|Summary||Athearn is a full line manufacturer. It is a part of Horizon Hobby, LLC|
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Athearn is a model railroad manufacturer.
Founded in 1943 by Irv Athearn in his mother's house, selling supplies and parts. In 1948 he moves the business to a new location in Hawthorne California after becoming a full line retailer.
In 1951 Athearn purchases Globe Models. In 1954 an unpowered F7 is offered under the Globe brand, and a powered version follows later. In 1957 he begins selling the rubber band driven (belt drive) locomotives and rolling stock. The product line expands over the years. In 1984 Athearn introduces a new narrower motor and drive train, leading to their first scale width hood units.
Irv Athearn passed away in 1991.
In 1994 the company is sold, and in 2004 Horizon Hobbies takes over Athearn. All tooling and production moved to China in 2009.
Over time, companies such as Model Die Casting (MDC) and Roundhouse (which predates Athearn's company) were added to the fold. Overland Models sold their Tower 55 tooling to Athearn in 2008 which was incorporated into the Genesis line.
Athearn was well known for the "Blue Box" kits. The kits were discontinued in 2009 when the cost of labour and materials made the kits uncompetitive with finished models.