The rise of Atlas model trains is a story of a company that has grown larger than originally thought. It is a story of hard work, vision and entrepreneurship, much like the stories of many other companies involved in model trains.
It was back in the early part of the 20th century that Stephan Schaffan Sr. started what would become Atlas Model Trains. In the early days it was not a model train company, but a tool company that was so undermanned that Stephan Schaffan Sr had to get his son Stephan Schaffan Jr to assist with the company.
As happens Stephan Schaffan Jr wasn't happy with the money that he earned at his dads business (if he earned anything at all). He was young and was an inventive person who's passion was machinery. He used to build model airplanes at home after work. He was a frequent visitor to a model airplane shop that was local to where he lived. He wanted to earn some extra money and would constantly ask the owner of the model shop for a part time job which was always met with a refusal.
Eventually the owner of the store was worn down by the constant pestering by Stephan Jr.s constant requests and in the hope that the would go away and leave him alone he gave him some old model trains and tracks that he no longer had any use for.
He was unaware that this equipment that he passed on so easily would lead to the the company that today is known as Atlas Model Trains.
Stephan Jr. took these trains and tracks home and started work on them. Whilst working with these parts, as he was inventive, he created a switch set. This switch set became the staple of Atlas Model Trains, he also developed a way of allowing the user to control the trains by controlling the voltage on the tracks.
Later on, Stephan Jr. went on to invent even more products. This made the company grow larger, at the same time his father's business started to look small when compared. At some stage during this growth the original name Atlas Model Trains was changed. The trains was dropped and the company became known as Atlas Model Railroad, however it is still known as Atlas Model Trains by most people.
Stephan now continued on developing and inventing devices that would save work for people who enjoyed model trains as a hobby. Atlas Model Trains now officially existed. One of the things that he invented was pre-assembled track, this saved his customers the problems of assembling track themselves. Track assembly became much easier due to his inventions.
Nowadays one of the larger names withing the Model Train industry is Atlas Model Trains. Although Stephen Jr. is no longer alive, model trains is a much more accessible hobby than it used to be due to Atlas Model Trains and his legacy.