Wm. K. Walthers

Wm K. Walthers, Inc. (short Walthers ) is an American distributor and manufacturer of model trains and accessories. The company bills itself as the largest model train dealer in the world. The over 1,000 page catalog with over 100,000 strong products is considered the " bible" of the American model railroaders.


The company was founded in May 1932 in Milwaukee (Wisconsin ) by the then unemployed Bill Walthers. He began with the manufacture and distribution of model rails, couplings and other accessories for the nominal size 0 Despite the Great Depression, he had a turnover of $ 500 in the first year. Five years later there was the first major expansion: The company moved into new business premises and began from 1938 to enter the evolving market of nominal size H0.

During the Second World War had to be largely abandoned because of the concomitant shortage of materials for non- essential war production manufacturing. Bill Walthers tried using newspaper ads to acquire remaining stocks of raw materials so as to maintain a marginal production.

In the postwar period, the business recovered, and in 1958 took over Bill's son Bruce the business. From 1960 he began to produce its own products and the products of other manufacturers to sell and expanded his business so that at a special dealer for model railroads. This had become necessary because many toy retailers took Modellbahnen due to low sales from the offer. With the general decline in demand for model railways in the 1960s, the business also declined at Walthers, but in the 70s saw the successful return. At the same time it also began to offer products for nominal size N. In 1984, Phil Walthers, Bruce Walther son, the shops.


In addition to the offers American producers Walthers now offers also products of foreign manufacturers such as Märklin ( since 1979), Fleischmann, bush and KATO on. Succeeded in 2005 with the purchase of Life-Like the first acquisition of a large renowned model train manufacturer.