NMRA Pioneers of Model Railroading By Name

Pioneers of Model Railroading - by Last Name

(or by Year)

Compiled by Hal Carstens, carried on by Bob Gangwish, picked up by Frank Koch in 2015

(D) = Deceased

Alexander, Edwin P (D). PA. [1994] Author 1930s-1960s. Magazines, books. Manufacturer, American Model Railroad Company. Early scale O Ga mfr. custom builder industrial models. Experimented with HO in 1920s. TCA Charter Member. Early tinplate collector. 1965 NMRA Distinguished Service Award.

Allen, John (D). CA [1995] Model Railroad Author, photographer, clinician. Promotion. Builder of the famous HO Gorre & Daphetid RR. 1974, 1982 NMRA Distinguished Service Award. Consultant to manfacturers. Allen was an inspiration for thousands of modelers in all scales with his artistic modeling technique.

Armitage, Alan B. CA [1997] NMRA Honorary Life Member. Author and draftsman since 1930s Railroad Model Craftsman, Model Railroader. O gauge modeler.

Armstrong, John (D). MD [2001] Model Railroad Railroader. Author. NMRA Distinguished Service Award 1968. Known for his layout design work.

Athearn, Irvin R. (D). CA [1985] Athearn, Inc. Pioneer Mfr HO popularly priced plastic train equipment. Mfr O gauge freight car kits.

Bast, Bob (D). OH [2000] NMRA Office Manager 1949-1975. NMRA Honorary Life Member.

Barnett, Louis (D). NY [1997] President International Model Products, New York, NY. Accountant for Ideal Model Aeroplane & Suply Co., 1925. By 1930 was handling foreign orders. Started International in 1930. First imported railroad items were a box cab B-B, trolley poles and pantographs in 1931. Pioneer importer of Japanese HO and O scale and toy trains. First known brass importer. During lean war years obtained surplus balsa from the war administration. Died Jan. 5, 1961, age 72. MRIA Hall of Fame 2001.

Blyler, Lee L (D). [2008] President Ambroid Inc, Howe & French. Mfr model cements and wood craftsman Ambroid car kits, notably 1 in 5000 series.(Evylyn). Weymouth, MA. Cape Coral, FL.Past Pres. HIAA Ambroid Inc. (Howe & French), mfrs of Ambroid cement, Ambroid HO freight car kits. Past Pres. HIAA 1967-1968. HIAA Meritorious Award of Honor 1972. HIAA Lifetime member. Chemical engineer, Princeton University. Active in protecting hobby industry from threat of glue banning during glue sniffing craze of 1960s.

Bondurant, Harry (D). WI [1995] NMRA Secretary 1935-1936. Wisconsin. NMRA First Standards Committee, Service. NMRA Honorary Life Member. NMRA Charter Member. Model Railroader Board of Editors.

Bowen, William "Billi". CO [1996] NMRA charter member. President NMRA RMR 1956-1957. Designer-draftsman for Wm. K. Walthers. Designed Building of the Railroads display at 1939-1940 New York World Fair.O high rail in 1930, to HO in 1935.

Bradley, A. Ballard (D). FL [1998] Brad contributed much to the NMRA standards program making possible greater interchange of commercial model railroad equipment. He served on the standards committee and helped develop the NMRA standards gauge. He served as NMRA Midwest region president and as NMRA national president 1961-1963. He has received the NMRA President's Award and is an NMRA Honorary Life Member.

Brazelton, Glen (D). [2006] bought a small hobby shop after World War II and founded Caboose Hobbies in Denver, now one of the largest shops in the U.S.A. Died at age 99 in 2005.

Brown, Robert W., MMR. CA [2005] California

Busch, Karl. CA [2000] NMRA PCR President 1957-1958. Made many of the early NMRA model trophies. NMRA Presidents Award 1962.

Carstens, Harold H. (D). NJ [2003] President Carstens Pubications, Inc., Publisher Railroad Model Craftsman and Railfan & Railroad. Holds NMRA Distinguished Service Award 1962, Past President Hobby Industry Association 1971-1972, Model Railroad Industry Association 1977-1978, Train Collectors Association 1964-1965. NMRA Life Member. Member NMRA Museum Committee. Editor, Author, HO, train collector. Secretary, Eastern MRR Manufacturers 1956-1962. HIAA Meritorious Award of Honor 1979. HIAA MRR Division Big Wheel Award 1987. NMRA Model RR Man of the Year Award 1989. MRIA Hall of Fame 1996. Listed in Who's Who in America. Train collection has been displayed in Williamsburg; Trenton State Museum, and National Geographic Hall, Washington.

Chait, Robert, FL [2008] Has served as contest chairman and is Master Model Railroader No. 43. Bob has pioneered in the collecting of HO freight cars of all kinds, representing the changes which have occurred over the past 75 or so years from paper and wood cars and crude lead castings to the latest in ready-to-run. Hardly a week doesn't go by in which I don't hear from Chait as to some new acquisition. He still enjoys finding old paper and card sides and scratch building wood cars using those sides. He is an accomplished craftsman and has even faked up NMRA convention cars for several conventions that did not have convention cars, among them 1971 London.

Clouser, William (D). MO [2001] O gauge trolley manufacturer, clinician, author. 1994 O Scale Hall of Fame.

Colburn, David E. PA (Gene) (D). [2002] NMRA Eastern VP 1965-1967. NMRA Executive VP 1969-1971. NMRA President 1971-1973. NMRA Honorary Life Member. NMRA Presidents Award 1974.

Conway, Jim. [2009] Jim is a founder of Con-Cor Models and began manufacturing model railroad kits in the mid 1960s. Also during that time, Jim moved into the importation and production of N scale locomotives, rolling stock, and structures, and was responsible for the finest N scale locos available at that time, the Alco PA1 and the New York Central Hudson. It is very possible that without Jim’s dedication and involvement, N scale would not have reached the prominence it has today in the model railroad community.

Jim founded JMC Hobby Distributors in Chicago, a full-line model railroad distributor, and became a manufacturer and importer of HO locos, rolling stock, and structures as well as his extensive N scale line. Jim moved to Arizona some years ago, and from there, he has imported and sold a series of excellent models in HO and N, including the Pioneer Zephyr, the UP M10000, the Galloping Goose, and the North Shore Electroliner.

Cowan, Joshua Lionel (D). NJ [1985] Founder Lionel Mfg. Co., later Lionel Corporation, makers of Lionel trains.

Day, Howell (D). NJ [1996] Pioneer 1930s hobby shop retailer. Bought M. Dale Newton Ho kit line in 1950s marketed under red Ball trade name. Importer Japanese HO brass locomotives 1950s. Dunellen, NJ. Age 92 in 1996.

Dechert, James (D)> MA [1994] 1935: Inventor of the 2-Rail system which bears his name. Pioneer author.

Donnelly, Elliott (D). IL [1995] Pioneer manufacturer, Scale Craft Model Trains, in O and OO setting a high standard for excellence starting in the 1930s using zamac die castings. Chicago, IL. 1975 NMRA Distinguished Service Award. NMRA Charter Member.

Edwards, Dale. OR [2002] Co-inventor of the Kadee coupler. Co-founder with twin brother Keith of Kadee Quality Products and Micro Trains Lines. Continued with Kadee when company was divided (ca 1992). NMRA Distinguished Service Award 1992. MRIA Hall of Fame 1996.

Edwards, Keith. OR [2002] Co-inventor of the Kadee coupler. Co-founder with twin brother Dale of Kadee Quality Products and Micro Trains Lines. Continued with Micro Trains when company was divided (ca 1992). MRIA President 1975-1977. NMRA Distinguished Service Award 1992. MRIA Hall of Fame 1996.

Egolf, Paul (D). PA Early O scale locomotive custom builder and conversionist of O gauge locomotives and other scale as. First scale loco kit of K4s. First ads in Model Maker 1927. Proposed 1/8" scale E Gauge.

Ellison, Frank (D). LA [1994] Builder of the Delta Lines, tinplate and later O scale. Author 1930s Model Builder (Lionel Magazine), later Model Railroader, Toy Trains, Railroad Model Craftsman. NMRA Honorary Life Member. Promoted model railroading in his articles.

Freytag, Dean, MMR (D). OH [2003] Besides NMRA activity, is a pioneer in the modeling of larger industries; many of which have appeared as magazine articles and some of which have been made available in kit form. Dean has served as NMRA Central Vice President 1973-1975. In addition to being an author, Dean has been honored with the NMRA Distinguished Service Award, a two time NMRA Presidents Award recipient in 1975 and 1982. He has also served as an NMRA Contest Judge.

Geissel, J. Harold (D). PA [1998] For many years a draftsman of model railroad equipment, primarily in Model Railroader, of unsurpassed excellence whose work contributed to advancement of the hobby. A fastidious modeler, Harold worked in half inch scale, and was known as a clinician. He had previously received the NMRA President's Award.

Geiringer, Lawrence (D). PA [1998] Started building structures to 3/8" scale in the mid 1930s, leading to creation of Roadside America, a miniature display of America covering a 24 hour cycle. Open to the public, the display has been seen by countless thousands and has appeared in many publications including Toy Trains and Railroad Model Craftsman.

Gilbert, Alfred C. (D). CT [1985] A. C. Gilbert co. Mfr. of Erector sets, later American Flyer trains. First president TMA.

Grandt, Cliff. (D) CA [2002] On3 manufacturer. Tool & Die man. MRIA Hall of Fame 1996.

Hall, Bobbye (D). TX [1996] President, Hallmark Models. First MRIA woman President 1981. HIAA RR Div Big Wheel Award. HIAA Meritorious Award Honor 1978. Early Trade Orgs. Retailer, Brass locomotive and car importer, Wholesaler. In the hobby since post WW2. MRIA Hall of Fame 1996.

Hamilton, Fred. [2006] Active in Model Railroad Industry Association. Narrow gauge modeler. Former advertising manager Kalmbach Publishing Co. Also was employed as general manager for Northwest Short Line. Offered consulting services to MRIA and MRD. Narrow gauge enthusiast.

Haverly, William W. (D). KY [1994] NMRA First national NMRA president 1935-1936. Service. NMRA Charter member

Hertz, Louis H. (D). NY [1997] Pioneer toy train collector, often called the father of toy train collecting. Editor Miniature Railroading Magazine 1937, Model Railroaders Digest 1938, Electric Trains 1952. Author of many toy train, model hobby books. Authored Riding the Tinplate Rails series of 132 articles in Railroad Model Craftsman starting 1937. Created Polk catalogs. Died Jan. 1997.

Hook, George (D). CA [1985] Central Valley Model Works, Mfr. trucks, craftsman type freight car kits. Treasurer of MRIA.

Huebenthal, R. E.. NY [1995] Treasurer 1951-1960. NMRA President 1980-1982. NMRA Honorary Life Member. NMRA 1973 NMRA Distinguished Service Award. Heuebe devoted many years of effort as treasurer and president of NMRA and was active on many committees

Icken, Fred W. (D). NJ [1994] President Icken Locomotive Works 1930s. Produced quality O scale locomotives. Active in early model railroad trade organizations.

Kalmbach, Al. (D). WI [1985] Founder Kalmbach Publishing Co., Publ. Model Railroader. Charter member NMRA.

Kelly, Carmen Webster (D). NY Model Railroad Equipment Corp. Model retailer. Promoted model railroading on TV. Active in trade associations.

Ketcham, Victor (D). OH [1996] NMRA Pres 1940. Committees. NMRA legal staff. Many years of NMRA service.

Keiling, Leighton (D). CA [2000] NMRA PCR President 1954-1956. NMRA National President 1959-1960. NMRA Honorary Life Member.

Kimball, Ward (D). CA [1999] Train collector, retired Disney animator. 3 ft. narrow gauge railroad in rear yard. Donated much 3 ft. equipment to Perris RR Museum. Member TCA, TTOS. President TCA 1974-1975. TV railroad videos.

Lenoir, William. J. (D). FL [1994] NMRA Charter Member. Pioneer O Gauge Locomotive Mfr.

Lobaugh, Rollin [2013] - Lobaugh Models, Locomotives

Lunde, Lynn. [2004] Founded Magnuson Models in 1970's with husband Bob. Sold Magnuson Models to Walthers and worked as marketing manager for four years. Founded (with husband Bob) Design Preservation Models in 1985. Board of Trustees of MRIA 1988. MRIA President 1991. DPM line was sold to Woodland Scenics in early 1990's and worked for WS for several years developing the DPM line. In mid-1990's, started Lunde Studio to build exhibition layouts for industry members, and home layouts for individuals. NMRA Model RR (wo)Man of the year 1992. MRIA Hall of Fame 2004.

Lunde, Robert. [2004] Founded Magnuson Models in 1970's with wife Lynn. Sold Magnuson Models to Walthers and worked developing new products for four years. Founded (with wife Lynn) Design Preservation Models in 1985. Board of Trustees of MRIA 1988. MRIA President 1991. DPM line was sold to Woodland Scenics in early 1990's and worked for WS for several years developing the DPM line. In mid-1990's, started Lunde Studio to build exhibition layouts for industry members, and home layouts for individuals.

Mallery, Paul. AR [1997] NMRA Secretary 1950-1951. Helped develop NMRA X2f Coupler: standard train set coupler but never NMRA standard coupler: Invention. Master Model Railroader 4. Magazine and book author. NMRA Distinguished Service Award 1978. NMRA Presidents Award 1980.

Märklin Brothers(9) (D). Germany [1999] Only two of the 9 brothers carried on in the firm. Creators of the geometric sectional track system still used in train sets. Plus Frau Märklin (mother), Pioneer toy train mfrs. est 1892 or earlier. Company is still in business.

Menteer, Clarence. NV [1995] Entered model field 1937 with Charles Voelckel,with Roundhouse Models, later Model Die Casting Co., pioneer HO kit mfr. with SP HO 0-6-0. Active in WCMRRA, HIAA, MRIA. MDC has produced tooling for Central Valley, Silver Streak, Cannonball, Ulrich, Cliff Line, Bowser, Walthers, Suydam, Varney, Lindsay.

Miller, Charles B. (Connie) (D). IL [2009] President of the Testor Corp., in Rockford, Illinois.Testor is well-known as a manufacturer of model glues and paints, and importers of model hobby kits and tools. Mr. Miller helped developed the horse radish additive for tube glues, which eliminated the glue-sniffing problem in 1960s. At the time there was much talk of banning tube glues to prevent sniffing, which could have been a disaster for the model building hobbies.

Mr. Miller was President of the Hobby Industry Association in 1954-1955, and received the HIAA Meritorious Award of Honor in 1968. Mr. Miller died on November 25, 1993. His son, Charles, succeeded his as president of Testor, and another son, David, currently serves in that capacity.

His daughter, Susan St, James, best known as the wife of TV’s Macmillan & Wife series, was present at the banquet to receive her father’s award. David Miller was also present, along with his wife and two sons.

Mortimer, Kenneth. IN [2000] NMRA MWR President 1961. NMRA Executive VP 1967-1969. NMRA President 1969-1971. NMRA Honorary Life Member. Magazine author. NMRA President's Award: 1961, NMRA President's Award:

Newton, M. Dale (D). OR [1999] 1930s. Founder of Red Ball car line, HO printed side car kit manufacturer, wood bodies, lead castings made on Ludlow machine, Large line of soft lead truck kits. Later sold to Howell Day.

Norlin, Avery (Swede) [2015] Tomalco

Osment, Dave [2014] Woodland Scenics

Penn,Charles A. (D). NJ [1985] Publisher Railroad Model Craftsman, Toy Trains, published first hobby trade mag., Active in early industry trade groups, HIAA.

Pittman, Charles A. (D). PA [1994] President, Pittman Electrical Development Co. Created permag adapter for American Flyer HO Hudson loco, mfr. small DC permag motors (DC60, DC72) for HO, other small gauges. Scale and tinplate O gauge trolleys. Member HIAA, EMRRMA, TCA.

Polk, Nathan (D). NJ [1996] HIAA VP 1963-1964. Numerous HIAA committees. HIAA Meritorious Award of Honor 1968. In early '30s with brother Irwin, leased hobby store space in about 30 department stores. Early 1930s WOR radio program Junior Birdmen of the Air got many youths into model building. Introduced low priced brass rail to hobby about 1939, 99 cents for 99 ft. Got Stephen Schaffan of Atlas to make low cost HO switch kits. Involved in landmark Customs Tax case involving levies placed on scale models vs toys which were taxed much higher. Polk trade name Aristo Craft, imported train equipment from England, Germany, Italy, other European countries, Japan. Polk's Hobby Craft Stores. Active in industry fund raising activities for film promotion. Member HIAA, MRIA. (INDUSTRY). Nat died at age 83 ten days after receiving the NMRA Pioneers Award.

Quimby, E.J. (D). [2006] Cdr, USNR (Ret.). Pioneer 1929 in 1/2 inch scale interurbans indoor and outdoor. Member NYSME. 1915 motorman on North Jersey Rapid Transit, Morse Telegraph Club, Veteran Wireless Operator Assoc., Society of Wireless Pioneers, Radio Club of America. Co-founder of Branford Electric Ry. Museum. A founder of the Electric Railroaders Association. Merchant marine wireless operator 1920s. Installed the calliope on the Delta Queen. Author of magazine articles and books on electric railways. Died Nov. 8, 1981, age 87

Rands, Bob [2013] - Railcraft, Micro Engineering, Switchcraft

Ravenscroft, Edward A. (D). IL [1994] NMRA President 1944-1945. NMRA Treasurer: 1947-1950. Service. Forced through the NMRA Standards Program. NMRA Presidents Award. Benefactor to NMRA. NMRA Honorary Life Member. 1956 NMRA Presidents Award.

Redmond, Louis J. (D). [2009] Charter member and a founder of the Train Collectors Association. He held many posts in TCA and was known as "Mr. Toy Trains. Mr. Redman’s daughter, Carol Redman McGinnis, was present at the banquet and received the award on behalf of her late father.

Rice, Allan Lake (D). PA [1994] aka Eric LaNal. HO pioneer early 1930s. Promoting Hobby. Mfd. H. Owen HO kits with paper sides. Promotion. Author RMC, MR 1930s, 1960s. Pioneer in 2-rail HO. Consultant to several mfrs (Megow, Mantua). LaNal coupler inventor. Mfd in England. Manufacturer H. Owen HO Kits early 1930s. NMRA Distinguished Service Award 1962

Richter, Eberhard [2015] LGB

Richter, Wolfgang [2015] LGB

Riley, H. Lee (D). DE [2004] Bachmann Industries design engineer. Worked for Pro Custom Hobbies and Associated Hobby Manufacturers during the 1970's and 1980's. Joined Bachmann in late 1980's and was instrumental in developing new products and expanding the Bachmann line. Helped develop the "big hauler" large scale train set, developed large scale line including logging, industrial and historic locomotives and rolling stock. During 1990's, developed the On30 line extending model railroading to the "Christmas Village" products, and then to the narrow gauge fraternity. NMRA Distinguished Service Award. MRIA Hall of Fame 2004.

Roselund, Harold [2014] Floquil and Polly S Paints

Sagle, Lawrence W. (D). MD [1995] B&O Public Relations Dept., Author, magazine articles and books. Promoted hobby through shows, B&O Museum, etc., NMRA President 1943, NMRA Honorary Life Member. Promoted model railroading especially during bleak years of WW2.

Schopp, William M. (D). NJ [1995] Model railroad author from mid 1930s: Railroad Model Craftsman, Toy Trains, Model Railroader, others, foreign. Wrote over 1000 model railroad articles. Pseudonyms John Kemp, Bill Willmore, Layout Doctor. Consultant to mfrs. Custom loco builder; layout designer. Pioneer HOn3, HOn2, traction, and brass loco kitbashing.

Sellios, George. [2006] Creator of Fine Scale Models, manufacturer of extra detailed craftsman style kits in HO. Author known for his detailed HO layout.

Schaffan, Stephen (D). NJ [1985] Founder Atlas Tool Co., creator of Atlas HO sectional Snap Track, plastic HO structures.

Stock, George (D). PA [1985] George Stock Models. Model Retailer; Custom Loco Builder. Pioneer HO scale 1930s.

Stroup, Kenneth (D). [2003] Industry pioneer, started the Model Railroad Specialty Company in 1915 in Jackson, Michigan. He manufactured Sampson HO streamlined passenger cars and diesel locos. Stroup sold his business in 1949, joined LMB Models of Cleveland, and was later with Marcraft Distributors, an LMB affiliate. Ken was active in the NMRA Thousand Lakes Region. Ken was later a member of the San Diego MRRC. Ken was a true pioneer in the hobby and industry.

Thornburgh, M.D. (Mel) (D). [2006] O gauge locomotive builder. Writer. 1930s. Started with B&O in 1919. Built first electric powered locomotive 1923. Helped organize Cincinnati Model Railway Club in 1932.

Towers, Whitney K. (D). CA [1998] Whit served as NMRA western VP 1958-1960, PCR president 1970-1971, and NMRA national president. He also served as NMRA Bulletin editor. He received the President's Award twice, the NMRA Distinguished Service Award in 1965 and is an NMRA Honorary Life Member. Whit was a prolific author and is known for his HO Alturas & Lone Pine Railroad which was featured in a professionally produced motion picture, later offered in VHS.

Trott, James E, (D). OH [2001] NMRA Bulletin Cartoonist. NMRA President's Award 1968.

Tyler, John (D). NJ [1985] Co-founder Mantua Metal Products Co., helped popularize HO scale. Early trade groups.

Van Leer, Edward. (D) NY [1999] NMRA President 1951-1952. NMRA Honorary Life Member. 1970 NMRA Presidents Award. Master Model Railroader 2.

Varney, Gordon (D). IL [1985] Varney Scale Models. Mfr. of HO popular loco and car kits 1936. Made O gauge loco kit in 1946.

Wagner, Richard M. (D). OH [2005] Manufacturer of trolley kits, drives, and parts.  Owner and Technical Editor of Trolley Talk.

Walthers, William K. (D). WI [1985] Model RR Mfr., est 1932. NMRA Charter member. Active in HIAA, MRR mfr. groups.

Westcott, Linnaeus "Linn"(D). (Harriet), WI [1996] Author, Editor Model Railroader, Model trains, Ships & the Sea, books. Publishing. NMRA Charter member. Developed electrical circuits for use in model railroading, notably route cab control in 1949, layout design. Clinician. NMRA Distinguished Service Award 1962. Died Sept. 8, 1980, died at age age 67.

Wischer, Bill [2015] Walthers

Withuhn, William L. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C. [2008] Bill is (was) Curator of Transportation at the huge Smithsonian museum in the District of Columbia. His occupation has seen home collect many olf patent models of early railroad locomotives and cars dating back to the very infancy of railroading almost before model railroading became a hobby. Samples of the pieces he has found an saved are shown in "150 Years of Train Models" and date back to 1846. Withuhn is also an expert on real railroads.

Work, Jack (D). [2003] (Canadian) died several years ago. His early work in modeling defined the state of the model railroad art in the early 1960's. He showed us how to make cold castings, individual board car and structure sides with Strathmore board and more that could be listed with research. In addition, Jack Work shared the hobby with thousands of modelers through his many how-to articles in the model railroad magazines.

(D) = Deceased