Lima was founded in 1946 as a factory specialising in the manufacture of aluminium components for railway carriages. In 1948 Lima lost this market, and started to produce aluminium toys. In 1953 the company was taken over by the Bisazza family led by Mr. Ottorino Bisazza who became the Chief Engineer and President. Thanks to him the company started to make electric toy trains. This turned out to be a very successful project and Lima entered a boom period. A new step was the introduction of their first N gauge models in 1966. In those days Lima had three factories with head office in Vicenza. More than 500 skilled workers were employed.
Lima’s claim to fame is their low prices making the train hobby accessible to the majority of the young boys in the second half of the last century. Another claim is their vast range of models serving hobbyists in many countries in and outside Europe. In this respect Lima has beaten all N gauge producers. They had an efficient commercial organisation distributing electric trains all over the world. Approximately 75% of their export went to European countries, 15% to North America, 2% to South Africa and 1% to Australia. In some countries Lima was sold under the name of the importer: Wrenn in the Britain and AHM and PMI in the United States. However, the packaging left no doubt: “Made by Lima in Italy” was always printed on the box.
Although real modellers considered Lima models not worth looking at, Lima filled many gaps left over in the programs of other producers, so even those modellers bought Lima models. In fact Lima models were not bad at all but the finishing touch was missing. Viewed in the light of the low prices this was understandable. For example, all passenger coaches had the same bogies and one basic body was used for models of different proto-types. Locomotives exactly modelled to proto-type received liveries of other companies, changing nice models into fantasy models.
In the beginning locomotives drove rather wobbling and only with high speed. Much later better motors were installed and the drive was improved almost to a level competing with other N scale producers.