Company Profile: Charles C. Merzbach

History in a Nutshell

Charles C. Merzbach was reputed to have been a "colorful character" in the model railroad business. Tales have been told that he raised more than a few eyebrows when some of his full-page advertisements in the 1940s and 50s featured strip tease artist Blaze Starr posed among the model trains he sold. More than likely this was a carefully planned promotion targeting troops returning home from the war, looking perhaps to get into model railroading. From the late 1940s through the 1960s, he was the official US agent for Fleischmann; he also imported Brawa, Faller, Märklin and many others. Merzbach died in 1992—by suicide, according to one source.

N Scale Products

Merzbach is distinguished as being among the first to import N Scale into the United States, with Arnold Rapido trains arriving between 1962 and 1963. From the outset, Merzbach was the official US agent for Arnold, and while he lost agent status in the late 1960s when Revell took over the line, he continued to sell Rapido trains well into the 1970s.

Printed Matter

Merzbach did a considerable amount of advertising—which was always straightforward and no-nonsense—and his Arnold Rapido ads appeared quite frequently in Model Railroader and other magazines in the 1960s and 70s. Some were full-page, like this one from February 1964:

In addition, Merzbach distributed Arnold's catalogs.

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