Company Profile: Kadee Quality Products

History in a Nutshell

Kadee Quality Products Co. was established in 1940 by identical twin brothers Keith and Dale Edwards, both of whom were skilled toolmakers and engineers. Although they obtained many patents for various non-hobby-related products, their claim to fame was of course their patented HO Scale Magne-Matic knuckle coupler, which after 1947 became the de facto standard in the hobby.

Kadee entered the N Scale market in 1968 when they introduced their N Scale Magne-Matic coupler. It eventually gained considerable favor among N Scale modelers who were dissatisfied with the industry-standard Rapido coupler. Four years later, they began making very finely-tooled N Scale freight cars which, compared to the competition, were decades of their time.

In 1990, Keith and Dale elected to split the company into two, separating the HO and non-HO product divisions into Kadee and Micro-Trains, respectively (not to be confused with Revell MicroTrains or Sony Microtrains).

Trivia: Kadee did practically everything in-house, including print their own packaging and promotional collateral. Consequently they now also outsource their printing services.

N Scale Products

Unquestionably, Kadee is best known among N scalers for their Magne-Matic couplers, which they introduced in 1968—and which might have been originally intended for the TT Scale market, according to some sources. Aside from trucks, underframes and various accessories such as uncouplers, Kadee did not produce any other N Scale products until 1972, when they began making finely-tooled freight cars.

Trivia: Kadee referred to the scale as "N Gauge" for years.

Printed Matter

Curiously, although their N Scale couplers were mentioned in the press as early as mid-1968, Kadee didn't advertise them (at least in Model Railroader) until a year later.

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