Fandor was a German toy company that specialized in toy trains,
particularly toys styled after American trains, to market in the US. It was founded in 1910 by Joseph Kraus and his cousins,
Milton and Julius Forcheimer, all from Nüremberg, Germany. The company name was derived from the names
of the founders' mothers, Dora and Fanny. The factory was located at 108 Austrasse. Production was mainly clockwork
trains with lithography in both 'O' gauge and 1 gauge. Electic powered locomotives were also manufactured. The company
manufactured primarily for export but also made trains for sale through German department stores.
Protective tariffs following World War I made it difficult for German firms to compete with
American toy companies in the United States. The Forcheimer brothers immigrated to the USA, taking one of
Fandor's chief engineers, John C. Koerber, with them. Koerber is credited with designing much
of the Fandor Line, as well as many early Bing items. Using funding from Joseph Kraus, they founded the U.S. company
Dorfan (also named after the founder's mothers) in 1924. Both Fandor and Dorfan worked closely together.
Evidence of this collaboration
is seen in the items that Fandor supplied to Dorfan. These include all large Dorfan
stations (#415, #417, #418, #425, #426, and #427), a large bridge,
and the six-wheel lithographed tender. Several Fandor passenger cars were used to bridge the gap
until Dorfan could start production of their own line. Both four, and eight wheel Fandor passenger cars were used.
There are noted similarities between other Fandor items and Dorfan items, like the 'O' gauge 4 wheel bobber style
caboose, and the 'O' gauge crane car. Fandor obviously shipped cabs, booms and other component parts
to Dorfan for assembly and use in the American brand line. Another way to identify Fandor cars sold as Dorfan, is by the black oxide finish
used on Fandor couplers. Another key indicator is Dorfan product stamped as 'Made in Germany'.
Fandor trains were made of pressed steel with highly detailed lithography and die work. Printing was always sharp,
and die-cuts were always in alignment. 8 wheel freight and
passenger cars were 6½ inches long. 8 inch, 8 wheel passenger cars were also made. 4 wheel passenger cars were 5½ inches
long. Clockwork locomotives featured colorful detailing, a brake mechanism with a control lever, and were adorned with brass plated
sand domes. Electric locomotives of the steam outline type used the same engine bodies as the mechanical locos.
Fandor Electric trains made in the early 1930's are well known by collectors but are not highly
valued. The main reason for this is that in 'O' gauge the volume of the trains looked well
balanced and scaled, but in the larger gauge 1 everything looked rather out of proportion. Fandor trains are hard to find
in the United States, as the years of import were only between 1910 and the beginning of the first World War. When they are
located in the US, it is typically the Fandor products that were included with the early Dorfan sets. Joseph Kraus
was Jewish, and in the years leading up to World War II his factory was declared 'non-aryan property' and was closed down.
Joseph Kraus eventually fled Nazi Germany in the mid 1930's, and emigrated to the United States. The company was taken
over in 1936 by Keim & Company and continued to produce trains until 1938. The Fandor factory was bombed during World War II
and it was never rebuilt. There have been some Post WWII Fandor sets discovered that were exported to Canada from Germany.
These later trains are identified by a circled "K" logo on the locomotives.