Company Profile: Lima
History in a Nutshell
In 1946, Lima S.p.A was founded in Vicenza, Italy, as a parts supplier for the Italian state railway. When the railway started making its own parts, Lima applied its metal casting capabilities in 1948 to toy production, and by 1953 they'd begun producing a low-budget range of H0 Scale model trains.
A decade later, Lima was among the largest model train manufacturers in the world, with over 500 employees churning out 3,000 locomotives, 12,000 cars and 30,000 pieces of track per year, shipped globally. Around 1966 they began making N Scale trains, which they dubbed MicroModels. Through the 1980s, Lima gradually improved the quality and accuracy of their products, although they still lagged behind their competitors.
In the early 1990s, Lima was acquired by Rivarossi; not long afterward, Jouef and Arnold went bankrupt, and Rivarossi acquired them as well. However, Rivarossi was already in trouble due to the collapse of AHM, and so Hornby bought all of the tooling and resumed production in China, while retaining the branding of the various lines.
N Scale Products
Lima's N Scale products were generally considered entry-level quality, particularly their fanciful North American items, which Lima introduced around 1968. G&R Wrenn Ltd. of the UK imported and co-branded their British models, while Lima's North American items were imported and co-branded by AHM. Lima was also imported directly into the US by a number of distributors, including DimiNutive Trains in Gardena, California.
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