Frank Hornby was the originator of Meccano, Hornby trains, and so much more. My special attraction is to the really beautiful tinplate 0 gauge trains that Hornby manufactured during the prewar era. I have very little Hornby prewar tinplate in my collection, but my eyes have been opened to just how great these trains are. The fabulous book entitled "The Hornby Gauge 0 System" by Chris and Julie Graebe, is a spectacular over 400 page tome with some of the most colorful photos of beautiful tinplate toy trains that you will ever see.
Hornby opened a factory in New Jersey and made trains there in the 1920s for the US market. That venture ended in the late 20s with the sale of the factory to A.C. Gilbert. A much more lucrative venture was French Hornby. The factory in France operated quite independently from Hornby HQ in Liverpool, making French outline trains. The French continued to concentrate on 0 gauge even after the UK factory went into high gear producing the new "Dublo" (H0) scale trains in the late 1930s. The French continued with 0 gauge after WWII. Here's a great postwar 0 gauge tinplate set that I couldn't resist. It's French Hornby, ca. 1954. What a beautiful tinplate toy train...and look at the boxed presentation! It's a work of art.