This blog discusses old toys from the early 1920's to the end of the 1950's. All kinds of topics are discussed.
The time span was the greatest period for "hands-on" toys, where a young child could actually go outside and play for hours at a time.
You can see the elegance but simple design of these toys. It was a time when huge machines, and people made and finished toys by hand.
The era has long passed, but many of the toys are still around, and that is what I would like to share.
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sunday, December 17,2017 Overcast with Sunny Periods -10 C 14 F
Born in Brooklyn, New York, to AustrianJewish parents, Marx graduated from high school at age 15 and started his career working for Ferdinand Strauss, a manufacturer of mechanical toys. By 1916, Marx was managing Strauss' plant inEast Rutherford, New Jersey. But within a year, Marx was fired by Strauss' board of directors over a disagreement about sales practices.
Marx then entered the United States Army as a private and attained the rank of sergeant before returning to civilian life in 1918. Marx's passion for the Army was reflected throughout his life; most of Marx's military toys represented Army equipment, and Marx would later make a practice of befriending generals and naming his sons after them.
Following military service, Marx then went to work selling for a Vermont-based manufacturer of wood toys, redesigned the product line, and increased the company's sales tenfold.[
In 1919 Marx and his brother David incorporated, founding the company that bore his name. Initially working as a middle man, Marx was soon able to purchase tooling to manufacture toys himself. When Strauss fell on hard financial times, Marx was able to buy the dies for two Strauss toys and turn them into best-sellers. By age 26, three years after founding his company, Marx was a millionaire.
By utilizing techniques of mass production and reusing old designs as much as possible – Marx utilized some of his toy train tooling developed in the early 1930s until 1972 – Marx was able to sell a broad line of inexpensive toys. All US-made toy trains would come from a plant in Girard, Pennsylvania which produced millions of lithographed tin, and plastic toy trains.[
By 1951, the Marx company had 12 factories worldwide, and for much of the 1950s it was the largest toy manufacturer in the world, with much of the success coming from Sears, Roebuck, & Company catalog sales and the many the med play sets available. As World War II drew to a close, Marx had toured Europe and acted as a consultant on how toy manufacturing could aid reconstruction efforts. Marx used the contacts he made in this manner to forge partnerships and open factories in Europe and Japan Marx was featured on the cover of Time magazine on December 12, 1955, with his portrait eclipsing an image of Santa Claus, while examples of his toys swirl in the background.
Most of the Marx toys above range in date from the 1930's - 1940's.
They were manufactured from thin-gauge pressed steel, and lithographed for their colour.
At one time (1951), as the article from Wikipedia indicates, Marx was the largest producer of toys in the world. Eventually, after WWII, Japan, during its' comeback years started to make toys for the world market. This had a large effect on the Marx company manufacturing. By the 1960's and later, toys were being produced around the world in countries with low-paying jobs. Mr. Marx sold the company to Quaker Oats for $ 58 million dollars at the age of 76. After that the toy company was faced with too much competition from around the world. Quaker sold its struggling Marx division to the British conglomerate Dunbee-Combex-Marx, who had bought the former Marx UK subsidiary in 1967. By 1980, the last Marx toy factory in the US closed, the Marx brand disappeared and the company Dunbee-Combex-Marx filed for bankruptcy.