Dorfan model trains & toys history

Dorfan was an American toy company based in Newark, New Jersey, specializing in O gauge and Wide gauge toy trains. It was founded in 1924 by Milton and Julius Forcheimer, two immigrants from Nuremberg, Germany, whose family was involved in the production of Fandor trains. The name was made from the first names of Milton's and Julius' mother's sisters, Fanny and Dora.

A Fandor engineer, John C. Koerber, helped to get Dorfan started and Dorfan opened for business at 137 Jackson St. in Newark, N.J. 1924 was a good year to start making and selling trains - business was booming and the stock market was on a roll. Dorfan was the first U.S. train manufacturer to use die casting in its manufacturing process. However, Dorfan's alloys suffered from impurities, which weakened the metal and caused the trains to disintegrate over time. Dorfan replaced the damaged parts, but at great expense.

Dorfan logoDorfan trains were promoted as being educational in that they were easy to disassemble and actually encouraged customers to take the trains apart and learn how they worked. Dorfan was the first U.S. train manufacturer to use zinc die casting methods on a large scale in its manufacturing process. Their trains were made primarily of a copper-zinc alloy termed Dorfan Alloy, which was strong and light weight, but impurities in the alloy oxidized over time causing the metal to expand and crack.

At its peak, Dorfan had about 150 employees, but the Great Depression wiped out the company. It ended production in 1934, although old inventory was sold at least until 1936.

Few Dorfan trains survive today, making them among the rarest and most valuable of toy trains.

Some of the Dorfan tooling was later used by Unique Art to make its tinplate trains in the early 1950s.

Dorfan trains

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Gary Breitag - March 1, 2014

My wife has a complete Dorfan train set in very good shape. We would like to know the value of the train set......Thanks Gary
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Hi Gary! Best is to check out eBay (if you have an account, you can search through ended listings) to see what your set or similar ones fetched.

Carol Bell - October 24, 2013

I have a Dorfan freight train, engine and six cars, but no caboose. It has "June 24, 1924" on the engine which of course needs re-building. It has lots of paint chips and scratches. What is the value?

Ted Wachs - November 25, 2011

I have a set of O gauge passenger cars with roller bearing wheels. I think they may be Dorfan. They have a plate on them that says "West Chicago Limited. Car numbers are 5379, 2854, 5421, 3245, 8524, 4265. Tender number is 5748 no engine.

Fred J Rydman - December 25, 2010

I am interested in info on these trains - anything about them.
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I have updated this page with more info.

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1930 Dorfan Catalog
1930 dorfan catalog1 bid(s)ends in 13h$4.99
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Dorfan 211 O Gauge Freight Set Boxed 51
dorfan 211 o gauge freight set$346.75
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Dorfan O Gauge Track Switches Transformer
dorfan o gauge track switches1 bid(s)$9.99
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O GAUGE PRE WAR DORFAN PULLMAN OBSERVATION
o gauge pre war dorfan pullman$9.95
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Dorfan Wide Gauge 789 790 Mustard
dorfan wide gauge 789 7905 bid(s)$29.88
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O GAUGE PRE WAR DORFAN LINES 494 PASSENGER
o gauge pre war dorfan lines$54.95
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Dorfan Wide Gauge 790 790 Green Roof
dorfan wide gauge 790 7904 bid(s)$26.00
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O GAUGE PRE WAR DORFAN LINES 492 PASSENGER
o gauge pre war dorfan lines$58.95
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EARLY DORFAN 51 LOCO
early dorfan 51 loco$30.00
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TIN STATION DORFAN OR CHEIN PAINTED PREWAR O
tin station dorfan or chein$6.99
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VINTAGE DORFAN O SCALE TIN PLATE BOSTON
vintage dorfan o scale tin3 bid(s)$15.50
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Pre War Dorfan Lines 607 Caboose 0 Gauge
pre war dorfan lines 607$26.99
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Dorfan Indian Refining Company Tank Car 604
dorfan indian refining company2 bid(s)$11.50
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Dorfan New York Central Gondola 600
dorfan new york central2 bid(s)$11.50
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DORFAN 3931 CROCODILE RED IVORY IN GOOD
dorfan 3931 crocodile red$1,995.00
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Dorfan Union Pacific Boxcar 602 Drak Green
dorfan union pacific boxcar1 bid(s)$9.99
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Dorfan Prewar Pennsylvania Hopper car
dorfan prewar pennsylvania$59.99
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Dorfan New York Central Boxcar 601
dorfan new york central boxcar1 bid(s)$9.99
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DORFAN 51 O GAUGE ELECTRIC LOCO WITH TWO 5402
dorfan 51 o gauge electric$175.00
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Dorfan 355 Pullman
dorfan 355 pullman1 bid(s)$9.99
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1930 RARE DORFAN 425 STATION IN VERY GOOD
1930 rare dorfan 425 station$375.00
details  ►
Dorfan Union Pacific Boxcar 602 Light Green
dorfan union pacific boxcar1 bid(s)$9.99
details  ►
BOXED DORFAN PASSENGER SET 253
boxed dorfan passenger set 253$200.00
details  ►
Dorfan Pennsylvania Railroad PRR Boxcar 603
dorfan pennsylvania railroad1 bid(s)$9.99
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DORFAN 3930 STANDARD GAUGE 4 4 4 CROCODILE
dorfan 3930 standard gauge 4 4$1,050.00
details  ►
Dorfan 610 Derrick Crane Car
dorfan 610 derrick crane car2 bid(s)$16.50
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Dorfan 6 Wheel Tender
dorfan 6 wheel tender1 bid(s)$9.99
details  ►
1929 DORFAN 421 AUTOMATIC CROSSING GATE AND
1929 dorfan 421 automatic$395.00
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Vintage O Scale Dorfan Tin Plate Pullman Car
vintage o scale dorfan tin$29.00
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DORFAN 55 LOCO TENDER AND THREE CARS IN
dorfan 55 loco tender and$525.00
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O Gauge Dorfan Passenger Car
o gauge dorfan passenger car$34.95
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3 DORFAN PREWAR WIDE GAUGE BRIGHT GREEN
3 dorfan prewar wide gauge$399.95
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