German toy company Bing was founded in 1863 by brothers Adolf and Ignaz Bing in Nuremberg.
At first the firm manufactured metal utensils, but by 1880 they began toy production. At the beginning of the 20th century, Bing was by far the biggest company, and their factory in Nuremberg the largest toy factory in the world.
Although Bing produced numerous toys, it is best remembered today for their trains.
Bing perfected the manufacturing of toys from lithographed steel sheets that were stamped out, formed to shapes, and then assembled using little tabs & slots. You can still see this method today.
Bing exported many of their toys which were sold abroad either under its own name or rebranded.
World War I forced the firm out of the export market at its peak. This was also due to the fact that in the US, the 'Toy Manufacturers Association' was founded in 1916 to protect their own toy industry which has grown significantly. Toys from Germany became more expensive due to import tax rise, inflation and shipping costs.
The financial situation became unbearable by 1927 and, because of the political situation in Germany, the Jewish Bing family fled to the UK.
Bing ceased production in 1933 and much of its equipment went to one of their competitors, Karl Bub.
How to recognize Bing toys? Toys with the letters "GBN" in a diamond were made before 1923, while toys bearing a sideways "B" next to a "W" (for "Bing Works") are from areouond 1924 to 1932.
The range of Bing steam engines included stationary engines, railway locomotives, road vehicles and boats. Steam engines were made throughout most the company's history. From the start they made stationary engines and mobile models. The stationary models were generic in outline, not really representative of particular prototypes. Mobile engines were more recognizable and the more expensive versions could almost be classed as scale models, albeit inaccurate. The Railway locomotive versions were often very similar in outline to their clockwork and electric models.