ATT - American Train & Track Corp.
Please click on any picture to view a larger image
ATT - a brief Company History 1967 - 1970
Lines Bros. closed its Tri-ang import company in New York circa late 1966.
Mike Tager had worked as a sales agent for Atlas Tool Co. Inc. of Hillside, New Jersey, an American model railway company, and decided to leave Atlas to set up his own company as an importer of Rovex / Tri-ang Hornby railways. He took an office in the 200 Fifth Avenue building in New York formerly occupied by Lines Bros.
Rather than just import and sell on products, he founded American Train & Track Corp. to import and repackage model railways from various European manufacturers and market them under his own 'ATT' label.
The first illustrated price list dates from May 1967.
In the summer of 1967, Hugh Stephens joined Mike Tager's American Train & Track Corp. to become production manager where he lined up the production facilities through Pioneer Container Corp. for manufacture of the packaging and repacking of the imported models. The factory was situated at 1033 South Washington Avenue, Cedarburg (a suburb of Milwaukee), Wisconsin. Hugh Stephens was also aided by his son, Michael R. Stephens, who was aged just 14 years old in 1967 !
Mike Tager persuaded Rovex to produce some of their Transcontinental models in American liveries and fit them with NMRA couplings before dispatch to the USA. Initially the 2nd series Streamline Passenger Cars and Old Time Passenger Cars together with Stephenson’s Rocket and Coaches and a range of bridges and stations featured in the 1967-1968 Catalog. Freight cars and Budd Rail Diesel Cars were to follow later.
Most of the locomotives were manufactured by Mehano in the former Yugoslavia. There were also some small Japanese-brass locomotives and a range of plastic accessories from West Germany (manufactured by Pola). Track was, of course, provided by Atlas.
In addition to the Tri-ang Hornby products, the majority of the freight cars were imported from Roco of Austria.
Whilst Roco is now famous for manufacturing models for many different American model suppliers, in the mid-1960s Roco had just commenced marketing a small range of HO scale freight cars in the USA under their own brand name. It is believed that Mike Tager saw an opportunity in the market to import and repackage an instant range of freight cars and negotiated a deal to market them exclusively under his own 'ATT' label.
Despite the interesting range of models, for us as collectors, many of the Rovex manufactured models were severely lacking in accuracy when compared with their intended original prototypes and the Tri-ang Hornby range were also quite out of scale; they did not match well when mixed with other more accurate HO scale models.
Sales were not particularly good and Mike Tager closed ATT in 1970 and the remaining ATT stock was sold off. Or, to be more accurate, it would appear that Mike Tager bought the remnant ATT stock to start his new company which was called Model Power.
The post ATT period - 1970 onwards
Model Power Mfg. Co. Inc. had been founded by Mike Tager following the collapse of ATT.
Again, the company operated under the same principal of importing models and repackaging them under its own label. So, perhaps, it was not surprising that the former ATT models reappeared in Model Power packaging.
The Roco manufactured American outline freight cars were repackaged and sold in brown and yellow boxes under the Model Power trademark.
The remaining Tri-ang ATT stock was sold off to PMI Products who had the models repackaged in blue boxes and, again, they were marketed under the Model Power label. Model Power continued to market PMI models for several years and some of these appeared in Model Power catalogues as late as 1975. Although, most of the former ATT stock had long disappeared by this date.
It is thought likely that PMI were connected with Polk's Model Craft Hobbies of 346 Bergan Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey.
Polk's had a hobby department store at 314 Fifth Avenue, New York and they were the principal advertiser of the remnant stock in the pages of Model Railroader at that time.
'PMI' stands for Precision Model Inc. and has the same registered company address as for Model Power.
A very recent discovery now indicates that Precision Model Inc. also acquired the remnant train set packaging from ATT upon its demise.
Only one Freight Train Set has been recorded so far and it is most unlikely that any Passenger Train Sets were ever assembled due to the lack of complete sets of unsold passenger cars.
Precision Miniatures Inc.
The Tri-ang ATT 0-4-0 Tank Locomotive was also marketed very briefly in Model Power boxes which were soon superseded by the correct Precision Miniatures Inc. white and black packaging.
Precision Miniatures Inc. of 625 Wortman Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11208 also continued to import some of the former ATT Roco manufactured American outline freight cars together with some new models. Also, a number of Mehano manufactured diesel locomotives and some of the Pola manufactured scenic accessories reappeared, now in Precision Miniatures Inc. packaging.
Precision Miniatures sold the Tri-ang ATT 0-4-0 Tank Locomotive and three Roco freight cars together in a set very similar to the ATT Set No. 1020.
Parkway Industries Co.
In many ways, another true successor to ATT was Parkway Industries Co. of 10101 Woodland Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44104 who continued to import the Mehano diesel locomotives and Roco freight cars, repackage and market them as sets and individual models under their own name until circa 1974.
As we have seen, the closure of ATT was not the end of the line for the Mehano and Roco manufactured ranges of models.
During that time former ATT models began to appear in the Life-Like catalogues, then Model Power again. AHM marketed many Roco products and more recently a re-tooled version of the ALCO Century 415 Diesel has appeared in the IHC range.