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Marx Tin Toys

Louis Marx & Co. was founded in 1919 by Louis and David Marx in Erie, Pennsylvania. Marx specialized in and became the dominant American manufacturer of tin toys that reflected the quality and design inspiration of their European counterparts. Tin plate toys were originally introduced in Germany around 1874, using tin plate mostly used in the manufacture of oil cans. In the years following World War I, Germany lost its position as the leading producer of tin toys for children, and they were overtaken by the Japanese who produced tin toys for a global export market.

With the founding of Louis Marx & Company in 1919 to produce tin plate wind up toys, an American company also sought to take advantage of this fundamental change in the global marketplace. At first, Marx mostly marketed toys from other factories overseas but they gradually built up U. S. production capacity.

During the years of World War II the Marx factories were recruited into the war effort and became an important supplier to the U. S. Military. Following the end of the European conflict in 1945, Louis Marx was named an industrial adviser to Germany by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. After the war, Marx returned to toy manufacturing and achieved a dominant position in the U. S. market during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1955 Louis Marx appeared on the December, 1955 cover of Time Magazine with the moniker "The Toy King!" As an early adopter of overseas manufacturing, Marx had established factories in 10 countries by 1964 and licensed others for export. Nevertheless, the Japanese were flooding the market with low cost, mass produced tin toys, and by the 1970s tin was being replaced by plastic and newer metal alloys. Marx' first plastic toys were very disappointing for their lack of durability, and they soon switched to a stronger variation polyethylene.

Quaker Oats bought the company in 1972 upon Louis Marx' retirement, and the company suffered. In 1978, the original Louis Marx & Co. ceased production. From www.collectics.com

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