Founded by Stephan Schaffan Sr. in 1924, Atlas Tool Company began as a general machine shop in a small garage at 330 Waverly Avenue in Newark, New Jersey. Stephan Schaffan Sr. immigrated from Czechoslovakia around the turn of the century and brought his machine and toolmaking skills with him. In 1933, after graduating first in his class from Essex County Vocational School, Stephan Schaffan Jr. joined his father in the business at age 16. Atlas Tool Company became a father and son team.
Steve Jr. built model airplanes as a hobby and frequented a local hobby shop. Being an enterprising young man, he would often ask the owner if there was anything he could do to earn some extra spending money. Tired of listening to his requests, the hobby-store owner threw some model railroad track parts his way and said, "Here, see if you can improve on this".
In those days, railroad modelers had to assemble and build everything from scratch. Steve Jr. created a "switch kit" which sold so well, that the entire family worked on them in the basement at night, while doing business as usual in the machine shop during the day.
Subsequently, Steve Jr. engineered the stapling of rail to fiber track, along with inventing the first practical rail joiner and pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. All of these products, and more, helped to popularize model railroading and assisted in the creation of a mass-market hobby. The budding entrepreneur quickly outgrew the limitations of a basement and small garage operation. Realizing they could actually make a living selling track and related products, Steve and his father had the first factory built in Hillside, New Jersey at 413 Florence Avenue in 1947. On September 30th, 1949, Atlas Tool Company Inc. was officially incorporated as a New Jersey company.
O Gauge trains have a long and rich history. The first O scale trains were produced around 1900. The German toy manufacturer Mãrklin is commonly credited with producing the first O scale model trains. Though not the first, the legendary Lionel Corporation is today most commonly associated with this type of model electric train. For over one hundred years and up until today, Lionel has been producing quality electric model trains in the O scale format.
Other well known top notch makers of O scale model railroading locomotives, rolling stock, and accessories are American Flyer, MTH, Willliams, Atlas O, and Weaver. These manufacturers often market their model electric trains under specialty brands which have gained loyal and enthusiastic customers. Tinplate Traditions, RailKing, and The Polar Express are a few prominent examples.
The family owners of Trains and Toy Soldiers have personally enjoyed O scale model trains for decades. Like many of you, we have our electric train model layout in our home’s basement. Countless enjoyable hours have been spent designing and redesigning the model train layout. It has been a project that the whole family can get involved in and work together on. Trains and Toy Soldiers is committed to providing you with the best available electric train locomotives, rolling stock, and accessories. Please email or call to let us know how we can serve you better.