The Louis Marx company got its start as a toy manufacturer in 1919, and once they began working with Girard Model Works in 1929, Marx began producing model trains. Early Marx trains had whimsical designs, but the company began producing accurate designs made to scale by the 1940s.What materials did Marx use for their trains?
You can find locomotives, cars, and other railroad parts made of the following materials.
- Tin: Marx's earliest train designs were small tin cars and locomotives made with lithography methods. Marx quit using tin by 1972.
- Plastic: Starting in 1952, the company began experimenting with plastic in their designs. After 1973, the company exclusively made trains with plastic.
- Composite: When Marx was producing both metal and plastic trains, they occasionally made composite designs that included both metal and plastic. These were mostly made during the 1950s.
The gauge of a toy train refers to the distance between the two railroad tracks. It is important to be able to identify gauge because this regulates the type of trains that you can use on a certain set of tracks. Over the years, Louis Marx produced train sets in two different gauges.
- O Gauge: Almost all of the Marx toy trains were made with an O gauge. The space between these rails is 1.25 inches apart.
- HO Gauge: HO gauge is measured using the metric system and has rails spaced 16.5 millimeters apart. Their HO gauge trains were all made after 1957.
- Nonstandard: Marx trains made in Japan do not follow traditional gauge regulations, so you will need to find out the specific measurements of the item you’re considering to find the gauge on any individual product.
Marx trains and train sets were created in several distinct lines. The toy train collections from Louis Marx include the following sets.
- Joy line: This is the earliest toy train line made by the company. Joy locomotives are roughly 5 inches long and have four wheels.
- 6-inch line: Most of the Marx trains fall into this category of small trains that are modeled after real railroads. They were made between 1935 and 1972.
- 3/16 line: Made of both metal and plastic, these train sets were produced in the 1950s through 1970s. These models were made to appear as realistic as possible.
- HO scale line: These toy trains are roughly half the size of other Marx trains. They tend to have less detail than the 3/16 train sets.