4 comments

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

Questions, comments, or sweet memories?
Share on this Dorfan forum!


(will not be displayed)
yes, mail me the link to this page

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
►reply: 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.
►reply: I have updated this page with more info.

For sale on eBay USA. To change country, click on flag:
Change selection: <---
worldwide only USA
ebay New to eBay? Join here, it's free!
1925 DORFAN PRESSED TIN LITHO BAGGAGE STATION
1925 dorfan pressed tin lithoends in 8h$19.99
show  ►
Set of 6 Dorfan Freight Cars 0 Gauge
set of 6 dorfan freight cars 0$79.99
show  ►
DORFAN LINE VINTAGE CAST METAL TRAIN ENGINE
dorfan line vintage cast metal15 bid(s)ends in 18h$155.83
show  ►
Vintage Dorfan Lines 610 Crane 0 Gauge
vintage dorfan lines 610 crane$59.99
show  ►
DORFAN O GAUGE 8 WHEEL 610 CRANE DERRICK CAR
dorfan o gauge 8 wheel 6102 bid(s)$51.00
show  ►
Pre War Dorfan Train Lines 607 Caboose 0
pre war dorfan train lines 607$34.99
show  ►
PREWAR DORFAN WINDUP ENGINE 2 DORFAN LIGHTED
prewar dorfan windup engine 2$60.00
show  ►
Dorfan 211 O Gauge Freight Set Boxed 51
dorfan 211 o gauge freight set$340.00
show  ►
24 REPRO STD GA DORFAN FREIGHT WHEELS MEW
24 repro std ga dorfan freight$9.99
show  ►
1930 RARE DORFAN 425 STATION IN VERY GOOD
1930 rare dorfan 425 station$161.99
show  ►
Three Prewar Dorfan O Gauge Coaches Nice
three prewar dorfan o gauge1 bid(s)$40.00
show  ►
O Gauge Dorfan Passenger Car
o gauge dorfan passenger car$32.95
show  ►
Dorfan pre war standard gauge caboose
dorfan pre war standard gauge$119.95
show  ►
DORFAN 51 O GAUGE ELECTRIC LOCO TWO 5402
dorfan 51 o gauge electric$175.00
show  ►
Pre war standard gauge Dorfan tank car
pre war standard gauge dorfan$79.95
show  ►
O GAUGE PRE WAR DORFAN PULLMAN OBSERVATION
o gauge pre war dorfan pullman$9.95
show  ►
O GAUGE PRE WAR DORFAN LINES 494 PASSENGER
o gauge pre war dorfan lines1 bid(s)$20.00
show  ►
Antique Vintage Dorfan Automatic Block
antique vintage dorfan1 bid(s)$19.99
show  ►
Dorfan Prewar Pennsylvania Hopper car
dorfan prewar pennsylvania$50.99
show  ►
DORFAN TRAIN BRIDGE ACCESSORIES
dorfan train bridge1 bid(s)$4.99
show  ►
MTH 10 5039 Dorfan 4 Car Standard Gauge
mth 10 5039 dorfan 4 car$425.00
show  ►
Dorfan Freight Cars 10 Box Cars 3 Coal
dorfan freight cars 10 box$450.00
show  ►
O PRE WAR DORFAN UNION PACIFIC BOX CAR 126432
o pre war dorfan union pacific$18.95
show  ►
Pre war Lionel Dorfan O gauge bobber
pre war lionel dorfan o gauge$49.95
show  ►
Mth 10 1215 0 Dorfan 1134 Std Gauge Black
mth 10 1215 0 dorfan 1134 std$625.00
show  ►
DORFAN STANDARD GAUGE LITHOGRAPHED TAN GREEN
dorfan standard gauge$135.00
show  ►
O DORFAN IVES PRE WAR WIND UP 0 4 0 ELECTRIC
o dorfan ives pre war wind up$34.95
show  ►
Dorfan GIRDER BRIDGE Decal is rough Play
dorfan girder bridge decal is$12.00
show  ►