1938: Musicians Jerry Joice and Perry Bodkin establish a hobby store called Roundhouse at 1301 North Catalina Street in Hollywood, California. The business is soon taken over by part-time employees C.H. Menteer and C.A. Voelckel. Shortly after assuming leadership, they are hired to build models for Cecil B. DeMille's film Union Pacific.
Irv Athearn begins building an O-scale model railroad at his mother's home.
1943: After receiving a large response to an ad about his O-scale model railroad, Irv Athearn establishes Athearn Trains in Miniature and sells model railroad supplies.
1946: Menteer & Voelckel's company is now called Model Die Casting, Inc. and resumes production of the Roundhouse Products line by summer. Irv Athearn becomes a full-time retailer of model railroading supplies.
1957: Athearn introduces the Hi-F Belt Drive for the F7, and the GP9 and Hustler locomotives. A number of plastic car kits are released, including the Cupola Caboose, 40' Box Car, 3-Dome Tank Car, Heavy-Duty Flat Car, 40' Steel Refrigerator Car, and the Streamlined RPO, Coach, Vista Dome and Observation.
More history and information: www.athearn.com
What's it worth? Take a look at this Athearn price guide: sold listings for a value indication.