Liliput was an Austrian manufacturer of model railroad equipment founded shortly after World War II in Vienna.
Walter Burcherl formed Liliput in 1947 establishing a small workshop in Vienna’s 4th District and producing toys
with 6 employees. The first model trains were issued in 1948. They were made of wood and tin but by 1950 an HO scale
model railway system had evolved using plastic and metal. Jouef of France resold Liliput
electric train products in the 1950's.
Liliput was always considered the exotic producer of European Model Trains covering all epochs. They built
their reputation by producing high quality HO models of Austrian prototypes. To meet demand, Liliput expanded
by setting up several other workshops around Vienna. By 1962 the workforce had expanded to 60 and in 1966 a
modern factory was opened at Kalvarienberggase 22, in Vienna’s 17th District. Again in 1977, the need for increased
production capacity drove Liliput to open an additional manufacturing plant at Baden bie Wien to the south-west of
Vienna. Liliput by now was well established and winning Model of the Year awards regularly. For over five decades they
got collectors' attention with their unique and extraordinary models. Their Rheingold coaches, introduced in 1971,
set new standards for model coaching stock. The Liliput catalog grew to include a large selection of OO/HO locomotives
and rolling stock as well as narrow gauge HOe items in both 2-rail DC and 3-rail AC power. N and G gauge trains have
also been produced. The HOe models ran on 9mm track and were compatible with the British OO9 narrow gauge equivalents.
In the 1960's and 70's, Liliput produced a series of HO gauge American style freight cars for the U.S. importer AHM.
Part of the production was a joint contract with Roco and Liliput. For this reason, there are some very
similar car models in existence from both mentioned companies. The Liliput models had somewhat coarse simulated Bettendorf
type bogies with couplings that featured the typical ring spring and the ascent ladders were a part of the housing form.
These goods wagons are often mistaken to be Roco company products by American collectors. Liliput also specialized in era II
German DRG and DR locomotives and rolling stock including unique military models.
Ernst Rozsa, an Austrian who emigrated to the United Kingdom, brought the name Liliput to the attention of British
railway modellers in 1958 by establishing his firm Miniature Construction Ltd. in London and importing the Liliput range.
Ernst Rosza's Miniature Construction introduced under the Liliput brand a 4mm OO gauge model of the Class 81 (AL1)
electric locomotive built from parts supplied by Liliput's Vienna facilities. The prototype of the AL1 was created for
the electrification of the West Coast Main Line in 1960. Rozsa later went to work for Trix,
eventually becoming their managing director. In 1973 Liliput of Austria purchased the British model tools owned by Trix
of Germany. Trix of Germany had acquired the British Trix OO gauge tooling and assets in 1967. They had later acquired the
British MiniTrix (N gauge) tooling in 1971. In 1974, in an effort to rescue operations, Ernst Rozsa formed Liliput Model
Railways (UK) and continued to assemble former British Trix models from parts supplied by Liliput. This continued until
1992 when the supply of parts finally dried up. Some parts and tools were acquired by Dapol and
others were retained by Liliput.
Liliput HO gauge European Freight Wagons
Liliput HO trains originally operated on 12 volt DC current and were compatible with 2-rail HO trains and track made by
Trix and Hornby as they were 3.8mm to the foot rather than 4mm to the foot.
Over time Liliput began to make their locomotives available in 3-rail AC for compatibility with the
Märklin system where AC power is fed through little pins in the center of each track sleeper
and picked up by a shoe on the bottom of the loco. A unique item that Liliput produced was the HO scale 136505/13506 4-part
armoured army train 'Panzerspähzug' Period II. This was modeled after the tank trains that Germany built during World War II
in 1944 to protect their rail supply lines.
The firm failed in 1988 and was purchased by Herpa.
In 1992 Bachmann Industries purchased Liliput
and opened a German sales office. Kader Industrial Company Limited was the parent company of
Bachmann. Kader acquired Bachmann Industries in 1984. Kader was based in China. After the
Liliput acquisition, Kader transferred the tooling and dies to China. Initally, production
efforts centered on adapting chassis to fit new motors, and on finding new sources of parts
like axles and gears, which Liliput had previously purchased in Austria from non-model-railroad
manufacturers. As a result, most new models were based on original superstructure dies with all
new paint schemes.
In November 2008, Kader also took over Sanda Kan, its nearest competitor
for precision model railway items in the Hong-Kong based ODM contract manufacturing business.
Sanda Kan's biggest client had been Bachmann's dominant rival in the UK market
Hornby Railways, which had concentrated production there from
1997-2001. The company also manufactured for Lionel,
Atlas, Life-Like, Brawa,
Märklin, and approximately 50 other model train companies.
Liliput became the German brand name of Bachmann Europe Plc operating out of Altdorf near Nuremburg.
They continued to manufacture trains in HO, HOe, N and G (1:22.5) scales of German and other European models.
Link to Liliput
German web site.