MTH Electric Trains, formerly Mike's Train House, is an American toy train and model railroad designer, importer, and manufacturer, based in Columbia, Maryland. It is a privately held company.
MTH's founder, Mike Wolf, started assembling and selling trains at the age of 12 in 1973 for Williams Electric Trains, which had begun producing reproductions of trains manufactured by Lionel Corporation in the early 1970s. By 1980, Wolf was operating a mail order business out of his parents' home, selling Williams trains and parts out of his bedroom.
When Williams decided to end its line of Lionel Standard gauge and O gauge reproductions, Wolf bought the tooling and continued building the replicas. Although many published reports have stated that Williams had acquired original Lionel tooling, both Wolf and Jerry Williams deny this claim.
From 1983 to 1987, MTH marketed the reproduction trains on its own. In 1987, Lionel approached Samhongsa, MTH's subcontractor in South Korea, about manufacturing Standard Gauge trains that bore the Lionel name. Samhongsa directed Lionel to Wolf. Before the end of 1987, MTH became a Lionel subcontractor, allowing MTH's Lionel reproductions to bear the Lionel name and be marketed by Lionel itself. As part of the agreement, MTH sold Lionel trains as part of its mail-order business. By the early 1990s, MTH was the second-largest mail-order Lionel dealer in the country.
What's your 'Mth' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):