Wm. K. Walthers

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere
An Atlas built locomotive stops at a freight teminal made by Walthers to pick up goods.

Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of model railroad supplies and tools. The company claims to be the largest model railroad supplier in the world.

The company was founded in 1932 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Bill Walthers. The firm started with a limited supply of model rail, couplers and supplies in O scale, and had sales of $500 in its first year — a decent sum for a country still in the grip of the Great Depression. By 1937 the company expanded greatly, moving into new quarters and entering the blossoming HO scale market.

Production virtually ceased during World War II as materials needed for wartime uses were strictly conserved; Bill Walthers was seen in magazine ads literally scraping the bottom of a barrel for materials. The company recovered nicely during the postwar boom. Bill Walthers retired and handed company control to his son, Bruce. The company branched out beyond its own manufacturing and became a distributor of other firm's products in 1960. After suffering a slump during the 1960s (along with the rest of the hobby), the company rebounded in the 1970s. During that time Bruce J. Walthers' son, Phil, joined the company, and the company began making products for N scale.

Today, the company is headquartered in modern facilities in suburban Milwaukee. Phil Walthers, the founder's grandson, is now the company president. The firm has added imported models to its line of products. In 2005, Walthers acquired the assets of Life Like Products LLC, a manufacturer of model railroad equipment, Darda slot cars and Bolz tops. this acquisition marked the company's first major foray outside railroad-related merchandise.

In 2007, Walthers will celebrate its 75th anniversary. It has already started with the debut of the Walthers Referance books.They are published for N and HO scale modelers. They have many listings for vaious products and companies They come out annually, and this particular year the books will be on sale at $9.98, and the hardcover books for around $35.00.

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