Company Profile: Sekisui
History in a Nutshell
August 1957, Yuji Kato established Sekisui Kinzoku Co., Ltd. in Tokyo to manufacture HO Scale model trains; by the mid-1960s they'd begun manufacturing N Scale trains as well. Kato Precision Railroad Models became a subsidiary of Sekisui; its president is the founder's son, Hiroshi Kato. In addition to their high-quality Japanese and North American models, they also manufacture world-renowned Unitrack for both scales.
Almost from the outset of their N Scale production, Sekisui collaborated with American importers—first Con-Cor International, then Atlas Tool Company, among others. In 1986 Kato established a subsidiary, Kato USA, in Schaumburg, Illinois, to handle design and and distribution of North American products, while all manufacturing is done in Japan. Today Kato is still regarded as a world leader in quality HO and N models.
Note that there's a connection between Sekisui, Kato, and Kansui Metals, who inherited a never-produced train set from Sony. However, this connection is about as clear as mud; I'm attempting to sort it all out, although the language barrier is making this a challenge.
N Scale Products
Dating from the late 1960s, Sekisui's earliest Japanese train sets were branded Kato.
Even in its earliest days, Sekisui was innovative. Con-Cor's freight cars had cast metal frames for added weight and lower center of gravity, and smaller-than-usual flanges.
Period materials are harder to find than expected. The first mention of the company in the US appeared in the "Bull Session" column in the May 1966 issue of Model Railroader.
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