Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Louis Marx and Company - Larger Than Life!
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Louis Marx and Company
(Larger than Life!)
Do I write about the Company or Mr. Marx?
To be honest, I wasn't going to write about the Louis Marx and Company toy company. I'm still trying to figure out how to find toy patents at the U.S. Patent Office, and again, I failed! I did find a site that has patent photos, and I was able to be redirected to the U.S.Patent Office to get a Louis Marx Patent of one of his more interesting toys. However, I only could match 1 toy with 1 patent photo.
I then did a cursory check to see if I ever wrote about this historic toy company, and I didn't find a single solo entry. I did have Marx toys "all over the place", but not 1 entry just on Mr Marx and his company. Shamefully, that for me would like saying that I wrote a novel about the car industry, and didn't include Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company.
You can best get a fine easy-to-read narrative on Wikepedia about the Company and Mr. Marx, but here's a brief write-up from what I can remember. Louis Marx graduated high school in 1911 at the age of 15. He started work for a toy company called Ferdinand Strauss, and was managing the company's East Rutherford, (New Jersey) plant by 1916 (age 20). The company and Mr. Marx had a falling out, and Louis left (was fired). He joined the army, and by 1918 was a sergeant. He briefly worked for a Vermont wood toy manufacture, successfully increasing their business many times over, before deciding to start up his own company in 1919, with his brother David. By 1922, he was a millionaire.
Like Henry Ford, he used the concept of mass production, to make toys by the shipload, and at in the 1950's, his company was the largest toy manufacturer in the world. He eventually sold the company to Quaker Oats in 1972 after having just retired. He was a dedicated patriotic man, who helped consult on the rebuilding toy factories in Europe after WWII to help with the redevelopment of Europe. As well, he would often donate lots of toys to various charities for poor children.
When you look at toy auction companies, E-Bay, toy collectors, you can't help but notice how many Marx toys are still around, and in such abundance. Also, when you look at the licensing of famous cartoon characters (e.g. Popeye) to toy companies, Marx by far stands out. whereas, the "other" companies might have 1 or 2 examples of a character (e.g. Popeye), Marx would have 6-8 different toys of Popeye, Popeye and Olive 'Oyl, and so forth.
I normally present 10 toy photos on a post. However, with Mr. Marx, I presented a bit more. He wouldn't have wanted any less, and I know he deserved the small effort on my part. If I ever figure out how the U.S.Patent Office works, I will return with more of Louis Marx. His name always seems to appear on those patent pages, and I like that!
Thanks as always for visiting,
and have a great part of the day or night,
wherever you may be.