Bachmann has been in business under a variety of names, making a variety of ornaments and toys, since 1833. The original company merged with a company operated by Henry G. Bachmann and his son in 1899. Specialising in injection moulding since 1912 the company entered the model railroading field with a range of easy-to-use snap-together kits of buildings under the Plasticville® trademark.
Bachmann continued to diversify in the 1960s and 1970s, including among its many ventures slot cars, toy airplanes, plastic animal sets, robots, and cassette cases. As model railroading became more popular, the company supplied everything from trains to scenery to whole villages, eventually turning to Kader Industrial, Ltd for manufacturing support.
Founded in 1948 in Hong Kong, Kader was established to produce models and toys for export. Starting in 1969, Kader made the first model trains for Bachmann, and the two companies worked hand in hand to create model railroading products for the hobbyist market. Kader acquired Bachmann in 1981 and renamed it Bachmann Industries. Kader has grown to become the world's largest manufacturer, by volume, of model railroads.
Bachmann introduced its premium Spectrum® line in 1988, which emphasises more highly detailed, faithfully reproduced locomotives and train sets. In 1988, Bachmann created the Big Haulers™ line in Large Scale and become the distributor of Thomas & Friends™ in the United States in 2002. It now delivers locomotives, train sets, and accessories to aspiring engineers in both HO and Large Scale. Bachmann acquired Williams Electric Trains in 2007 to expand its offering of O gauge three-rail trains. Bachmann is the only model train company to offer HO, N, On30, O, and G scale lines.