They were founded in 1944 by Georges Huard, who previously made household utensils.
Jouef originally made trains using lithographed tinplate but pioneered the use of plastic injection moulding in the early 1950s. Over the last fifty years they made some of the best models on the market. During their turbulent history, they were taken over and bought out several times but survived until 2001.
Although the original Jouef factory in Champagnole in France closed in September of that year, some of the Jouef models were produced for a while as part of the Lima, Rivarossi Group in Brescia, Italy. The group shut down its operations following financial difficulty in January 2004 and by December 2004 had been acquired by Hornby.
Hornby International are planning to produce a limited number of Jouef models in 2006.