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15.10.2013
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In 1955, the same year that he was featured in Time Magazine, Marx toy sales were $50 million dollars. Marx train designs would be instep with the times, with quality and reliably second to none. Marx would market its products to dime stores and the old department store and mail order giants: Butler Brothers, Sears, Montgomery Wards, Spiegel's, Penney's and others.
Also around the same time a plant in Dudley, England would be set up to produce a British version of Marx trains, with beginnings from the Joy Line design.
Introduced at the beginning of the Streamliner Age in 1934, the Marx Toy Company would now focus it's attention on contemporary trains.
The first steam loco used to power the new 6 inch tin, was the Streamlined New York Central, Commodore Vanderbilt, equipped with the early swing pin (ESP) coupling system.
One of the earliest Christmas Wish Books, a 1935 Wards shows a sparkling CV six piece freight set, bridge, station, 21 workers, 2 signals and track for only $1.79.
Most common of Marx couplers are tongue and slot (TSC), which Marx started using about 1936, as well as new one color bases.
The popular Articulated Streamliner passenger, Union Pacific M10000 series came out in 1934, and proved a success. 1936 The famous Marx Canadian Pacific  power unit made its appearance around this time. This semi-streamlined style engine was quite popular and widely used through 1952 by the Marx Toy Company.
1937 Marx introduces the first electric automatic coupler - decoupler system for its 8 wheeled cars.
1937-38 saw the beginning of the Articulated NYC Mercury Streamliner passenger trains and Mercury freight trains. And don't forget the Bedazzling Blue Mercury six inch passenger train, with blue cars and blue tender.
1940 Marx introduces a battery operated Commodore Vanderbilt, for those rural customers without electrical power.
The early 50's saw large diesel units from Flyer, Unique, and Lionel and Marx was no exception. Also produced around 1952 were a smaller sized Marx EMD F-3 tin lithographed diesel with roadnames of Southern Pacific #6000 and  Baltimore and Ohio #62. Mid fifties saw the Fairbanks Morse styled Monon #81, Seaboard #4000 and Kansas City Southern #54 establish their production run all the way into the early 60's.
Sales stats for the fifties was that Lionel was outselling American Flyer about two to one and Marx Toy Company was outselling Lionel two to one also.
Large diesels and small switchers, mechanical steamers and electric steamers were part of the product line. 1954 Marx eight wheeled medium duty plastic rolling stock and the 1829 Hudson appear on the scene. 1954 Colber accessories decides to leave the market, when American Flyer no longer uses them. And around 1956 Marx would purchase the Hafner - Wyandotte train tooling and move it to it's Mexico based plant to produce inexpensive trains for the Mexican market. 1959-1960 Saw the introduction on TV influenced sets, such as a frontier wood burning locomotive with tender, baggage and passenger cars.
From the beginning, Marx  made scores of accessory items to compliment his train lines.


Marx had toy and train production interests in England, Germany, Mexico, South America, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, France, Brazil and Japan.
2004 would see the end of New Marx and the Ameritrains brand would replace the New Marx branded trains. Being the largest and least expensive train maker in the 1950's has quite an effect on value. We need styles that are quick and easy to maintain without having to wake up at the break of dawn every morning to get it right.
As a young man, still in high-school, he was already working at the Strauss toy company in 1911.
Louis would be to the toy and train industry, what Henry Ford was to the Automobile industry. Marx would produce the best toys and  most durable trains ever possible for the lowest cost to the consumer. Some train related toys like Floor trains, Trolleys and Handcars, as well as Tabletop trains, and Ride-on trains would also see their beginning. These are considered as the beginning of Marx Trains and sold in the 1933 Sears Wish book under the Marx brand. The tin lithographed Union Pacific M10000 series would be the first, but more streamliners were on the way. Debuting in Canada in 1936 to go along with the first run of the Canadian Pacifica€™s newly designed passenger trains. An interesting coupling system, whistling engine, and lighted cars made these sets popular! It was engineered to add play value to their side dump car and their Pennsylvania coal train sets.
It adorned a new 4-6-2 wheel arrangement, and it was soon to be Marx's first smoking locomotive.
Punched frame tab couplers replace twisted tab and slot after the war (1946) and plastic couplers are seen on the six inch tin in 1953. But all three makers were challenged by new manufacturers in Japan, such as Sakai of Tokyo, who could undercut all their prices, and provide a similar product! Four wheel with simulated trucks, eight wheel and eight wheel deluxe would be the basic line up for freight cars.
Santa Fe was the earliest plastic diesel while New York Central, Rock Island, Western Pacific, New Haven, Union Pacific, Penn Central, and Allstate would soon fill more households with loads of diesel fun. Being a mix of tin and plastic, it was known as the William Crooks or AKA the Wells Fargo playset. Rocket launchers and missile carriers will appear in such train sets as the famed Cape Canaveral Sets, New Haven, Allstate and Santa Fe. Economically priced and fitting in size, you probably will find some of them used with Lionel or American Flyer trains. Quaker Oats continued to made toys for a few more years, but closed the US Pennsylvanian Marx division in 1975, selling to British maker Dunbee-Combex early the next year. And a great deal of thanks really deserves to go out to the men and women that worked at all the Marx facilities, who actually made this great toy era possible!
Low, affordable pricing, high quality construction, and high production with mass marketing. At one time Glen Dale employees numbered near 2000 and processed six rail cars of steel per day. Therefore, the early Marx toy and train history was not documented in yearly catalogs like some of the other major train manufacturers.


Therefore the first Marx logotype train would most logically have been a steamer style floor train. Engines were made in a mechanical style at first and were soon followed by an electrical style. The ever expanding line would make 1937 another successful year for the m10005 streamline train. Hafner (Wyandotte) eventually sold to Marx and Unique Art challenged by Marx would sell trains only from 1949 through 1951. Large beautiful modern passenger cars would finally grace the Marx consist, with people visible inside and vista domes.
Made in Marx's 7 inch scale, it would use a mechanical engine and cars that were decorated with Disney characters. Periods between the design changes would see transitional sets emerge, with some leftover parts being used on newer designs and vise-versa.
1959 will get the sister steamer the 1666, now cast in plastic, with smoking versions available. Towers, lights, crossing arms, grades, tunnels, dump bins, buildings, depots, terminals, workers, passengers, loading docks, loading equipment; you name it, Marx made it! The old Canadian Pacific engine design was modified and used extensively, with impressive results. Upon leaving, he would sell and design wooden toys for a Vermont based wood product company . He had the resources to effectively operate in the high end of the market,  but this was not the special niche he so enjoyed. Marx would pioneer an early completely plastic set in 1949 that was similar to a Schilling set. The Orange Allstate E7 diesel set (pictured above) and the Blue Alco S-3 switcher sets are highly prized by collectors. If parts from one toy or set could be slightly modified and used in another type of set or toy, Marx would do it!
A Marx item has to be extra rare or extra nice and with the original box, to pull in the big prices. A few years later in 1919, he and his brother would incorporate their own toy company.
Marx collectors must rely on Christmas and sale catalogs from early retailers to get a large amount of their information. This proved to be a goldmine for Marx and the catalog giants like Sears helped him achieve such a grand success. Dunbee-Combex-Marx who had also formerly purchased the British Marx Division in 1967, would end West Virginian production in 1980.
This practical policy would send Marx over the top as the world's largest toy and train manufacturer in the 1950's. Fort Apache, the Alamo, Gunsmoke, Roy Rogers Ranch,  Wagon Train, Rifleman, Ben Hur, the Blue and Gray, and Zorro are just a few of the hundreds of Marx playsets.
Some other memorable items are, the successful mass production of the Yo-Yo by Marx, doll houses, service stations, the invention of the Big Wheel pedal bike, the Green Machine, Great Garloo and Big Loo Robot, Johnny West and other action figures, and the Rock'em Sock'em Robots. They were toys for the working class of the world: the affordable alternative solution to building your own toy or railroad empire!



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