History

Graham Farish was founded by Thomas Graham Farish in 1919, and originally made radio components for home constructors. When the enthusiasm for home-built radios subsided, Graham Farrish moved into other manufacturing, and made electric fires, jar lids, fountains and plant food pellets.

Always looking for new markets, Graham Farish produced sixty-odd figures for the Coronation in 1953, and showed their Formo flexible model railway track in 1948, with their GP5 00-gauge train sets appearing in 1949. As one of the early adopters of two-rail 00-gauge, Graham Farrish then briefly started producing three-rail sets, in 1953, under the Formo name.

The Company launched their N gauge range in 1970, and dropped the 0-gauge range in the early 1980’s to concentrate exclusively on N-gauge.

Courtesy of The Brighton Toy Museum; http://www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/info/Category:Graham_Farish

Romany Works
The Romany Works plant in Holton Heath in Poole, Dorset, where Graham Farish rolling stock used to be produced. It was acquired in 1963 for the manufacture of powered pleasure boats – another one of Graham Farish’s former ventures. Today the premises operates as a business park for small enterprises.

Picture courtesy of http://romanyworks.co.uk/history.php

The Poole, Dorset based manufacturer of radio parts and kits entered the model railway business in the late 1940s, after the need for radio sets reduced post World War II. The early 1950s models focused on British OO gauge, and they manufactured track, wagons and other supporting items. Many of the more obscure items such as the Graham Farish Coronation figures (by Russell Gammage) from 1953 are considered collectors items.

Originally the OO railway locomotives were powered by an unconventional 2 pole DC electric motor. Unfortunately many of their diecast items were manufactured with impure mazac, which was all that was available immediately after the War. MZAC is an alloy of Magnesium, Aluminium, Zinc and Copper similar to Zamak,which later crumbled due to Zinc pest.

Graham Farish really found its market niche with the arrival of N scale becoming the major supplier of British outline N scale models under the GRAFAR label at a time when the market was shrinking and the other OO gauge players were suffering badly. The initial range in 1970, started with the 9400 Pannier Tank loco, 4 wheel coaches, bogied ‘suburban’ stock (based on Period 2 LMS suburban stock) and ‘Mainline’ bogied stock (based on Southern coaches); which have appeared in Caledonian, LMS, GWR, LNER and SR liveries.

After the withdrawal of two competitive mass-market manufacturers, the Italy-based Lima and German based Minitrix, from the late 1980s Grafar was the only major supplier of British outline models in N scale – predicating its withdrawal from the OO scale market in light of greater competition in the developing collector scale market. Early 1970s products were made with three pole armature motors. They were also equipped with all brass gears. In the early 1980s the motors were improved with five pole armatures. At about the same the gears were replaced with white nylon gears, these were only produced for a short time. The nylon gears were replaced with thin black plastic gears these could suffer from splits, making the models run badly or not at all. These gears were eventually all replaced by thicker plastic gears, to produce a much more reliable and popular range of locomotives. By the late 1990s the GRAHAM FARISH N Gauge Range 350 lines including a huge variety of Locomotives, Coaches, Wagons, Buildings and complete train sets from starter sets all the way up to the 8 ft x 2 ft 6in Magnum Layouts which came complete with all track laid, and a full set of building kits to complete it.

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The above images are taken from 1980’s Graham Farish catalogues. Click on the images to see an enlarged version.

In 2001, Graham Farish was purchased by Kader Industries of Hong Kong, and absorbed by its subsidiary Bachmann Industries. Bachmann immediately closed the Poole facility and moved production to China, setting about improving the at times poor model robustness of the products by redesigning and latterly reintroducing the entire range.

Courtesy of Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Farish#External_links

 

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