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Röwa was a model railway manufacturer from Unterensingen am Neckar, which initially manufactured on behalf of Trix , and later marketed its products under its own name.

The company initially traded as Röwa Plastic GmbH , later as Röwa Modelleisenbahnen GmbH .

The company is known to this day for its numerous innovations and the very high level of detail in its models. This is primarily the work of the company's founder Willy Ade , who is considered one of the best and most innovative model railway designers.

Company history

Before Willy Ade (* 24. November 1923 , † 27. May 2011 ) in 1959 founded the company Röwa, he already had a few years under the brand name WIAD ( " Wi lly ad detailed e") Building kits of plastic produced and marketed. The company was sold after two partners died unexpectedly.

The company Röwa founded by Willy Ade together with his partner Röchling (the name was again composed of the first letters of the people involved) began to work for the toy manufacturer Trix in 1959 . Due to the triumph of plastics technology among competitors such as Fleischmann or Märklin , the Nuremberg- based company with its products in classic cast and sheet metal construction fell behind. Since there were already contacts with Willy Ade from earlier times, a cooperation was suggested - Röwa took over the design and manufacture of the then new plastic models for Trix. It emerged u. a. the ore wagons and the passenger wagons in plastic construction in the length scale 1: 110, Ade also designed models such as the Adler , the VT 08 of the DB or the ELD of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen for Trix.

The high point was the collaboration with the “super model series” between 1967 and 1968. During this time, very detailed, filigree freight car models and the T 3 steam locomotive were developed. The first true-to-scale model of this series astonished the experts. Ades further plans provided for the production of Trix Express to be phased out in the long term and mainly to offer models for the two-wire direct current system Trix International .

But that was not to happen, because the collaboration between Trix and Willy Ade, which had proved difficult over the entire period, ended after internal disagreements in 1968. Ade's innovative ideas were always based on the inflexible attitude of the then Trix -The management was often hostile to innovations in order to continue to guarantee compatibility with older Trix products. The development of longer passenger coaches was initially rejected on the grounds that the sometimes very narrow radii of the express system were not always perfectly navigable.

From 1968, after the cooperation with Trix ended, Röwa finally began to market its products under its own name. In addition, Rokal GmbH became the main shareholder - a supplier of automotive parts that also manufactured model trains of nominal size TT on a scale of 1: 120 until the early 1970s . The aim was a new edition of the Rokal TT track, but that never happened.

The H0 range, on the other hand, has been consistently expanded and, in addition to numerous vehicles, also has its own, very prototypical track system with embankment bodies made of plastic.

The bankruptcy of the main shareholder Rokal in 1974 and the relatively small market share in the model railway sector also meant the end for Röwa in 1975. As a manufacturer of auto parts (carburetors), Rokal was hit hard by the oil crisis of the 1970s. Reasons for the failure of Röwa lay in a rather small market share: The products from Röwa were in many ways superior to those of the long-established competitors and Röwa was technically the front runner in the industry, but this perfection also led to significantly higher sales prices in the Compared to competing products. In the 1970s, however, many model railroaders were not ready to pay more for better quality. The traditional model railway manufacturers Märklin, Fleischmann and Trix were also well represented in the numerous German toy shops everywhere, but Röwa as a newcomer was not, these models only ran the few special model railway shops.


Röwa was primarily a manufacturer of the nominal size H0, for which a complete range with its own track system was offered. There were locomotive models (including T 3 , BR 216 , E 60 , E 91 ), and passenger freight train models as well as a very detailed model of the train - class 420 is. In addition to the container wagons and various types of containers , there was also a kit for a complete container crane with a functioning trolley to simulate the container traffic that was newly introduced at the time . The track system with embankment body and 2 mm high rail profiles was way ahead of its time and has not yet been achieved in its prototypical faithfulness.

The manufacture of the products in nominal size N on a scale of 1: 160 was sold to Trix in 1972 ( Minitrix ).

The planned new edition of the Rokal - TT track under the direction of Röwa never happened.

The whereabouts of the Röwa constructions

A large part of the tools (molds) from Röwa was bought by Roco , where some of the models are still in the range in a revised form. It was to this takeover that Roco owed its rapid rise to one of the leading manufacturers.

The models of the Prussian T 3 tank locomotive went to the company Merker + Fischer (M + F) in Fürstenfeldbruck , the models of the 216 series and the G 10 and Gr 20 freight car types were not brought into the by any other manufacturer after the end of Röwa Program ( Roco already had a model of the 215 series and corresponding freight car models in the program).

The Röwa track system went to the Conrad company (not to be confused with the electronics shipping company Conrad Elektronik ) in Röckenhof near Nuremberg, where it was continued to be produced for some time in a greatly simplified form (different connection technology and higher rail profile, therefore not compatible). In the meantime, however, the model railway production at Conrad has been given up.

Willy Ade made a fresh start under his own name (Ade) and brought passenger coaches that were replicated down to the smallest detail , now in the unabbreviated length scale of 1:87. The models were available both as a kit and as a finished model. The close coupling head included in the scope of delivery of the Ade wagons is similar to the original "Röwa-Matic" coupling head, but it is a mirror image of this and is therefore not compatible. After Ade's company initially stopped production in the early 1990s, there has since been a successful new start as Ade-Eisenbahn-Modelle Vertriebs Ulrike Ade .

Significant innovations

Important innovations introduced by Röwa included a .:

  • Screen printing on models instead of raised lettering
  • Clip technology ("Snap In") instead of screws / rivets
  • first, less shortened models of passenger coaches in the 1: 100 length scale, which were later adopted by other manufacturers
  • True to the original, detailed track system with embankment and 2 mm high rail profiles, which was delivered multi-colored, aged
  • Close coupling for car models ("Röwa-Matic")
  • multi-part and multi-colored interior decoration
  • Interior lighting with distribution of the light rays through light guides

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. In Memoriam , on: ade-eisenbahn-modelle.de, accessed February 16, 2016
  2. Röwa , on: eifelbahn.de, accessed February 16, 2016