Chronology: Toy Train and Model Railway Events

1789 - Clyde Model Dockyard offers the first steam-propelled floor locomotives, subsequently named "dribblers" or less decoratively, "piddlers".
1826 - Mathias Hess at Nürnberg, Germany, offers the first trackless push-pull trains
1835 - the first floor trains appear in France1843 - Stevens Model Dockyard, London, England, offers steam-propelled floor "dribbler" locomotives.
1851 - Karl Bub starts up in Germany.
1856 - the first clockwork-driven trains appear in the U.S.A. by George W. Brown & Co., Ct.
1859 - Märklin opens for business as a general toy manufacturer in Göppingen, Germany.
1861 - Issmayer opens in Nürnberg, Germany.
1865 - Bing opens in Nürnberg, Germany, followed by Plank one year later.
1868 - Ives is established in Plymouth, Ct., U.S.A., making trackless push-pull and clockwork trains by the 1880s.
1872 - first superior (to the cast iron nursery pull-alongs) toy locomotive in the U.S.A., driven by steam, made by Eugene Beggs of Patterson, N.J. It came with a circle of strip rails, with its axles set at a radius.
1875 - Schönner opens in Nürnberg, Germany, followed by Günthermann in 1877.
1886 - Georges Carette opens a toy firm in Nürnberg, Germany
1887 - Fleischmann opens in Nürnberg, Germany as a general toy manufacturer.
1888 - Steam toy train made by the Weeden Company (U.S.A.) with a 2" gauge circle of track.
1889 - The French firm Radiguet & Massiot, founded in 1872, starts to produce brass "dribblers".
1889 - The later-to-become- prestigious locomotive design firm of Bassett-Lowke is founded in the UK as a sales and distributor organization.
1891 - Märklin is a sensation at the Leipzig (Germany) toyfair and introduces its gauges I, II and III, setting the first gauge standard for the toy train industry.
1895 - Märklin introduces its first electric trains
1897 - Carlisle & Finch introduce the first electric trains in North America
1899 - Bachmann Bros. formed.
1900 - The Lionel Corporation is founded
1902 - Jouets de Paris (JEP) ( France) founded - produces 0 Gauge trains
1902 - Paya toy firm founded in Spain
1906 - Lionel offers three-rail electric trains in Standard Gauge (2 1/8") and trademarked the name.
1906 - American Flyer predecessor Edmonds-Metzel Hardware Company founded.
1910 - American Flyer name introduced.
1910 - Ives releases its first electric trains both in O Gauge and Gauge 1.
1910 - Fandor founded by Joseph Kraus in Nürnberg, Germany
1914 - Hafner leaves American Flyer to form his own clockwork train company
1914 - Georges Carette leaves Germany to return to Paris at the outbreak of WWI.
1915 - Lionel offers O Gauge trains
1917 - Carette's Nürnberg factory is seized as "alien property", and production ceases.
1919 - Louis Marx incorporates his toy company.
1920 - Hornby introduces the first Gauge O clockwork trains
1920 - Lines Bros., a producer of wooden toys, adopts the trade name Triang
1920s - Paya (Spain) starts production of Gauge 0 trains
1921 - Ives discontinues its Gauge 1 trains in favour of trains in the Wide Gauge (2 1/8")
1922 - Bing introduces clockwork Gauge OO "table top" trains in the UK through Bassett-Lowke
1924 - Bing introduces electric Gauge OO "table top" trains in Germany.
1924 - Fandor moves to the USA and becomes Dorfan.
1925 - Hornby introduces its first gauge O electric trains
1927-1935 - Louis and David Marx market "Joy Line" trains.
1928 - Ives is bankrupt and is taken over by Lionel and American Flyer.
1930 - Lionel buys out American Flyer from the Ives line.
1931 - The Chad Valley Company starts to manufacture inexpensive Gauge 0 clockwork trains  
1932 - Bing ceases production in Germany. Karl Bub acquires the tooling.
1933 - Mettoy Playcraft starts to manufacture inexpensive Gauge 0 clockwork trains  
1933 - Railroad Model Craftsman first issue.
1934 - The Model Railroader first issue.
1934 - Karl Bub starts up continued production of the Bing line.
1934 - Dorfan ceases production and goes bankrupt.
1935 - By this year, Louis and David Marx are selling 027 trains under their own name and logo, using the Girard, PA plant of Joy Line Trains.
1935 - Märklin introduces HO gauge electric trains.
1935 - National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) founded.
1935 - Biller Bahn founded in Nürnberg, Germany
1935 - Trix Express launched in Germany and marketed in the UK as "Trix Twin".
1935 - Märklin starts to wind down their Gauge 1 production
1935 - Polk's Aristocraft Trains founded
1937 - Mamod (Malins Models), manufacturer of stationary and locomotive steam engines founded in the U.K.
1938 - Hornby introduces its Hornby-Dublo (OO) trains, both clockwork and electric
1938 - American Flyer bought by A. C. Gilbert, introduces HO line.
1938 - Lionel discontinues its Standard Gauge line to concentrate on O Gauge.
1938 - 1941 Lionel experiments briefly with Gauge OO, both in 2-rail and 3-rail.
1938 - Märklin discontinues production of Gauge 1.
1939-1945 - WWII halts all non-essential production. The original Karl Bub factory is destroyed during WWII.
1940 - GarGraves, a specialty track manufacturer, is founded in the U.S.A.
1945 - Rivarossi founded in Italy.
1946 - Liliput Trains founded in Austria.
1946 - American Flyer introduces S Gauge (22.2 mm).
1946 - TT Gauge (12 mm) first appears in North America and becomes popular in the UK and Europe.
1946 - Athearn becomes an 0 scale retailer.
1946 - Faller, maker of model railway buildings, accessories and kits, founded in Germany.
1947 - Rokal (Germany) begins production of trains in TT scale
1947 - Hal Joyce founds H.P. Products in the USA to make TT scale (12mm gauge) trains
1948 - Athearn branches into H0.
1948 - JEP, now Jouef, starts producing trains in H0 scale.
1948 - Paya (Spain) introduces trains in S and H0 scales
1949 - Fleischmann goes into Gauge 0 production.
1950 - G.&R. Wrenn founded in the U.K. and commences 00 production.
1950 - (circa) Graham-Farish, founded late 40s, enters the British 00 market.
1951 - Lines Bros. (Triang) acquires Rovex Plastics Ltd., and begins production of 00 trains.
1952 - Fleischmann starts H0 scale production.
1952 - Bachmann Bros. introduces its own line of model trains.
1953 - Trix Express converts to 14V DC (from AC)
1953 - Lima, a parts supplier to SF Italia, goes into model railway production.
1954 - Märklin discontinues Gauge 0 production. 
1956 - Lone Star manufactures die-cast push-along train in new Gauge OOO ( 8 mm).
1956 - Trix Trains (UK) switches to DC current.
1956 - Marx acquires tooling of defunct Hafner.
1957 - Rivarossi H0 is licensed and sold by Lionel as Lionel H0.
1957 - Triang-Rovex offers trains in 3mm scale (TT).
1957 - Lionel introduces "Super-O" track range (O36)
1957 - Zeuge & Wegwerth KG (Germany) begins production of trains in 3 mm scale (TT).
1958 - Rivarossi products sold by Athearn, then by AHM.
1960 - Trebl-O-Lectric electric trains appear and Gauge OOO was changed to 9 mm and became N Gauge.
1960 - The first Arnold N scale trains appear in Germany.
1960 - Roco Modellspielwaren founed in Austria
1960s - Paya (Spain) last European manufacturer to discontinue production of (toy) trains in Gauge 0
1960s - Lionel introduces HO range, but does not become an established competitor.  
1962 - The first N scale trains are introduced to North America.
1964 - Triang-Rovex (Lines Bros.) acquires the Hornby-Dublo range from Meccano Ltd., and became Triang-Hornby.
1965 - Triang-Rovex buys a controlling interest in G. & R. Wrenn.
1965 - Wrenn markets the former Hornby-Dublo line (with the H-D molds provided by Triang) under its name.
1966 - American Flyer acquired by Lionel.
1966 - Lionel discontinues its "Super-O" range.
1967 - Atlas offers a full line of N scale trains.
1967 - Trix converts to 2-rail operation.
1968 - LGB (Lehmann Grosse Bahnen, [Germany]) introduces G scale on Gauge 1 track.
1968 - Bachmann enters the N Scale market.
1968 - Wrenn takes over and continues to market the former Triang TT range as Wrenn TT.
1968 - Kadee begin production of their automatic knuckle couplers.
1968 - H.P. Products ceases production of North American TT scale.
1969 - Fleischmann introduces its N scale "Piccolo" line.
1969 - Jouef ceases production.
1969 - Rokal ceases production.
1970 - (circa) Graham-Farish enters the British N scale market as Grafar.
1972 - Märklin introduces Z Scale (1:220), with a 6.5 mm track width.
1972 - Kadee introduce Microtrains (N Scale) freight cars.
1972 - Triang drops the Triang trademark to become Hornby Railways.
1972 - Zeuge & Wegwerth KG (Germany) becomes Berliner TT Bahnen (trains in 3 mm scale [TT]).
1972 - Louis Marx retires and sells the toy company to Quaker Oats/Fisher-Price.
1975 - MDK (K-Line) founded in the U.S.A.
1975 - The former Marx Girard PA plant closes and its toy train production ceases.
1978 - the original Biller Bahn line ceases production.
1980 - MTH (Mike's Train House) founded in the U.S.A.
1984 - Bachmann Bros. is acquired by Kader Industries and becomes Bachmann Industries.
1990 - Berliner TT Bahnen becomes Berliner TT Bahnen Zeuke GMBH (trains in 3 mm scale [TT]).
1992 - Rivarossi acquires Lima.
1992 - Bachmann acquires Liliput.
1990 - Berliner TT Bahnen Zeuke GMBH (trains in 3 mm scale [TT]) acquired by Zillig-Pilz.
1994 - Märklin acquires Trix.
1992 - the original G. & R. Wrenn firm dissolved.
1996 - Corgi purchases the Bassett-Lowke brand name.
1997 - Minitrix sold to Märklin.
1997 - Rivarossi acquires Jouef and Arnold.
2001 - Graham-Farish taken over by Kader Industries (Bachmann)
2003 - Rivarossi is in receivership.
2004 - Hornby Railways acquires Rivarossi.
2004 - Athearn acquired by Horizon Hobby, Inc.
2005 - Roco Modellspielwaren declared bankrupt, becomes Modelleisenbahn Gmbh.
2005 - ZZ Scale is introduced in Japan. Scale 1:300 with a 4.8 mm gauge.
2006 - Märklin sold to British Investment Group Kingsbridge Capital.
2006 - Lionel acquires K-Line.
2006 - trademark infringement suits between Union Pacific RR and the model railway industry settled.
2006 - T Scale is introduced at the Tokyo, Japan Toy Fair by K.K. Eishindo. Scale 1:450 with a 3mm gauge.
2007 - Märklin acquires Lehmann Grosse Bahnen (LGB).
2008 - Hornby acquires Corgi Classics
2008 - Fleischmann joins Modelleisenbahn Gmbh., for joint production and distribution strategies with Roco (see 2005).
2013 - Polk's Aristocraft Trains closes its doors
2013 - Märklin acquired by the Simba-Dickie-Group.