for the ties, instead of steel. Using 2 rail DC allowed the operator the ability to know in advance what direction on the track the trains would travel in.

Fleischmann Green E 320 Tank Locomotive in 'O' Gauge circa 1949 These early 'O' gauge products are the most collectible and sought after, and are quite rare. The trains made starting in 1949 were the #U or E 320 0-4-0 tank style and #U or E 325 0-4-0 steam outline locomotive with 4-wheel tender. The 'U' designation in the catalog number indicated clockwork operation, and the 'E' signified electric driven. A green painted two-axle #400 coach and #401 luggage van comprised the passenger consist. A Shell tank wagon with ladder, but no platform, and a closed wagon with the letters 'DR' on each side made up the freight set. In 1950 Fleischmann released the Elloket E19 2-4-2 electric outline loco in green, red or blue. The following year, the 'O' gauge line was expanded with additional four-axle and two-piece railcars. These railcars were manufactured with red and cream-colored paint schemes.

Fleischmann 'O' gauge S35 2-6-2 Steam Locomotive circa 1950's The first Fleischmann HO scale products were introduced in 1952 at the Nüremberg Toy Fair. Like their 'O' scale models, these HO models also utilized 2 rail DC, making Fleischmann the first company to offer such a product line. Initial offerings included a class 01 steam loco & tender, a class 80 tank loco, and a class E44 electric loco. These initial HO products were a somewhat larger 1:82 scale, but by 1965 Fleischmann began converting to the more standard 1:87 and by 1970 had completed conversion. An 'N' scale "Piccolo" product line was introduced in 1969. 'O' gauge train manufacture was discontinued in 1959. In the late 1950's Fleischmann tried to tap into the North American market by putting American roadnames on some of their products. They also produced a 4-6-2 Pacific and a 2-8-2 Mikado in HO scale. Fleischmann supplied passenger and freight cars to Penn Line for their early sets. The Northern Pacific 60' passenger cars were produced by Fleischmann for Penn Line in 1955 thru 1956 for two different sets. The four die-cast passenger cars were baggage, coach, diner and a Pullman. These Fleischmann cars were phased out by 1960.

Fleischmann 2-4-2 Electric circa 1950-59 in 'O' gauge Nowadays, Fleischmann is a well-established brand name in the German model railroad industry, rivalling Märklin in market share. Since they focus almost exclusively on central European prototypes, Fleischmann is relatively unknown outside that area. While most Fleischmann HO products are made for the two-rail direct current system, they also make three-rail, Märklin-compatible (AC) versions of some locomotives. They also market replacement non-insulated wheelsets for use with their rolling stock on three-rail systems. The Fleischmann lineup includes the PROFI label, which consists of pre-ballasted track, PROFI couplings for true close coupling operation, and tilt technology found in both the Pendolino and the ICE-T express train. In 2000, Fleischmann introduced Twin-Technik state of the art digital control technology. In February 2008, Fleischmann was acquired by Modelleisenbahn GmbH, the former Roco Manufacturing Company of Austria, ending 121 years of family ownership of the company, a historic name in German toy manufacturing. Fleischmann is run as a separate brand under Modelleisenbahn GmbH, alongside Roco. In January 2009 Roman & Company became the North American distributor for the Fleischmann product line.

Fleischmann Santa Fe Freight Car 1950's HO Although Roco/Fleischmann products have gained a good reputation, especially with model railway enthusiasts in the DC/DCC segment, AC train fans do not lose out either. Nearly all engines are available as third conductor AC systems. Fleischmann HO items with new tooling in 2015 included a variety of 2 and 3 axle compartment coaches for the OBB, DB, DR and CSD lines. The class E 160 2-6-0 electric switcher was re-engineered for era IV. Manufacturing continues to take place at 3 locations in Europe and in a modern company headquarters located in Heilsbronn, less than 30 kilometers away from the original factory and headquarters in Nüremberg.

Fleischmann #1330 Electric shunting locomotive in HO ga circa 1953 Fleischmann HO #1366 Union Pacific 4-6-2 Steam loco circa 1959 Fleischmann #1320/80 0-6-0 Locomotive HO scale circa 1952 Fleischmann #1350 steam locomotive DB BR 24/001 in HO scale

Fleischmann official homepage

Fleischmann museum in Sweden

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