Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., was founded in Milwaukee in 1932, but really, it started years earlier, when 7-year-old Bill Walthers got his first taste of the hobby with a little wind-up toy train for Christmas. He continued with the hobby and eventually had an attic layout comprised primarily of his own scratch-built creations. After he wrote a series of articles on building train control and signaling systems, he got so many letters from other modelers that he began manufacturing them. The first ad (in the May issue of The Model Maker) offered a 24-page, 15ยข catalog that listed rail, couplers, and electrical supplies. Sales were over $500.00 for the first year, and the fledgling company was off to a strong start.

Within five years, Walthers had grown so much that larger quarters were needed. Space was found on Erie Street, where everything - from milled wood parts to metal castings to decals - was made in-house. 1937 also saw a new line in HO Scale, featured in its own catalog. Bill brought operating layouts to the 1939 World's Fair, which gave the hobby a big boost. Soon, though, the growing possibility of war overshadowed these successes, and supplies were becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.


- More history on Walthers
- Official website

Walthers value and price guide

What's your 'Walthers' worth? Here are some recently sold items (Australia).

Picture Title Date Sold for
Rtr 12 Car Set 1956 Santa Fe Hi Level El 07/2019 AU $1 199.50
11 Santa Fe Super Chief Carriages Bundle 07/2019 AU $800.00
Proto 920 41271 Santa Fe Emd F3 A B 08/2019 AU $705.80
Loco 772 Ho 2 8 4 Berkshire Steam Sound 07/2019 AU $661.64
933 3249 N Blast Furnace 09/2019 AU $588.18

See all sold items for more prices.


Looking for books on building layouts or model trains? Find these books on model railroad on Amazon.

Walthers forum

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