Company Profile: Rivarossi
History in a Nutshell
Founded in 1945 by Alessandro Rossi, the company's name included a Mr. Riva, a partner who was involved only briefly. A year later, they acquired land in Monte Olimpino in northern Italy to build a factory. They began by making Italian HO railcars, track and accessories; later they made American, German, Italian, Austrian, Dutch, and Swiss models for distributors around the world. Beginning in 1957, Rivarossi's HO models were licensed and sold by Lionel as Lionel HO, but the deal broke down after only a year, and then they were sold through Athearn; later, AHM picked up the line, a crucial turning point.
In the mid-1970s, Rivarossi took over the Pocher company, and in the 1990s, Rivarossi acquired Lima, Jouef and Arnold. However, AHM had declared bankruptcy after having just placed a very large order with Rivarossi (the order was almost as large as Rivarossi's net worth at the time). Since AHM never took delivery, Rivarossi struggled to survive, until 2003 when they went bankrupt. Hornby bought all of their tooling and resumed production in China, while retaining the branding of the various lines.
N Scale Products
Rivarossi is perhaps best known for the N Scale products they made in cooperation with Atlas, particularly their steam locomotives, beginning in 1967; Rivarossi also supplied Atlas with diesels (which were actually made by Mehano), passenger cars and track. Their chunky 0-8-0 steam switcher became something of an icon for Atlas, appearing on catalogs, train sets, kits and ads; it was also sold under the Arnold brand.
The 69/70 and 70/71 N Scale catalog covers make clear Rivarossi's continued co-marketing arrangement with Atlas; the catalogs are bilingual (English and Italian). Rivarossi's own marketing at the time was strictly for their HO Scale products.
Copyright © 2018 by David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.