Atlas Model Railroad
Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc. makes scale models in N scale, HO scale, and O scale. The company is based in Hillside, New Jersey, United States. They produce a wide variety of locomotives, rolling stock, and vehicles. Atlas is well known for their flex track and codes 55, 80, 83 and 100 track. Atlas also makes compatible structures and bridges.
In 1924 Stephan Schaffan, Sr. founded the Atlas Tool Company in Newark, New Jersey. In 1933 his son, Stephan Schaffan, Jr., came to work for his father at the age of sixteen. Steve Jr. built model airplanes as a hobby and frequented a local hobby shop. Being an enterprising young man, he would often ask the owner if there was anything he could do to earn some extra spending money. Tired of listening to his requests, the hobby-store owner threw some model railroad track parts his way and said, "Here, see if you can improve on this".
In those days, railroad modelers had to assemble and build everything from scratch. Steve Jr. created a "switch kit" which sold so well, that the entire family worked on them in the basement at night, while doing business as usual in the machine shop during the day.
Subsequently, Steve Jr. engineered the stapling of rail to fiber track, along with inventing the first practical rail joiner and pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. All of these products, and more, helped to popularize model railroading and assisted in the creation of a mass-market hobby. The budding entrepreneur quickly outgrew the limitations of a basement and small garage operation. Realizing they could actually make a living selling track and related products, Steve and his father had the first factory built in Hillside, New Jersey at 413 Florence Avenue in 1947. On September 30, 1949, Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc. was officially incorporated as a New Jersey company.
Steve went on to be a worldwide leader and an innovator in the hobby. He created such masterpieces as world renowned Super-Flex® Track, Snap-Switches®, Custom-Line® Turnouts and more. Steve’s efforts in Europe, Asia and the United States brought model railroading to a new level, and hobbyists have him to thank for the reliability and durability they enjoy in Atlas track, even to this day.
In 1985, Steve was honored posthumously for his landmark inventions by the Model Railroad Industry Association and was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Hall of Fame in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, Steve was nominated and entered into the National Model Railroad Association Pioneers of Model Railroading in 1995.
in 1997 Atlas O, LLC was established as a separate business entity dedicated to producing multiple lines of O scale model railroad products including track, freight cars, locomotives and accessories. Atlas O, LLC became a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlas Model Railroad Co. Inc. effective January 1st, 2012.
The primary mission of Atlas is to produce and offer to the public, multiple scale lines of high quality, model railroad products based on prototype information. Atlas’ philosophy is based on a dedicated commitment to prototype research, design and construction. The desired and demanded goal is to create, market and distribute durable operational scale models utilizing the full range of exacting detail which accurately depicts life-sized objects, while providing exceptional service to our customers.
By keeping up the high standards set by Steve Schaffan over 50 years ago, Atlas has remained a leader in innovation and technology in the model railroading industry.
- www.atlasrr.com — Atlas Company site
- atlaso.com — Atlas O site
- Atlas 1970s HO-Scale Trains Resource Details the 1970s Atlas HO-scale model train offerings.
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