It was in 1949 when the first PIKO train set - the 'PICO Express' - was presented to the public at the Leipzig Fair. Afterwards, the company became one of the major toy producers in the former GDR. The German Unification in 1990 marked the transition from a social economy to free market enterprise. On May 1, 1992, the formally state-owned company became the 'PIKO Spielwaren Ltd.'.
Piko was once a state-owned enterprise in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) which produced model railways and accessories. Today the denationalized enterprise named as PIKO Spielwaren GmbH. It also let company to establish among Märklin, Fleischmann and Roco as "the fourth biggest" in model railways market with a complete offer in the very much spread H0 scale. Piko manufactures a complete line of H0 scale locomotives (DC & Märklin AC) and rolling stock as well as a selection of highly detailed structure kits in both H0 and G scales.
Piko started operations 1949 in Chemnitz. Their fist product was “PICO Express” consisted of a streamline steam locomotive, an express-train car, and tin tracks. In those days, PIKO used to be spelled with a “C”, which was replaced by a “K” years later. This was the moment when name “PIKO” was said to be the short form for “Pionier-Konstruktionen”.
In the early 50s, the company moved to Sonneberg, the famous town of toys in Thuringia.
It was in the 60s when PIKO started to produce N scale models. Only 20 years later, the company decided to discontinue the N-scale products and to sell the molds to other N scale firms.
In 1990 the reunification in Germany was a big challenge for the company. The former governmental owned company was sold May, 1st, 1992 to the PIKO Spielwaren GmbH. PIKO Spielwaren Gmbh was founded in April 1992 by Dr. René F. Wilfer, PIKO’s President, who had been working in the toy industry since 1986 and had managed a model building company until 1992.
What's your 'Piko' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):