francais allemand italien

The Maestro left us tragically in 1989. I would like to reinstate his place amongst the big family of model railway, without speaking of his other inventions such as planes, cars, canons. There is no first or last place but an important place and not particularly that of oblivion…

Patrick Schindler

Arnaldo Pocher was born on the 22nd of September 1911 in Trente (Haut/Adige/North of Italy) where he spent his youth and had a technical education. Then he worked in diverse goldsmith’s workshops.

It is in the Villarboito’s workshop in Turin, where he went to live in 1927, that Pocher learnt the engraving technique, the base of his future trade of modeller.

During World War II he fought in Ethiopia and in Sicily.

In 1949, after admiring a miniature train set, Arnaldo started model making. And it is in his house, via Risorgimento, that he carried out his first constructions. In golden brass or painted they were essentially train set accessories (water towers, water pumps, level crossing…).

He is encouraged to become an artist and an artisan by a merchant of Turin. From 1950-1951 Pocher achieved an immediate success. With the help of his wife Maria-Pia he created the well-known make.

At 40, Arnaldo took a decisive action by teaming up with Corrado Muratore. Together they founded the Pocher-Micromeccanica S.N.C.; Corrado Muratore looked after the administrative and financial side of the society. The first catalogue is published in 1951.

Production and realisation of the models

From 1949 to 1952 Pocher used essentially coper, Masonite and wood, painting is done by hand or aerographer. He constructed elements of metallic tracks with ballast (systems 3 rails HO) and points with central plots like the French Charles Volon (marque VB) and this well before Märklin (render unto Caesar…!) who will buy the brevet back later on.

1953 – Production of signals, semaphores…and the first freight cars in brass, but also sleepers “p” in magnesium alloy.

The early fifties is a wonderful time for Arnaldo. He founded the model railway Club of Piemont based in the Pocher workshop, via Lucento.

1954 – Wagons and engines are produced industrially. Firstly built with an alloy of acetate and cellulose, the frames of the wagons are melted in polystyrene from 1957. The same year, unfortunately, the spring buffers disappeared. From 1954 to 1956 the annual wagon production goes from 300 to 1’500.

They are exported, worldwide, to the United States, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Belgium and Switzerland. Here the famous count Coluzzi (Fulgurex) is the official concession holder of the Italian make.

The first <super models> cars (passengers, seaters, berths, decoration, lights, tables….) as well as the lightning (2 and 3 rails) are on the market in 1958. From 1960 the cars and the wagons received original patina paint. It is well noting that in 1962 the inscription is done by hand (tampon) or in serigraph (Swedish wagons).

The first colour catalogue is published in 1958. In it we discover the famous CC 7107 SNCF <Mistral> – speed world record at 331 km/h – which production takes place between 1963 and 1965: 500 in direct current and 300 in alternating current. This fabulous model – still today – could deserve a whole chapter. Thirty years ago, this electric locomotive was equipped with a clutch and a fan (cooling of the motor). Lights on stop position, progressive starting and stoping, free wheel towing (double action possible) were conceived at the origin. This exceptional model has nothing in common with the big makes of the time.

In 1963 Arnaldo Pocher also conceived the model of the first Italian engine <Bayard> 1834 <Vesuvio> in golden brass with motor and transmission in the tender. It was produced in 800 numbered specimens.

End of era

This <Bayard> has been the swan song of the master who teamed up with Rivarossi. The great Italian firm took the Pocher production by rationalising it and by adapting it to commercial and technology expectancies.

So, from 1963 Pocher won’t be really Pocher. All the distinct charm of the models will be gone.

In 1968, Arnaldo sold all his parts to Rivarossi and disappeared from the railway scene.


In 1972, after 4 years of purgatory Arnaldo Pocher (under the name AR.PO-Torino) went back to the workbench and realised some rails accessories in N, financed by the CO.R.E.L company from Milan

In 1975 he took up with the <little train> again and commercialised under AR.PO and Quattro Assi some Italian and Swiss locomotives – CFF and BLS – including the magnificent track in six elements (2 rails TEE-Rae 1051-52 <Cisalpino>). The prestigious Metropolitan, from Lausanne, took charge of the sales.

Final consecration

In 1976 Arnaldo Pocher was 65. He was finally recognised master modeller by the P.D.G of the FS (Italian railways), by the Group of railway modellers of Piedmont and most of all by the International Federation of railway modellers.

Master Arnaldo Pocher has never been an industrialist. His bohemian side prevented him. Art and fantaisy do not go along with commercial production. But he raised model making to an art form with his magicians hands.

Michel Hordies.

Pocher Models

The Pocher production was firstly concentrating on Italian material but adapted very quickly internationally.

One does not present the famous sleepers cars series and its numerous versions, anymore. Lets say, however that the average production, before 1963, date of Rivarossi take over, was not over 2’000 pieces.

The <Armistice> car, so sought-after, is not so rare, quite the opposite. It was produced in 9’000 editions, hello to all the speculators!

On the other hand, some pieces, like the Bayard or the CC 7107 were done in limited edition. We notice that the <Mistral> can suffer from the “zamac” sickness (tiredness and permanent erosion of metal at the bogies level).

To go back to our wagons, we would like to emphasise the existence of material, freights as well as passengers, in Italian, Swiss, German (DB), Swedish, French, American, Danish and even Belgium versions.

Four American steam locomotives <western> and one track with 2 elements FS red and white are, in reality, due to the partnership with Rivarossi. As well as all the imitation Pocher production from after 1963 it will only have the look.

One only needs to weight the light wagon, all plastic, against his big brother of origin to realise straight away that the pale copy is without relief, without soul and without….value.

The most beautiful pieces are without a doubt the handcrafted ones made after 1975, have a look, for example, at the armoured draisine on rail used by the German army.

Pocher was a great miniature railway artist, at the same level as some French artisans like Charles Vuillaume (Antal), Charles Volon (VB), Roger Gerard…who could not compete with the big mammoths of today who want to give themselves an artisan look they’ll never have by industrially producing special series, expensively and without risk (pay first system).

As if the ox wanted to look like a frog….

Michel Hordies

Translation : M. Zurkinden

Les commentaires sont fermés.

Pocher 1968 – 1989
Export, etc.

Tramway de Zurich ELEFANT le voila .. cela faisait longtemps que je l’attendais

Après une longue attente, j’ai enfin trouvé des voies courbes pour faire au minimum un ovale !!!

Prochainement, je présenterai un diorama fonctionnel uniquement Pocher, avec voies et accessoires, et bien sur, matériel roulant.

Merci à tous de votre patience

Curiosités et questions !!
A suivre

Le site est en transformation pour améliorer la classification des modèles, pour faciliter la recherche, en fonction du no d’article POCHER, et surtout pour permettre de mieux visualiser les variantes de fabrication A,B,C, etc…

Mais aucune mise à jour ne sera visible, tant qu’il y aura des codes malveillants venant perturber le bon fonctionnement du site.