Antique Louis Marx and Company Toys
Louis Marx was a toy company that was founded in 1919 by Louis and David Marx. Their basic philosophy of toy making was good value for the customer and prided themselves on making the highest quality toy. The majority of Marx toys were made of tin and they were well known for making toy soldiers, dinosaurs, toy guns and cars and model trains. The Marx brothers made their products available for all children by making toys cheap enough to be sold in dime stores, and then made more expensive toys that were sold in department stores.
The Marx brothers had an ingenious way of doing business. They seemed to have a sixth sense about which toys were going to become popular and were able to make them in a less expensive way. When a customer had the choice of a Marx toy versus one that was identical and pricier, Marx was usually the choice. Because of their business practices, the brothers became very wealthy in a short amount of time.
Unlike most other companies during the time of the Great Depression and World War II, Louis Marx and Company actually grew and by the 1950's were the largest toy manufacturer in the world. Even though they were smart businessmen, they were not very good marketers. With the advent of television, Marx's competitors were taking advantage of the new advertising medium, whereas Marx and Company did not. Sales gradually declined and in 1972 Marx toys was sold to Quaker Oats who also owned Fisher-Price. By 1978, the Marx brand had been sold again and with a downturn in the economy, their assets had to be liquidated.
The Marx brand of toys has essentially been forgotten, except by collectors, but some of their toys are very recognizable. Besides making O Scale and HO Scale electric trains, Marx is credited with popularizing the yo-yo in its early years. Rock'em Sock'em Robots were one of the most memorable toys manufactured by Marx. There were blue and red plastic robots standing on a platform that resembled a boxing ring. When the buttons were pressed on the attached joysticks, the robots would punch each other. Marx was also well known for the manufacturing of the Big Wheel plastic tricycle. The front wheel was larger than the back two wheels and the seat was close to the ground. Because they were made of plastic they were less expensive than traditional metal cycles.