A popular American manufacturer of toy trains founded in 1919 by brothers Louis and David Marx, which usually supplied the price niche below Lionel and American Flyer, making it popular with those who couldn't afford those brands.

Marx trains

Marx train production started in 1934 with the purchase of Joy Line trains. Marx toys is one of the most recognized, respected and popular names among today's antique toy collectors.

Louis Marx, was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1896. At the age of sixteen, Marx began working for F. J. Strauss Company, a toy manufacturer that produced items for Abraham & Strauss Department Stores. His energy and enthusiasm helped him to become a manager by the time he was twenty. In 1919, Marx had a falling out with Strauss. Deciding that it was time to venture out on his own, he established Louis Marx & Co., and set up office at 200 Fifth Avenue, in New York City. Marx started his company with virtually nothing. He had no money, machinery, products, patents, or customers, but what he lacked in resources, he more than made up for in seemingly endless Marx 'O' gauge M10000 Union Pacific Passenger Streamliner first made in 1934 energy and determination. He wasted no time and started contracting with manufacturers to produce toys that he designed.

His brother David decided to join him a couple of years later. Louis had the business, designing, and marketing skills, and David was the man behind the operations. The two of them together would grow to be the world's largest toy manufacturer. Marx boxes were imprinted with the slogan, 'One of the many Marx toys, have you all of them?' The Marx logo consisted of the letters 'MAR' in a circle with a large X through it, resembling a railroad crossing sign. Because of this, Marx toys are sometimes misidentified as 'Mar' toys.

Marx's toys included tinplate buildings, toy soldiers, toy dinosaurs, mechanical toys, toy guns, action figures, dolls, doll houses, toy cars, and after the acquisition of Joy Line, HO scale and 'O' scale toy trains. Marx's less-expensive toys were extremely common in dime stores, and its larger, costlier toys were staples for catalog retailers such as Sears and Montgomery Ward, especially around Christmas time. Marx 'O' gauge red Mercury clockwork Steam loco set lithographed tinplate circa 1939 Although the company is now largely forgotten except by toy collectors, several of its toys remain well known. Rock'em Sock'em Robots, introduced in the 1960's, remained popular for years and has been reintroduced by several different companies. Its last hurrah was the Big Wheel ride-on pedal toy, which was introduced in 1969 and became one of the most popular toys of the 1970's.

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Train parts: Marx train parts

Marx Train forum (2 comments)

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Jim Hester - December 10, 2013

I have a Marx train set. It will be 54 years old this Christmas. My train came with army men and it has a missle launcher on one car. The caboose has a spot light built on it. The coal car has Santa Fe on it. I estimate it was made aorund 1959. It does run and is in great shape. Thanks.
►reply: Great toy you have there Jim!

Johnnie - April 16, 2013

I have a 1955 Louis Marx Diesel Type Electrical Train Set with Remote Control. It is in its original box. The box has the post mark and the original postage stamps on it for 37 cents. There is a green card that says "This transformer is equipped with a built-in circuit breaker... (IS-136). The model #8975. How can I find out how much it is worth?
►reply: I have no idea, sorry, maybe this link can help: marx train set 8975

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