A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

March 13, 2014

The First Model Railroad Kits?

I was recently doing some research on 19th Century lithographs and broadside posters. I came across these images at the Library of Congress. They date from 1870-1900 according to the LoC. They are prints designed for creation of paper models of a locomotive, coal car and a station. Could these be the first model railroad kits ever? Anyone care to try making one of these? Just print, cut and assemble.

Here is the direct link if you wish to see the original scans.


  1. Fascinating - I'm familiar with Pellerin from the many sheets of figures they did, but these are quite beautiful. When I had my one minute of fame as 'head of Toy and Collectables' at an internet auction house back in 2006, we had a whole book of sheets come in. It dated from the 1940/50's and was the equivalent of an Annual, full of not just soldiers but animals, circus, promenade scenes etc...but the artwork was cartoonish compared to these, despite being a Pellerin book! These are stunning...I love that they've even thought to print both sides of the couplings!!!


  2. These are quite old, but I doubt they were the first. I might say that they were some of the best of their kind though!