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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DORFAN BELL RINGING CROSSING SIGNAL ALSO FOR
dorfan bell ringing crossing1 bid(s)ends in 3h$25.00
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Dorfan 211 O Gauge Freight Set Boxed 51
dorfan 211 o gauge freight set$365.00
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O GAUGE PRE WAR DORFAN PULLMAN OBSERVATION
o gauge pre war dorfan pullman$9.95
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prewar Dorfan tinplate O gauge Crane car
prewar dorfan tinplate o gauge13 bid(s)ends in 4h$61.00
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DORFAN 3931 CROCODILE RED IVORY IN GOOD
dorfan 3931 crocodile red$1,995.00
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Dorfan O gauge box car green
dorfan o gauge box car green2 bid(s)ends in 4h$14.49
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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 O gauge hopper car
dorfan o gauge hopper car1 bid(s)ends in 4h$9.99
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O PRE WAR DORFAN UNION PACIFIC BOX CAR 126432
o pre war dorfan union pacific$18.95
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Prewar Dorfan tinplate O gauge gondola car
prewar dorfan tinplate o gaugeends in 4h$9.99
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TIN STATION DORFAN OR CHEIN PAINTED PREWAR O
tin station dorfan or chein$6.99
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Vintage O Scale Dorfan Tin Plate Pullman Car
vintage o scale dorfan tin$29.99
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O DORFAN IVES PRE WAR 0 4 0 ELECTRIC
o dorfan ives pre war 0 4 0$34.95
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DORFAN 1930 CONSUMER CATALOG REPRINT TWO
dorfan 1930 consumer catalog1 bid(s)$9.95
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O Gauge Dorfan Passenger Car
o gauge dorfan passenger car$34.95
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Dorfan 245 Gauge Electric Train Set with
dorfan 245 gauge electric6 bid(s)$355.00
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DORFAN 3930 STANDARD GAUGE 4 4 4 CROCODILE
dorfan 3930 standard gauge 4 4$1,050.00
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Dorfan New York Central Gondola 600
dorfan new york central$13.00
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O DORFAN IVES PRE WAR WIND UP 0 4 0 ELECTRIC
o dorfan ives pre war wind up$34.95
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Vintage O Scale Dorfan Tin Plate SEATTLE
vintage o scale dorfan tin$20.00
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Dorfan Prewar Pennsylvania Hopper car
dorfan prewar pennsylvania$50.99
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Set of 4 Dorfan Lines Cars 492 493 494
set of 4 dorfan lines cars 4922 bid(s)$31.00
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1930 RARE DORFAN 425 STATION IN VERY GOOD
1930 rare dorfan 425 station$375.00
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DORFAN 53 loco w 3 pass cars Trans Mtn
dorfan 53 loco w 3 pass cars5 bid(s)$76.00
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DORFAN 55 LOCO TENDER AND THREE CARS IN
dorfan 55 loco tender and$525.00
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Two Original Ads for Dorfan Trains 1928
two original ads for dorfan$9.99
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3 DORFAN PREWAR WIDE GAUGE BRIGHT GREEN
3 dorfan prewar wide gaugeends in 30 min.$399.95
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Pair of dorfan O gauge turnouts L R
pair of dorfan o gauge$5.99
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1929 DORFAN 421 AUTOMATIC CROSSING GATE AND
1929 dorfan 421 automatic$395.00
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DORFAN Locomotive Wind Up works
dorfan locomotive wind up$25.00
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NICE LOT OF 24 TRACK 15 STRAIGHT 9 CURVED
nice lot of 24 track 15$34.99
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1930 40 s DORFAN O GAUGE ELECTRIC TRAIN
1930 40 s dorfan o gauge$4.99
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