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Märklin Trains

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Märklin handpainted 1 gauge Floor Pull Train Set Märklin (pronounced Maerklin) is a German toy company, founded by tin smith Theodor Friedrich Wilhelm Märklin (1817 - 1866) in 1859 in Göppingen, as a maker of household products. The company originally produced lacquered tinplate kitchen utilities and as a side business created smaller versions meant to be toys for little girls to use in their doll houses. Although the company originally specialized in doll house accessories, today Märklin is best known for its model railways and technical toys. In some parts of Germany, the company's name is almost synonymous with model railroads.

Märklin Tinplate Handpainted Floor Train Set circa 1880

Märklin 1 gauge clockwork Passenger Train Set circa 1905 Göppingen is a city located in the German state of Württemberg. This is where Theodor Friedrich Wilhelm Märklin had worked and resided starting in 1840. Theodor Märklin married his second wife Caroline Hettich shortly thereafter. Caroline took on an important role in the operation of the business. She became a traveling representative and salesperson for the company while Friedrich Wilhelm designed and built the toys they sold. Caroline frequently traveled throughout southern Germany and Switzerland and generated a large enough volume of orders that after only a short while after its establishment, the company relocated to larger facilities. This new location had a trapdoor situated in the floor that provided access to the basement where the toys were being produced. One evening an apprentice failed to properly shut and fasten the trapdoor. Unfortunately, Wilhelm Märklin failed to notice the unsecured hatch and tumbled into the basement. He sustained broken ribs and other injuries. He subsequently passed away within a few days as a result of these injuries. This accidental death of the company founder on December 20, 1866 was a terrible set back. The devotion, persistence, and resoluteness of Märklin's widow Caroline kept the firm in operation during the next 20 years. Theodor Märklin and Caroline's marriage had produced 3 sons named Wilhem Friedrich, Carl Eugen and Carl Adolf. Caroline also had a young daughter from a previous marriage. Having 4 young children, the youngest of which was only 6 months old, made for a very difficult time for Caroline. Despite these burdens and set backs, she undertook the tremendous task as salesperson to continue to promote and market the company's products to toy-shops all over the country. Eventually, Eugen Märklin and his brother Carl took over the operations of the company in 1888 and incorporated it into a larger unlimited business. In 1891, the Märklin firm took over the Ludwig Lutz tinplate toy company based in Ellwangen. The acquisition enabled the ability to manufacture mechanical items such as toy boats and toy trains. From 1892 onwards, the firm was known as Märklin Bros. & Co. Around this time Emil Friz of Plochingen was added as a joint owner. Caroline Märklin passed away in 1893.

Märklin 'O' gauge passenger set made for export to American Market with clockwork 0-4-0 locomotive circa 1900

Märklin 1 gauge clockwork #1021 0-4-0 brass prototype B-steam outline locomotive and 2-axle tender The first toy trains produced by Märklin were floor runners. In the late 1800's, the only way to move toy trains was either by pushing them around the floor by hand, or by pulling them around via a string attached to a front buffer. Märklin released its first wind-up mechanical powered train with cars that ran on expandable track in 1891, noting that railroad toys had the potential to follow the common practice of doll houses, in which the initial purchase would be enhanced and expanded by consumers over time with additional purchases of more items and accessories for years after that. To this end, Märklin offered additional rolling stock and track with which to expand its boxed train sets. This marketing concept developed into the first 'system-railroad' and lead the way for many other toy makers operating in Germany during this period to jump in and emulate. In the beginning, the Märklin catalogs were made by extensive handwork. All of the models were drawn in color using the tempera painting technique, they were cut out, and then they were glued in place on the catalog page. The first Märklin catalog was printed in 1895 in which the items were shown as copperplate etchings. The text was printed in a black/white letterpress process.

Märklin 1 gauge Early Freight Cars
Märklin 1 gauge Planewagen #1810 covered wagon Märklin 1 gauge gedeckter Güterwagen, covered freight car Märklin 1 gauge Kipplore #1811 Märklin 1 gauge Münchner Kindl Bierwagen #1907 Märklin 1 gauge Gasröhrenwagen gas tubes flat Märklin 1 gauge #1808 Munich Kindl beer wagon
Märklin #1 gauge #1820 brake car circa 1897 Märklin #1 gauge #1809, small animal car, circa 1898 - 1900 Märklin #1 gauge #1826 Vintage Tank-Tar Wagon with Brakeman's House Märklin #1 gauge offener Güterwagen, open wagon Märklin #1 gauge open freight wagon with brakeman's house, circa 1910 Märklin #1 gauge #1812 petroleum car

Märklin 'O' gauge A-1 Steam locomotive with 2A tender 1020, clockwork Having the ability to include spring driven mechanical motors in these early toys was a great step forward. Märklin developed its expertise in the field of clockwork motors in the 19th century. The springs employed in Märklin’s clockwork motors had a good reputation for their proficiency in enabling a toy train to circumnavigate a circle of track for several iterations. It did require a volume of human energy to wind the mechanical motor sufficiently in order to facilitate a longer running time, as these toy trains typically would expend and unwind the spring after a brief duration.

Märklin 2 gauge 4-4-2 Loco, 6-wheel Tender, 1st class and 2nd class 4-wheel tinplate passenger coaches

Märklin 2 gauge AD 1022 0-4-2 clockwork driven steam loco and 4 wheel tender made in the 1920's for the American market Originally all model toy trains were made in gauge 1. Gauge 1 track measures 1.75 inches (44.45 mm) in width, making it larger than 'O' gauge but slightly smaller than wide gauge. In the late 1890's other gauges came into production. These gauges also became popular with the other train manufacturers of the era, which allowed trains of different makers to run on the same tracks. A look in an early 1900's catalogue shows a very large range of products available, with a lot of items to decorate the displays of stations and railroads. In the years before 1914, there was a short period where the larger gauges 2 and 3 were popular, but after the first world war hardly any of these very large items were made.

Märklin 1 Gauge 4-4-2 1021CE Loco & Tender circa 1904 Märklin is responsible for the creation of virtually every popular model railroad gauge or scale, with only noteworthy exceptions being N scale and Wide gauge. In 1891, Märklin defined gauges 1-5 as standards for toy trains and presented them at the Leipzig Toy Fair. They soon became international standards. Märklin followed with 'O' gauge (by some accounts as early as 1895 or as late as 1901), HO scale in 1935, and the diminutive 'Z' scale in 1972 — this is the smallest commercially available scale, 1:220.

Märklin 2 gauge 4-4-0 steam loco with 4-wheel tender, baggage and Keyser hand enameled cars with interiors

Märklin 4-4-0 Live Steam loco & tender in gauge 1 By 1895 Märklin trains had become extremely popular and the business grew rapidly. The demand dictated that the production facilities be expanded again and a move was made to larger facilities located at Marktgasse 21. During these early years of manufacturing, Märklin toys found their way across the globe, and became renowned for their high degree of craftsmanship. Between their original foray into offering track based model railways in the 1890's to the arrival of what is referred to as Märklin's 'Golden Age' during the 1930's, the firm produced a vast range of model locomotives powered by steam power, clockwork mechanisms and electric motors. The majority of these model trains were produced under Märklin's own brand name and were 'Continental' designs of German steam Märklin Great Bear Steam loco & tender in gauge 1 locomotives (usually in matte black paint) or Swiss pantograph electric locos and various railcars. The Märklin catalogs were being produced in a three-language edition, allowing the firm to provide catalogs to all of the German, French, and English-speaking dealers. The Märklin trains from this era were almost completely hand made and hand painted. The attention to the smallest details was not overlooked. Passenger car roofs were hinged so that they could be opened up to view the fully outfitted interiors that included scale sized passengers. The dining cars even had faux-painted marble on the tables. Stations showed the same level of detail with restaurants, news stands, and glass-covered passenger platforms just like the real stations.

Märklin 3 gauge live steam passenger set circa 1908

Märklin early tinplate 4 wheel baggage car and coaches in gauge 1 It is reported that Märklin began to sell electric powered trains as early as 1895. During this era, only a handful of cities across the European continent had electric power distribution to homes. It was however available in Göppingen where Märklin manufactured its toy trains. These trains operated on 50 volts of electricity supplied from a 220 volt main that was reduced by means of lightbulbs placed in series with the primary circuit, or they could also be operated by using 4V DC batteries. The form of motive power that was most heavily being leveraged by Märklin in the early years was live-steam. Live-steam engines could be found in many Märklin products including 1 gauge and 'O' gauge locomotives, ships, stationary steam plants (which generated electricity to power lamps and accessories), and rolling tractors. The majority of these live-steam spirit fired items utilized alcohol burners to heat a water filled boiler tank. The heated burner in combination with pressurized hot steam were somewhat of a hazard when implemented on toys that children would play with. The live-steam products sold by Märklin were packaged in wooden boxes and typically included the instruments necessary to operate the steam engine, such as a miniature bucket for filling the water tank, a funnel for discharging the water and alcohol into the reservoirs, and multiple wrenches for adjusting pressure valves.

Märklin Gauge 3 train package with Spirit steam locomotive and tender, French dining car, French sleeping car
Märklin 2 gauge F&E spirit-fired live-steam 4-4-0 loco and passenger consist
Märklin Speiswagen #1842 in 1 gauge Märklin Schlafwagen #1843 in 1 gauge Märklin 1 gauge #1844 mail/luggage van circa early 1900's, hand decorated, tin soldered, with opening doors and hinged roof Märklin 'O' gauge 0-4-0 live steam loco & tender circa 1905

Märklin gauge 1 First Aid car In 1900 the company again moved to a larger 6,000 square foot factory located in Stuttgarter Strasse. Additional investment capital was required to facilitate the expansion. Around this time Märklin introduced 3-rail tubular track for their line of electrically powered trains. Early Märklin trains from this period typically feature the letters 'MC' on them, which stands for Märklin Company. In 1907 Richard Safft was brought in as a partner to the company. Safft's command of other languages helped greatly in establishing export of products to other countries. From 1908 they traded under the name 'Märklin Bros. & Cie'. Märklin was now producing a wide assortment of metal toys, including steam ship models powered by clockwork mechanisms or real steam engines, spirit-fired steam engines, working miniature stoves, clockwork driven automobiles that could be taken apart and refitted with other body shells, slot-car systems with electric motors, tops, and die-cast automobiles.

Märklin 1 gauge American Cattle wagon #1871 PRR Märklin 1 gauge goods horse transport wagon #1872 Märklin 1 gauge tarpaulin wagon #1910

Märklin Charles Dickens clockwork loco & tender in gauge 1 Between 1903 and 1907 Märklin produced a 1 gauge black electric 110V model of the then famous LNWR Charles Dickens 2-4-0 locomotive, running number 955. This may have been the world's first commercially-produced electric model of an English-design locomotive. The model has the distinction of being the only electric model locomotive in the entire 1904 Bassett-Lowke catalogue, which means that it was probably the first English-outline electric model loco to be marketed in the UK. Märklin made versions of this loco in both 1 gauge and 2 gauge, powered by clockwork mechanisms and electric motors. The electric motor had a triple armature and carbon brushes. It worked on the 3rd-rail principle, where the contact was made by means of a patented spring connection.

Märklin 1 gauge #1818 Flatbed Wagon with #1878 Circus Oriental Wagon Märklin 1 gauge #1818 Flatbed wagon with #1879 Hagenbecks Menagerie Goods Wagon Märklin 1 gauge #1818 Flatbed wagon with #1877 Internationale Mobel Transport Gessellschaft - G.M. & C. No. 22

Märklin was one of the first toy companies to demonstrate the advantages of piggybacking. Between 1903 and 1914 Märklin produced a series of very colorful hand painted goods wagons in 'O', 1, 2 and 3 gauge. The early Circus Oriental, Hagenbeck's Menagerie and furniture van cars consisted of a low sided 4-axle #1818 wagon with fold down side walls carrying three different loads of 2-axle horse drawn type wagons. These were the #1879 Menagerie Transportwagen, #1878 Circus wagon, and the #1877 International Möbel Transport Furniture wagon. Along with these wagon- carrying cars they also produced early automobiles and collapsible airplane loads carried on railroad gondolas or flat cars. These types of train cars provided the child or operator with additional play value above and beyond operation of the trains themselves and helped to greatly increase sales. On October 6, 1909 Märklin received a patent for its coupling design that was developed in the early 1900's. The patented design provided a simple yet dependable method for uncoupling and coupling cars and locomotives. It featured a unique tongue and slot mechanism combined with a small cross-pin which soundly joined two couplings together. This new design was utilized by Märklin to replace their original loop-type coupling mechanisms and remained as the standard for all 'O' gauge trains.

Märklin #1 gauge cement wagon #1919 Märklin 1 gauge platform car 1766, HL, with 2 tin cars Märklin 1 gauge crane derrick car #1851 circa 1930-50 Märklin 1 gauge Swiss open freight wagon #1917 high side gondola with brakeman's hut circa 1920's
Märklin #1 gauge platform of Kipplore, HL, loaded with Solido tank Märklin #1 gauge Weinwagen #1940 Märklin #1 gauge acid wagon #1990 with Brakeman's House and 3 acid tanks Märklin 1 gauge Gargoyle tank car #1994, HL, with Brakeman's House
Märklin #1 gauge #1793 refrigerator car Märklin 1 gauge #1992 banana cart Märklin 1 gauge #1988 Schultheiss Patzenhofer Bierwagen Märklin 1 gauge auto transport circa 1910

Märklin 'O' gauge Live-steam L.N.W.R. 4-4-0 'George The Fifth' Locomotive & Tender For Märklin, during the period referred to as the Golden Age, their products were well in demand by a multitude of international importers. Märklin was quick to answer the demand. The company delivered its products in quantity, while also customizing certain items for particular outlets and regions. They focused on creating model trains of popular prototypes of the period. For the British market, handsomely painted trains of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (L.M.S), London North Eastern Railway (L.N.E.R), Great North Western Railway (G.N.W.R.), North British Railways (N.B.R.), Midland Railway (M.R.), Southern Railway (S.R.), London & South Western Railway (L.&S.W.R.) and the London and North Western Railway (L.&N.W.R.) along with ornate stations and platforms of all gauges were delivered through distributors such as Gamages and W. Seeling of London.

Märklin Trains for the British Market
Märklin 'O' gauge for Gamages Clockwork #326 Queen Mary Locomotive and Tender B64-15 Märklin 'O' gauge clockwork L.&N.W.R. 4-6-2 Bowen Cooke Tank Locomotive Märklin 'O' gauge clockwork 0-6-4 Midland Railway Maroon Flatiron Tank Locomotive #2000 Märklin 'O' gauge (English Mkt) clockwork L.N.E.R. 0-4-0 Tank Loco
Märklin 'O' gauge 4-6-0 L.M.S. Jubilee Class Mogul Märklin 'O' gauge #1020 Clockwork LNER Atlantic 4-4-2 loco Märklin L.M.S. 4-4-0 electric loco & tender in 'O' gauge, made for the British market
Märklin 'O' gauge clockwork LNWR 'Experiment' 4-6-0 Locomotive and Tender, in LNWR red-lined black livery Märklin 'O' gauge clockwork #1020 4-4-2 Atlantic steam outline locomotive and North British Railway tender circa 1910 Märklin 'O' gauge clockwork TK 1020 Pre-War LMS 4-6-2 Tank

Märklin for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Short Precursor 4-4-0 Tank Loco L.M.S. black, 3-rail Electric Bassett-Lowke by Märklin 'O' gauge 4-4-2 LNWR Tank Loco No.44 3-rail Electric Märklin also produced a range of British-design locomotive models for sale in the UK by Bassett-Lowke Ltd., which were sold as B-L pieces. As well as supplying Bassett-Lowke with Continental-outline locos, Märklin produced four locomotive designs specifically for Bassett-Lowke in the 1930's. These were a SR Merchant Taylors Schools-Class 4-4-0 locomotive, an LMS 5573 Newfoundland 5XP Jubilee-Class 4-6-0 locomotive, a GWR 6000 King George V 4-6-0 locomotive, and an LMS 2-6-4 Stanier Tank locomotive. Märklin was chosen by Meccano Ltd. to supply clockwork motors for their construction sets in around 1914 and up until World War 1 intervened.

Märklin for Bassett-Lowke
Märklin 'O' gauge for Bassett-Lowke L.M.S. 2-6-4 Tank Locomotive 3-rail Electric Bassett-Lowke Märklin bodied 'O' gauge Impregnable 12 volt DC Electric 4-6-0 5XP Loco and Tender in L.M.S. Maroon livery Bassett-Lowke Märklin bodied 'O' gauge Merchant Taylors 12 volt DC Electric Southern 4-4-0 Schools Class Loco and Tender

In the early 1900's Märklin achieved considerable success importing their line of tinplate trains to the growing American market of toy buyers. With the creative use of rubber stamps and decals applied to hand painted and assembled car bodies, Märklin produced a large range of road names recognizable by most segments of America like N. Y. Central, P.R.R., C.P.R.R., N.P.R.R., U.P.R.R., Limited Vestibule Express, Twentieth Century Limited, Congressional Limited, Royal Blue Limited and Pullman among them.

Märklin 2 gauge American Market Congressional Limited passenger set

Märklin's early 'O' gauge production from 1900 to the 1920's exported to the American market featured English lettering, cowcatchers, bells, tunnel lights, and paint schemes commonly found on U.S. railroads. However, these exported trains were typically German outline locomotive models. As the Golden Age dawned in the 1930's, Märklin realized Märklin 1 gauge American Market #2955 Pennsylvania caboose circa 1901-1915 the potential of the American market and in seeking to compete with its rival, Lionel, produced a series of special locomotives that were not just modified varieties of German outline locomotives, but were American models. A line of passenger cars for the American market was created in 1910, and then a line of freight cars followed. Märklin produced 8-wheel Pabst, Schlitz and Budweiser refrigerator cars, generic freights with rubber stamped American road names and a four-wheel P.R.R bobber caboose. In order to keep pace with their American toy making competition, by 1912, Märklin was developing a new line of American freight cars that were longer, better proportioned cars built on queen-post frames with more prototypical 8-wheel trucks. This included box cars, reefers, a tank car, 2-bay hopper car, gondola, coke car, flat car and caboose. Most were hand painted, but several were also lithographed. Important dealers for the American market in the 1930's included Richard Märklin and Bruce Hastie.

Märklin #2000F Railway Station made from 1920 to 1929 Märklin Pre-war 1 ga Central Train Station #2041 As the business further evolved, the Märklin family continued to expand, and stay involved with running it. Of Eugen Märklin's 9 children, eventually his son Fritz took over the business, and his son Richard became head of the company’s branch located in the United States. Another son, Willy, took over running the firm after Fritz. Willy's son, Claudius Märklin, eventually became editor of the Märklin Magazine. In 1911 a six-story, 110 meter-long company headquarters was built along the Stuttgarter Strasse. Today it is still one of Göppingen's most imposing buildings. Along with its beautiful hand painted toy trains, Märklin produced trackside structures and accessories with the same amount of detail and style. They became very well known for their intricate railroad stations made of tin. Most hand-painted Märklin stations were available in a number of different nationalities, adorned with flags and names chosen by trade buyers prior to placing an order. Early stations were designed to hold a candle for interior illumination. Later models used the same miniature light bulbs that the trains employed. Station buildings had much detail, including interiors with booking halls, seating, waiting areas, ticket booths, telegraph offices, news stands and restaurants. Exteriors were detailed and adorned with canopied waiting platforms, archways, footbridges, and signals.

Märklin 1 gauge French station, #202, circa 1909 Märklin Central Train Station, circa 1898 Märklin 1 or 2 gauge Südbahnhof (South Station)

Märklin 1 gauge locomotive shed circa 1910 Märklin waiting platform accessory with 2 ticket booths By 1914 the number of employees had risen to 600. The outbreak of World War I presented a situation for Märklin, similar to its competetion, as a challenging period. Many of the specialist staff were called up to serve in the military, and only a few returned. Production was forced to switch to 'wartime articles' and the firm's spectacular growth, particularly in the export field, was brought to an abrupt halt. Suddenly access to foreign markets was cut and there was no customer base for part of the products which had been custom manufactured to the requirements of the target countries. The factory and Märklin’s business remained relatively intact during both World Wars despite considerable losses of employees to the war effort and a temporary shift in production to war materials. The stamping machines at the Märklin factory were converted to produce shell casings, belt buckles, and an assortment of military items during World War I.

Märklin 1 gauge #1749 Rheingold coach Märklin 1 gauge #1888 Mitropa Speisewagen Märklin 1 gauge #2873 LNWR 1st class English Passenger coach Märklin 1 gauge #2874 LNWR English Luggage van

Märklin 1 gauge FE 4-4-0 locomotive and tender Faced with this predicament it proved a boon that - in contrast to other toy manufacturers - the firm had not neglected the home market and thus survived the difficult post-war era relatively well. Even so, various changes of course proved necessary after 1920 in both the business and the technical fields. The switch from an unlimited trading company to a limited liability company - originally planned for tax purposes - was deemed a necessity after the death of Emil Friz in 1922. It was not until four years later that his son-in-law, Max Scheerer, became the firm's third managing director. In 1923 Eugen Märklin's son Fritz joined the company, and in 1935 took over his father's position when the latter retired after 50 years.

Märklin 1 gauge 8-wheel Freight Cars Circa 1900's-20's

Märklin Kesselwagen San Diego & Arizona Tank car in gauge 1 circa 1920's Märklin 1 gauge Hochbordwagen #2930 high side wagon for American Market circa 1920's Märklin 1 gauge American market covered goods wagon N.Y.C & H.R. #2926 circa 1920's
Märklin 1 gauge aircraft transport car circa 1920's Märklin 1 gauge #424 Heinz Ketchup 57 Varieties Box car circa 1908 Märklin 1 gauge stake car #2933 circa 1920's
Märklin 1 gauge #1926 box car circa 1920's Märklin 1 gauge #1954 Shell tank car circa 1920's Märklin 1 gauge #1954 Standard Motor Oil tank car circa 1920's
Märklin 1 gauge #1955 Tiefladewagen low loader wagon Märklin 1 gauge #2929 American Market L.S. & M.S NYC 2-bay hopper Märklin 1 gauge #2932 American Market P.R.R. Stake car

Märklin 1 gauge Gotthard 64/13021 circa 1920's In 1920 Märklin introduced its 'O' gauge model of the Gotthard Be 4/6 110-volt electric outline locomotive for 3-rail track as catalog number S 64/3020. The model was adorned with 3 operating electric lamps in front, and also featured both hand lever and remote reversing capabilities and 2 overhead pantographs. This loco was modeled after 4 prototypes commissioned by the Schweizerischen Bundesbahnen (Swiss Federal Railways) (SBB) in June 1917 to run passenger service on the Gotthardbahn (Gotthard railway) Swiss trans-alpine railway line from northern Switzerland to the canton of Ticino in Italy. The main line is the second highest standard railway in Switzerland, crossing the Alps by means of the Gotthard Tunnel at 1,151 metres (3,776 ft) above sea level. The Märklin Gotthard model measured 30 cm long and remained in production until 1926 when two more new Gotthard designs were introduced to the market. One was an 'O' gauge version as catalog number S 64/13020 and one was a 1 gauge version as S 64/13021. The new 'O' gauge model measured 25.6 cm long and the new 1 gauge model measured 44 cm long. These versions of the Gotthard locomotive remained in the catalogs through 1928. All of these models utilized the 64/ Fernschaltung (Märklin remote reversing system of the 1920's) numbering classification. Over time, Märklin would change the number classifications to match the developments and evolution of their Fernschaltung systems which would become 65/ 66/ 67/ and eventually 70/. HS 65/13021 20-volt versions of the Märklin Gotthard Be 4/6 appeared in catalogs through 1931 in brown, then starting in 1932 the color was changed to green.

Märklin gauge 1 4-4-0 steam loco & tender circa 1920's Märklin gauge 1 electric 4-4-0 steam engine and #1041 tender

Märklin 1 gauge 2-C-1 PLM live-steam locomotive H 4021, with 4A tender, Spiritusbetrieben circa 1925 In 1921 Märklin issued the highly detailed 1 gauge H 4021 PLM 2-C-1 live-steam spirit fired locomotive with 4A 8-wheeled tender. It featured a brass boiler, helmet lamps, sprung buffers, and was hand painted. The loco and tender measured 29" in length and it was fitted with a fire tube so that the flame ran through the whole boiler to the chimney. This feature provided the generation of intense interior heat and the results were extra power for the engine. It also prevented the burner flames from discoloring the outside of the boiler finish. The H 4021 was offered in black, gray or green lacquer with clear varnish. Early versions were fitted with red painted drivers and wheels. This locomotive was targeted towards the French market. Märklin touted the fact that steam powered locomotives could run for a much longer period of time than clockwork powered locomotives, even if they had the best mechanisms with highly tempered springs.

Märklin #1 gauge #2875 LNER 1st & 3rd Class English Compartment car Märklin #1 gauge lithographed baggage and coach lettered for GNR railway
Märklin #1 gauge Midland Railway 1st & 3rd Class Clemettory coaches Märklin #1 gauge LNWR 1st & 3rd Class Passenger Coach #1153

Märklin 'O' gauge 2-B-1 E-loc CS 70 12920 The 50 volt electric system used in Märklin's electric powered trains, called 'Starkstrom' was prohibited by the German government in 1926. At that time low voltage transformers had become feasible and a less dangerous 20 volt system became the main power for 'O' and eventually 'OO' gauges, from 1926 on. Advertisements for Märklin trains from the 1920's and 1930's touted the ease-of-use and safety of employing electric current for powering toy trains as being much safer than the spirit fired live-steam powered systems. In the 1920's Märklin also used a unique system that leveraged compressed air to operate signals and switches by means of thin rubber hoses.

From 1921 on, numbered consumer catalogs appeared regularly until the war years of 1941 to 1946. The title pages were already being printed in color then. Starting in 1929 the inside pages were also done in color, the first catalog to be printed completely in color being #12 in 1935.

Prewar Märklin 'O' gauge Stephenson #329 clockwork tank locomotive circa 1925 From 1925 to 1930 Märklin produced a green, clockwork, gauge 1 model of the Southern Railway's Stephenson 4-6-4 Baltic tank locomotive, running #329, catalog #TK1021. In the UK, A.W. Gamage's carried this model. The Stephenson prototype was named in honor of George Stephenson, the famous builder of The Rocket. The Märklin Stephenson tank locomotive model was not a huge success. It was also eventually produced in 'O' gauge as TK1020. The proportions of the smaller 'O' gauge version were a little cruder than the increasingly sophisticated 1925 market was coming to expect from major manufacturers, and its large cylinders were notably out of scale. The Gauge 1 version was able to be much better-proportioned, but was serving a shrinking market as 'O' gauge was becoming more widespread. Since the loco was designed for the UK market, lack of UK sales put Märklin in an awkward position, and stocks ended up being cleared through third-party sellers without Märklin's name appearing in the advertising – for instance, both gauge versions of the Stephenson tank loco model appear in the Bond's of Euston Road 1932-33 catalogue, without obvious Märklin identification, but with the standard Märklin catalogue numbers.

Märklin 'O' gauge 0-4-0 E66/12920 electric loco & & es929 tender pre-World War II era 1931-33 In 1927, when the 20 Volt electric system became available, the evolution of electric trains could really take off, and Märklin became the number 1 maker of toy trains in Europe. They used the German Reichsbahn (German State Railroad) founded in 1920 as inspiration for the design of its locomotives and rolling stock, and also the whole field of accessories. Märklin's "Reichsbahn era" between 1927 and 1939 brought a whole fresh impetus. By 1929 the number of employees had risen to 900. In 1933 a key competitor, Bing had ceased toy production, automatically making Märklin the market leader as the Nuremberg company of Karl Bub - with its cheap mass production - was not seen as a serious competitor. Trains in gauge 1 were produced until 1935, when the smaller 'OO' came on the market. This gauge later became the modern HO. The pinnacle of 1 gauge production for Märklin came with the release of its Crocodile electric locomotive in 1933. However, 'O' gauge became the more popular gauge during the 1930's, and Märklin decided to abandon production in 1 gauge at that time.

Prewar Märklin 'O' gauge Rolling Stock
Prewar Märklin 'O' gauge #1691 box car Prewar Märklin 'O' gauge Platform Wagon with 3 Barrels #1999 Prewar Märklin 'O' gauge #1781 box car Prewar Märklin 'O' gauge Cable Reel Wagon #1957
Märklin 'O' gauge Braunkohlestaubwagen #1775 coal dust car Märklin 'O' gauge stake car #1937 Märklin 'O' gauge Fyffes banana wagon #1682 Märklin 'O' gauge ski-car #1985
Märklin 'O' gauge Milchtransportwagen #1777 milk transport Märklin 'O' gauge GN Brown Mineral Wagon #2881 Märklin 'O' gauge Gambrinus Bier Van #388 beer wagon from 1937 Märklin 'O' gauge refrigerator car #1987
Märklin 'O' gauge #1794 Seefischewagen Märklin 'O' gauge Bierwagen Münchner Kindl Spur 0, circa 1930's Märklin 'O' gauge #1997 Mineralwasserwagen Märklin 'O' gauge searchlight car #1959
Märklin 'O' gauge #1674 Standard Esso Tank car Märklin 'O' gauge #1774 BV ARAL Tank Wagon Märklin 'O' gauge Shell tank wagon #1994 Märklin 'O' gauge Esso tank car #1774
Märklin 'O' gauge Bananenwagen #1992 Märklin 'O' gauge auto carrier Märklin 'O' gauge Planewagen #1939 Märklin 'O' gauge platform car #1770, ÜL, loaded with Rio Führer-Mercedes
Märklin #1961G 'O' gauge lumber flat cars Märklin 'O' gauge Kranwagen #1668 Märklin 'O' gauge #1968 Löwenbräu beer wagon

Märklin received German patent #593 107 in 1934 for its electronic switch track design which allowed for remote track switching by way of a push button. The device utilized a lever mechanism over a fulcrum point so that a small electromagnet, when energized, could switch the heavy metal tracks.

Prewar Märklin 'O' gauge 20-volt electric box cab 0-4-0 locomotive RV 66/12920 circa 1930's Prewar Märklin 'O' gauge Clockwork 0-4-0 Pantograph Locomotive RV890 circa 1930's Prewar Märklin 'O' gauge 2-C-2 Tenderloc Tank Locomotive TK 70/12920, 20-volt electric circa 1930's Prewar Märklin 'O' gauge Triebwagen RP 930 circa 1930's

Märklin Pre-war 'O' Gauge Tinplate Stuttgart Railway Station In the 1930's Märklin introduced a vast array of new 'O' gauge train models that would keep consumers interested in collecting and buying. During this period, the Deutsche Reichsbahn German railways, in its attempts to enable faster travel by D-Zug (Express trains), developed and introduced several prototypes of novel trains, and these attempts provided Märklin with the basis for many of its new products. There was even an attempt in 1931 by the DR to put an airship on the tracks called the Schienenzeppelin (rail zeppelin). This experiment failed but led to the development of the diesel powered Fliegende Züge, or what is better known as the Flying Hamburger. These multiple unit railcars achieved a top speed of 160 km/h and brought German cities closer together. Märklin's 'O' gauge rail cars included a clockwork powered version of the Flying Hamburger and a single TWE 930 4-wheeler. The DR also commissioned fast trains with electric and steam traction. The 1936 Märklin catalog featured a beautiful streamlined version of the German railways 2-C-1 steam powered locomotive with its shrouded tender finished in a reddish-brown. The Märklin SLH 70/19290 loco and tender measured 20¾ inches in length. The prototype was built by the locomotive factory Friedrich Krupp AG in Essen and could reach a top speed of 120 km/h. Märklin even catalogued an 'O' scale electric model of the New York Central Railway's Commodore Vanderbilt 4-6-4 streamlined Hudson locomotive during this period (AK 70/12920).

Märklin Pre-war 1 gauge 20 volt electric Schienenzeppelin rail zeppelin SZ 12971 Märklin Pre-war 'O' gauge TW 970 Flying Hamburger clockwork railcars circa 1930's Märklin Pre-war 'O' gauge Clockwork TWE 930 Rail Car circa 1930's Märklin Pre-war 'O' gauge 2-C-1 streamlined locomotive SLH 70/12920, with 4A tender, 20 volt electric circa 1936 Märklin Pre-war 'O' gauge AK 70/12920 New York Central Commodore Vanderbilt Streamliner Loco 20 volt electric circa 1936 Märklin Pre-war 'O' gauge New York Central AHR 66/13020 NYC Hudson loco 20 volt electric circa 193o's

In the mid-1930’s Märklin pushed tinplate train construction to its zenith with their 'O' gauge #1941 series of passenger cars commonly referred to as the 40 cm coaches. Märklin produced nine different passenger, baggage, and postal wagons in their #1941 series in Deutsche Reichsbahn (DRG) green, Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL) blue, and MITROPA burgundy-red liveries. Five cars with Swiss SBB markings were also produced. The cars were actually catalogued as #1941 Personenwagen (passenger coach), #1942 Speisewagen (dining car), #1943 Schlafwagen (sleeping carriage), #1944 Gepäckwagen (baggage car) and #1945 Postzug (post office car). Features on these cars included doors that opened and optional detailed interior fittings and lights were available. Cars that came with interiors had the letter 'G' denoted on its box, appended to the model number. The #1944 was offered with a whistle inside. These cars typically were sold in sets, accompanied by premium 'O' scale locomotives such as the 2-C-1 HR66 12920 loco from 1932 and its later version the HR70 12920. In 1936 Märklin catalogued the #1941 series coaches in sets headed by the HR700 loco. Production of these coaches was halted during World War II, but started up again after the war. Pre-war 40 cm cars can be distinguished from the post-war versions by the yellow lettering that appears on the black frames of the cars. The post-war versions did not have the yellow lettering. Today these Märklin wagons are highly sought after and draw steep prices in auctions.

Märklin 'O' gauge pre-war International Express Personenwagen 1941/0 made 1934-39 Märklin 'O' gauge pre-war 1944/0 DRG 40 cm baggage car circa 1930's Märklin 'O' gauge pre-war 1945/0 DRG 40 cm postal car circa 1930's Märklin 'O' gauge pre-war 1942/0 CIWL Wagon LITS 40 cm dining car circa 1930's Märklin 'O' gauge pre-war 40 cm CIWL 1943/0 Schlafwagen sleeping car circa 1930's Märklin 'O' gauge pre-war 1944/0 J CIWL Wagon LITS 40 cm blue baggage car circa 1930's Märklin 'O' gauge pre-war 40 cm Mitropa Speisewagen 1942/0 circa 1930's Märklin 'O' gauge pre-war 40 cm Mitropa Schlafwagen 1943/0 circa 1930's

Märklin's numbering scheme was very complicated. The more products they produced, the more convoluted it got. 'H' was the loco designation used by Märklin in the 1930's for all 4-6-2 steam locos, for example, the H4021 LNER was a model of the Flying Scotsman, but the H4021 PLM was a model of a French 4-6-2. An 'R' meant the locomotive was in the style of the Reichsbahn. An 'S' after the 'H' was for a Swiss loco. The numbers 66, 64 or 70 after that indicates the type of reversing unit fitted in the loco. 66 signified a hand reversing unit, while 70 meant the loco was equipped with Märklin's remote reversing system. The number 12 is a prefix meaning the loco was for use with 20-volt electric operation. The last 3 digits change depending on the size of the loco, the smallest locos begin at 880, followed by 890, 900, 910, and 920. 920 seems to have been used for the R920 and anything which happened to be larger. Some locos first produced in the 1920's, but with production that continued into the 1930's, do not follow the same pattern with any of the numbers after the '/'. For those locos: 402x = live-steam operation; 102x = clockwork operation, 1302x = electric operation. The x can either be a 1 or a 0 depending on the gauge, 1 = 1 gauge, 0 = 'O' gauge.

Märklin 'O' gauge 2-C-1 English steam locomotive H 4020 Flying Scotsman, with 4A Tender LNER spiritusbetrieben Märklin 1 gauge 2-C-1 spirit-fired live-steam locomotive HR 4921 with 4A tender manufactured from 1936 to 1937

Märklin 'O' gauge  HR 70 12920 2-C-1 steam locomotive 20-volt electric made 1930's-50's Märklin's HR 66-12920 hand-painted green 'O' gauge electric model of a 4-6-2 steam locomotive was first made in 1932. The later black version of this loco became a popular long-running fixture in the Märklin catalogue for some years, and is still a highly desirable model to collectors. Except when wartime production was halted, this loco was produced through 1954. One of the easiest ways to date the HR is the lettering on the rear of the tender. Pre-1936 tenders just have 'Germany,' but 1936 and later tenders have 'Made in Germany.' Locos made after 1950 have the Märklin Bicycle logo instead of the lettering Made in Germany. Post 1938 locos have unpainted buffers on the tender rear. Green locos were made until the middle of 1933, then the color changed to matte black. The black version came with wheels that were either the typical red or black. A dark red E920 made as a special order for Hermann Göring, a high ranking leader of the Nazi Party, commander in chief of the Luftwaffe, president of the Reichstag, head of the Gestapo, and prime minister of Prussia, is known to exist.

Märklin 'O' gauge 2-D-1 French Mountain steam locomotive ME 70 12920 20-volt electric

The 1932 Märklin catalog listed the Chemins de fer de l'État ME 66/12920 French Express 4-8-2 'O' gauge engine and tender in gray or black. This has been called the most beautiful locomotive ever made by Märklin. The 2D1 (4-8-2) loco was hand painted and lined. It had an overall length of 23½ inches. The 20-volt electric motor powers only the 3 front large drivers via a gearing system. The Mountain Etat was one of the four large locomotives singled out in the 1936 catalogue as scale models. It remained catalogued through 1953. Another loco from that series of four was the apple-green Cock O’ The North LNER 2001 (Märklin L70-12920LNER). For buyers who liked the loco but didn't want it in obviously British livery (for instance, Märklin customers who had German-themed layouts), Märklin also supplied it in a more anonymous dull black as L 70/12920. This 'O' gauge loco was patterned after the P2 Mikado 2-8-2 prototype heavy-duty express LNER loco that ran Scottish passenger services through the Highlands between Edinburgh and Aberdeen from 1934. The large loco has a distinctive winged head smoke-deflector configuration.

Märklin 'O' gauge passenger car #1725 Märklin 'O' gauge baggage car #1728 Märklin 'O' gauge R890 0-4-0 Loco & Tender #3410 Clockwork circa 1936
Märklin 'O' gauge 0-4-0 R66/12900 20-volt electric with 2 #1721 coaches and a #1727 coach c.1930's

In honor of the 100 year anniversary of Germany's first railway that ran from Nuremberg to Furth, in 1935 Märklin produced an 'O' gauge electric model of George Stephenson's Der Adler train set. Der Adler ran Germany's first passenger train service, starting in 1835, and therefore holds a special place for German railway history enthusiasts. AR 12930/35/3 was the catalog number assigned by Märklin to the 'Centenary Train'. The set consisted of the AR 12930 20-volt electric open steam locomotive and tender with figures, 1834/0 open coach with figures, 1835/0 closed coach with figures and opening doors, and a 1835B/0 brake version of the closed coach with figures and a brakeman's seat. The closed coaches were styled like old horse-carriages, complete with a raised seat on top where the driver of a horse drawn cab would normally sit. The 2-2-2 locomotive and its tender were painted green and brown, while the coaches were yellow. The Adler (Eagle) prototype locomotive was designed by George Stephenson, and built in Sheffield, England. The locomotive was then shipped to Germany to become the country's first commercial steam locomotive, running Germany's first commercial train service.

Märklin 'O' gauge AR 12930/35/3 Electric model of the Der Adler made 1935 for Jubiläumszug

Märklin first experimented with a smaller gauge than 'O' in the late 1920's, which they called 'OO' or 'Liliput-Bahn', scale 1:70, (roughly equivalent to S gauge) with one mechanical wind-up steam outline locomotive, later augmented with an electric 4V steam outline version. This experiment never sold in significant numbers however. Later in the 1930's Märklin built a very detailed prototype steam outline locomotive in this scale but it was never produced.

Märklin HO R700 Steam Outline Loco and Tender circa 1935 Märklin 'OO' gauge RS700 electric circa 1935

Märklin HO gauge 13729/12 signal tower with interior lighting, 12 switch connections made 1938-40 It was not until 1935 that Märklin came out with their first mass produced 'OO' scale, later in approximately 1947, the scale was dubbed HO (or half-O). This smaller scale would require fewer quantities of raw materials to produce. One of Märklin's biggest competitors, Trix, had begun to produce 'OO' gauge model trains around this time, which caused Märklin to expedite their efforts. In order to meet this competition, and to introduce their product offerings, Märklin built and showed an 'OO' gauge display layout at the Leipzig spring toy fair in 1935. Märklin presented their own range of freight wagons and electric locomotives in 'OO' gauge. The locomotives included the steam outline 0-4-0 R 700 and an electric outline RS 700 also equipped with an 0-4-0 wheel configuration. The next 'OO' gauge releases from Märklin included the SLR 700 in 1936, the HR 700 and HS 700 locomotives in 1937, the CCS 700 in 1938, and the 800 series with the a new automatic reversing system in 1938. Märklin also developed its own three-rail AC powered track configuration, which they believed was more reliable and electrically less complicated than 2-rail DC systems.

Märklin HO/'OO' ga SLR700 LNER streamlined 0-4-0 loco and tender

The 'Märklin system' for HO is Märklin's technique of using a third rail concealed in the roadbed with only small studs protruding through the ties of the track. The two outer rails are connected electrically. This provides the simplified wiring enjoyed by larger gauges — such as reverse loops — without seriously detracting from the realism of the track because only two of the rails are visible. Because the two outer rails are not electrically isolated from each other, however, some do not consider Märklin's system to be a true three-rail system.

Märklin HO gauge RS800 Elok In 1939 Märklin began using new technical procedures such as zinc die casting, first in locomotives, coach trucks, wheels and accessories. Between 1948 and 1955 freight cars were also produced completely under this method. Political relations around the World War II era stunted the export production for Märklin which meant many planned models were never produced and the war brought a new enforced break in toy production. Märklin HO gauge SE 800 E-Lok Märklin did not make substantial changes to their 'OO' line after 1938. The Märklin factory managed to avoid being seriously damaged during World War II. They had stopped producing toys in 1943 in order to manufacture items to meet war needs. Munitions produced included pressure sensitive detonators used in land mines and small motors for torpedoes. Other things Märklin manufactured for the Wehrmacht during the war were MG34 and 42 machine-gun non-disintegrating stamped steel bullet belts and trigger guards for Mauser G41 semi-automatic rifles.

Märklin HO/'OO' ga SK 800 type 10 streamlined tender loco class 06 of the DRG circa 1945 Märklin HO gauge RM 800 C-Locomotive with 6-wheel Tender

Märklin HO T 790 Steam Outline Tank Locomotive circa 1949 Richard Safft died in 1945 and Eugen Märklin in 1947. Herbert Safft took his father's place as managing director. At the end of World War II the company still employed over 700 workers. Model train manufacturing began again, initially of only exported items. In 1947, Märklin issued a catalog exclusively for dealers, since paper was still in short supply due to the war years. The first customer catalog issued after the war in 1947 featured a series of 'OO' scale wagons and locomotives produced specifically for the U.S. market including the ST 800 and DL 800 streamlined railcars. The ST 800 locomotive was manufactured from 1948 to 1954. It is based on an American style diesel outline engine somewhat similar to the American Alco DL 103 diesel locomotive, but it is an electric railcar fitted with pantographs. The DL 800 and the ST 800 locomotives appear to be similar, however, the DL 800 was a 2 unit double headed articulated railcar, while the ST 800 was a 3 unit articulated railcar that featured a middle coach and trail car.

Märklin HO gauge DL800 2-unit Electric railcar circa 1947 Märklin HO gauge ST800G, green, 3-part railcar made 1952-54

From 1947 through 1955 Märklin manufactured their 300 series of die-cast HO freight cars based on pre-war prototypes. These were the company's first attempts at making scale model HO gauge cars. In the years before World War II, Märklin and its competitors in HO had produced only stubby little freight cars in lithographed sheet steel with little detail. These first Märklin HO freight cars were actually tinplate replicas of Märklin's simplest 'O' gauge cars and were offered for sale through 1952. By contrast, the new die-cast cars had incredible surface detail, with every board and rivet cleanly modeled and large numbers of attached detail parts. A total of 36 different cataloged cars appeared in the 300 series, based on ten different body castings. However, because these 36 basic cars had a wide variety of variations in color and construction details, the total number of collectible varieties is actually about 160. An abundance of these trains show up in America, as large quantities were imported and sold in American toy stores and many returning American servicemen stationed in Germany after World War II brought them home or shipped them to the United States.

When the pre-war tinplate lithographed HO gauge freight cars were phased out in 1952, they were replaced with the 4500 series cars which were inexpensive, plastic-bodied cars on sheet-steel chassis. In 1956 the 300 series die-cast HO freight cars were also phased out and replaced by the 4600 series, which initially consisted of heavy plastic bodies on die-cast frames, but were eventually moved to all plastic frames. Of the four series, the 1947 all die-cast series had by far the shortest life.

Märklin HO US Freight cars #334 Shell, #332 box car, #331 gondola

Märklin HO gauge SEH 800 electric locomotive #1101 circa 1957 While the 'OO'/HO range was extended as fast as possible, 'O' gauge models saw greatly limited production. In July of 1948 and in March of 1949 Märklin issued only supplements to the catalog from 1947. The first consumer catalog did not come out after the war years until 1949 in a single-color version. A complete catalog in color did not come out until 1953 using a rotogravure printing process. There were no new releases of 'O' gauge models, and the existing 'O' gauge products were relegated to the back of the catalogs. In 1950 manufacture of the 'wide-tracks' in lacquered tinplate ceased. Only clockwork driven 'O' gauge was now being offered. The last catalogue showing any models in 'O' gauge was the 1954 version, and this signaled the end for Märklin tinplate trains in this gauge. 1956 was the last year that Märklin produced any trains in 'O' gauge. The tinplate era was at an end.

Märklin HO gauge CE 800/3002 electric locomotive E63 02 Märklin HO gauge RSM 800 E-Lok Märklin HO gauge GS800 3018 E-lok 1-c-1 series S.J.

Märklin HO S870 Streamlined loco circa 1953 By this point in history, toys made for children, which had been Märklin’s primary output from the founding of the company, were almost completely gone from the catalog. The detailed and scale trains being produced were now mainly being purchased by adult hobbyists. The period of toy train production for young kids had passed. In realizing that this once prosperous market was now being overlooked, in the mid-1950's Märklin tried to reinterest kids in toy trains. 1953 saw the release of a new plastic clockwork driven HO gauge train, headed by an 0-4-0 streamlined loco, the S870. It came in sets, either accompanied by 2 passenger cars in maroon-red as #327/2, or with a silver or red dump-car and a #4503 gondola. This train ran on a special version of Märklin's 3-rail track that was modified so as not to include the middle power rail studs. Unfortunately, these sets failed to sell, finding only a small following. The cheaply made plastic molded loco was fitted with plastic wheels, and these delicate parts tended to frequently brake. The S870 was gone from the line by 1957.

Märklin HO DT 800 type 1, double railcar circa 1950

Märklin HO gauge 3-track enamel round house accessory In the post war years the firm established itself once again as a maker of high quality model trains and went through a period of growth and success. By 1959, the 100th anniversary year for Märklin, the company was employing 2000 workers. An interesting issue of the Märklin catalog with a copper metallic cover was printed to commemorate this milestone. Helmut Kilian and Otto Bang became important figures in the history of the firm as they lead the further development of the HO line. Plastics largely took over in the range of materials used for toy making. The company dedicated itself to developing and perfecting HO railroads which established themselves equally as trains to play with and as first-rate models. This dual strategy - seen through largely by the efforts of Fritz Märklin before his death in 1961 - clearly helped towards the world wide success enjoyed by Märklin. Starting with the HO gauge G800 in the 1950's, Märklin made the first five-coupled toy train locomotives ever produced. To negotiate sharp tinplate curves, the locomotives had flexible frames. They were massive and powerful and engineered to the hilt, but apparently the complexity of their construction, like that of the CCS crocodiles, led to the retirement of the design. Fritz Märklin passed away in 1961. After 102 years of management, the Märklin family no longer was involved in company operations.

Märklin HO G800 2-10-2 Loco German production series 44 circa 1950's

Märklin 1 gauge #5700 Tender locomotive BR 80 by the DB circa 1969 Märklin reintroduced 1 gauge train production in 1969, this time however it utilized a DC powered system with 2-rail track. Märklin’s 1 gauge trains of the late 1960's were generally scaled to a proportion of 1:32, but there were some exceptions. The early Märklin 1 gauge line of the 1960's had many toy-like features and exact scale proportion was not strictly followed. The new trains did run on 45 mm gauged track, the same gauge which Märklin had established in the late 1800’s, and their general adherence to the 1:32 proportion qualified them as 1 gauge (now often also Märklin 1 gauge #5720 Diesel locomotive DHG 500 circa 1969 referred to as G gauge). A chief competitor of Märklin’s, LGB (Lehman Gross Bahn or Lehman Big Trains), had introduced their large scale model trains a year earlier in 1968. While the trains that LGB issued ran on 2-rail track the same 1 gauge 45mm width between the rails as Märklin 1 gauge trains, LGB had proportioned their trains to 1:22.5. scale. Therefore, these trains more closely approximated narrow-gauge trains. Over the years, the gauge confusion issue has grown even cloudier, as several model train manufacturers used 45 mm gauged track, but different proportions such as 1:29 and 1:20.5 scale trains. While the earlier Märklin 1 gauge had been stamped metal toys, the new Märklin 1 gauge was largely plastic in composition. This meant that the new trains could be run outdoors as well as indoors.

Märklin 1 gauge Crocodile 14281 55564 SBB/CFF Ce 6/8 electric era II

Märklin OHO gauge Minex SWEG 22-03/3420 Diesel Loco from #3470 set made 1970-72 Märklin Minex trains were introduced in 1970. This was another attempt by Märklin to provide impetus for kids to regain interest in the toy train hobby. This iteration was developed in a new scale called 0H0, and was actually a product name originally utilized by Märklin in the late 1930's for a metal construction set they offered, also named Minex. The new Minex product was an 'O' scale (1:45) electric train that was fitted with narrow wheel sets that could run on regular HO gauge Märklin track. The Minex locomotives were powered by motors that used 16V AC and were fitted with the same automatic reversing systems that were utilized in Märklin's regular production HO locomotives. Initially only 2 Minex sets were produced. One was set #3450 that came with a lighted #3400 0-6-0 tank locomotive and 2 4-wheel #4400/4401 passenger cars. The other was a #3470 freight set which featured a #3420 diesel loco, a #4450/4451 High-side gondola and a #4459 dump car. Additional Märklin OHO gauge Minex C Tank Loco 2s/3400 from #3450 set made 1970-72 freight cars (#4452/4453/4454) and a separate sale #7400 hand-operated semaphore signal with train control were also produced. These Minex locomotives and the accompanying passenger and freight cars were made of plastic and metal and were fitted with Märklin's regular HO couplers. Many of the Minex cars and the Minex diesel locomotive are lettered for 'SWEG', which is presumably the Südwestdeutsche Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, a narrow gauge railroad which operated in the Baden state of Germany. Märklin’s home is in Göppingen, which is located in the modern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg. The Minex trains lasted in Märklin's catalogs for 2 years and were gone by 1972.

Märklin HO gauge MS 800 1-D-1 electric locomotive circa 1950 Although Märklin is best known for its trains, from 1914 to 1999, the company also produced mechanical construction sets similar to Meccano and Erector. Between 1967 and 1982, the company produced a slot car system called Märklin Sprint. Märklin also manufactured several other types of toys over the years, including tinplate lithographed toy vehicles, and a plastic building block system similar to Lego building blocks, called Märklin Plus.

Märklin HO gauge TT 800 DRG 197 BR86 2-8-2T tank loco The Märklin HO track system has some incompatibility with other manufacturers' HO trains. Because the wheels on Märklin's cars are not insulated, electric shorts will occur if these cars are used on other manufacturers' HO track, without changing the wheels. The profile of the wheels is also different. Additionally, for many years Märklin was the only brand that used AC for its HO scale trains, although in the 1960's Fleischmann, HAG, Röwa, Roco and others started producing trains for the Märklin system. Some people converted Märklin locomotives to DC for use on DC layouts, and by buying HAMO in 1964 and its line of street cars, Märklin had begun offering a line of 2-rail DC locomotives as well, first under the name of HAMO and, after buying Trix, under that name.

In 1972, Märklin launched its 1:220 Z scale, which for decades was the smallest scale model train in the world. This system was named the 'mini-club' brand. The fully functional mini-train, which was 220 times smaller than the original and ran on 6.5 millimeter-wide gauges, was included in the Guinness Book of World Records not only for its small size but also for breaking the world record in uninterrupted operation. A Märklin 'mini club' train managed to run 720 kilometers in 1,219 hours. In the late 1970's, Märklin boosted its international marketing and distribution network by establishing subsidiaries in Switzerland, Belgium, France, and the United States.

Märklin HO gauge Deutsche Bundesbahn diesel locomotive V200 006 3021 Märklin HO gauge Deutsche Bundesbahn diesel locomotive 216 090-1 Märklin HO gauge Deutsche Bundesbahn diesel locomotive 212 215-8

Märklin HO gauge SNCF BB Electric Locomotive 9223 3038 In 1984 Märklin came out with its first generation digital signal processing system with electronic receiver circuits in each locomotive called 'Märklin Digital train control'. Märklin was the first model railway company to introduce a digital train control system. It was jointly developed with Motorola. This technology facilitated having independent, multi-train operation for HO scale and 1 gauge model trains. Märklin has released several newer versions of this proprietary Digital train control over the years for controlling trains and accessories digitally, however, this system is not compatible with DCC (Digital Command Control), which was developed by a number of different people and companies and was standardized by the National Model Railroad Association in the 1990's. The difference in the Märklin system and the DCC system is that it has more available addresses programmable decoders and a feedback-function from the mfx-decoders that helps the control unit identify the locomotives. Theoretically, the system was able to manage up to 80 locomotives and 256 switches within one circuit. Märklin does offer DCC powered locomotives, but only for its 2-rail DC Trix brand.

Märklin HO gauge F 800 2-C-1 tender locomotive 01 097 In 1984, Märklin celebrated 125 years in business, and in 1985, a milestone was reached for 50 years of HO gauge production. Also in 1985, Märklin produced another two models of the Der Adler train, to mark the 150th anniversary. These had catalogue numbers 5750 (the model of the original Der Adler) and 5721 (a model of the 1935 version, rebuilt after fire damage, with plainer, enclosed carriages). In 1997 Märklin acquired Nüremberg based model train manufacturer Trix and Trix became another brand of Märklin Holding, dedicated to covering N scale and DC operated HO scale trains.

In the late 1980's Märklin made another attempt to market its products to children when the company asked young kids to create and submit ideas for their dream-trains. The result was a new line called Märklin Alpha Adventure sets, first produced in 1988. These new sets came with colorful, imaginative and futuristically styled 0-6-0 locomotives. The locos were accompanied by tenders and cars that were just as whimsical looking. All the trains were fitted with the standard Märklin HO gauge couplings, but operated on a newly designed 3-rail track with a plastic base, called 2000 track. These Alpha sets were packaged and sold in boxes that were designed and decorated to be utilized as stations, tunnels, mountains crossings, a round house or other types of scenery on an operating layout. The cars included in the Alpha sets were made to carry and transport special vehicles, some were amphibious and they all had a futuristic appearance, and could be unloaded via ramps. Some cars had retractable radar screens, swiveling solar panels, or retractable cranes. The overall appeal for the Alpha sets was their unique and imaginative design intended to provide a high degree of play value for young children. Rechargeable batteries were utilized to power the Alpha trains but these units tended to experience issues. By 1995 the Alpha adventure sets began to disappear from the Märklin catalogue. Pricing and poor sales were to blame. A positive outcome from the Alpha set endeavor was the new plastic-base track system that eventually evolved into Märklin's C-track product. Some of the specialized futuristic looking cargo vehicles from the Alpha trains were later marketed separately by Märklin under the Gama brand.

Märklin HO gauge electric locomotive BR 111 043-6 3042 DB Circa 1990 In the early 1990's Märklin was able to overcome the stagnation of the late 1980's. The company acquired three new production sites and launched a comprehensive marketing campaign. The 1990's began with an unexpected expansion of Märklin's domestic market when East Germany was reunited with the western part of the country. Märklin acquired a toy factory in Sonneberg in the eastern German state of Thuringia and moved its production of rolling stock there. Another production subsidiary was established in Györ, Hungary, where 100 employees assembled small parts, railroad tracks, and switches.

Over the years, the Märklin marquee has become more respected by model train collectors with some of the very early models fetching impressive prices in auctions. In January 2005, the Märklin museum in Göppingen, Germany, was burgled and more than 100 pieces, with an estimated value of more than 1 million Euros, were stolen. Fortunately, the items, which included one-of-a-kind prototypes along with pieces that dated back to 1891, were recovered in March 2005. Märklin train stations are very popular with collectors. A Grand Central Bahnof station, circa 1902, sold for $55,000 at Bertoia Auctions in September 2012. The hand-painted toy station was complete with a tin canopy cover over train tracks, railed interior ticket booth, exterior roofed booth, opening door to the restaurant and waiting room, and vivid colors overall. A hand painted Holborn Station made by Märklin for the British market in 1904 was purchased at Lacy Scott & Knight's sale of collectors' models on November 17, 2012 for £41,000. The highest price ever paid on LiveAuctioneers for a Märklin train to date was for a Märklin gauge 3 train set with a spirit fired 4-4-0 live-steam locomotive and 8-wheel tender, French dining car, French sleeping car and tracks, along with the original wooden box. It sold for $149,227 in December, 2014 in an auction conducted by Antico Mondo Auktionen. A circa-1910 Märklin carousel sold for $192,000, nearly double its high estimate, at Pook & Pook, Inc. with Noel Barrett in November 2012. At Bertoia Auction’s October 11, 2019 sale of the Gentleman’s Collection of Tony Annese was a Märklin Third Avenue electric 'O' gauge trolley set described in the catalog as extraordinarily rare, which sold at $73,800. In July of 2019 a rare but unassuming pre-World War I O gauge 0-6-0 clcokwork loco and tender, decorated for the British line London North Western Railway, sold for a hammer price of £9,000 in a Tennants Auctioneers’ Yorkshire saleroom. It was the link to a British railway company that made the lot more appealing to collectors as these locomotives were made in Germany and were normally sold painted in generic colors. In May of 2021, the Bertoia auction of the late collector Paul Cole saw a Schlitz beer car in O gauge made for the American market by Märklin go for $40,800. At the same auction, a 1 gauge #1878 gondola carrying the rare Circus Oriental wagon sold for $38,400. Not far behind at $32,400 was a #2361 Electric Tramway trolley in gauge 1 with clockwork mechanism and seven original figures.

Märklin HO gauge 3-rail AC DRG Mallet Tender Locomotive BR53 0001 representing Era II (1920-1950) When Märklin achieved greater than 150 years of manufacturing, their range of products became extensive, and collectors also were paying attention to the packaging that was used for these products. The Märklin toy company systematically included a print run number on almost all their printed material, including the boxes in which their products shipped. These print run numbers indicated the printer and also the month and year of printing. This was very useful for dating an item that was known to be associated with some printed material. The second group of digits indicated the catalogue number. The last set of numeric digits in the print run number indicated the month and year that the item was printed. The last group of letters identified the printer.

By 1999 Märklin's 1 gauge products were being produced in two lines. One was an elegant offering of scale model 1 gauge trains and the other was a line of less detailed sheet steel trains called 'Maxi'. The most striking new regular 1 gauge item offered was an elegant KPEV (Royal Prussian Railroad Administration) 0-8-0 steamer loaded with detail accompanied by a 6-wheel tender and a maze of built-in electronic features. New cars included two great 8-wheel postwar passenger coaches, the kind that were seen everywhere in Germany In the 1950's and 1960's, as well as five freight cars.

Märklin 1 gauge Maxi DB German Railway Express 4-6-2 Steam Engine & Tender 55901

In 2003 Märklin issued its model of the Harry Potter Hogwarts Express train. In 2006, the company, which had until then been owned by the three families Märklin, Friz and Safft, was sold to the British investment group Kingsbridge Capital, ending nearly 150 years of family ownership. With the support of the employees, the new shareholders planned to restructure the company and make it profitable again. The purchase price was approximately $38 million. At the time, Märklin had approximately $70.5 million in debt, as a result of several years of slumping sales.

In 2007, the company expanded its product offering by buying the remaining assets of the bankrupt firm, Ernst Paul Lehmann, who owned the LGB brand and product line of 'G' scale model railways. In 2007 Märklin also acquired Hübner, a German maker of 1 gauge trains and track. On February 4, 2009 Märklin filed for insolvency in the Göppingen municipal court. A year and a day later, on February 5, 2010, Märklin announced a return to profitability, after the work of the insolvency manager Michael Pluta. In 2010 the company produced yet another version of the Der Adler, #55175, which showed the restored locomotive in its current state.

Märklin 1 gauge Krupp AEG electric locomotive DB 103 193-9 55103 in cream and red

Märklin HO gauge 3055 Netherlands 1200 Class electric loco In 2012 Märklin's new items catalog for HO, Z and 1 gauge ran to 192 pages, LGB’s was 64 pages, Trix’s (N and HO) was 96 pages, and the new export models catalog for Märklin and Trix was 40 pages. Much of the HO scale Trix equipment consisted of 2-rail DC versions of Märklin equipment. A highlight of the Märklin catalog was the class 403 high-speed four-unit IC train, which was first put in service in 1974 and then converted to the Lufthansa Airport Express in 1982. Class 403 trains were nicknamed 'Donald Ducks,' apparently because of the configurations of their ends. The 403 model was available for members of the Märklin Insiders Club only. The table lamps in the model were LED lamps. Another highlight was a blue and cream 'Rheingold' of 1962 that came with a new E10 electric locomotive and six different cars, including the dome coach and the diner with the distinctive hump backed roof over the kitchen. Among other Märklin HO new items with all-new tooling for 2012 were a class 94 0-10-0T steamer and a class 50 decapod, both with rigid frames.

A new Märklin HO venture in 2012 was 'My World,' which consisted of the old 'Hobby' line of basic models plus a new group of simplified remote-controlled, battery-powered trains for children as young as 3 years of age. Every car and engine of the simplified line was 4-wheeled. Probably the most engaging were high-speed passenger trains available painted for French, Belgian, Swiss and U.S. (including Amtrak's 'Acela') prototypes. Märklin has always been good with backwards compatibility, and the battery-powered 'My World' trains can be operated on any Märklin HO layout. In 1 gauge, Märklin offered a new model of the DB class E10 (class 140) electric, available in blue, green, and blue and cream. To accompany the blue and cream version, a 6-car Rheingold set with blue and cream cars was offered. This set included a dome coach and a humped roof diner, similar to the HO set offered. The whole 1 gauge train measured 1,400 centimeters long (almost 50'). Much of Märklin's production was taking place in Györ, Hungary, but the company was still centered in its historic city of Göppingen, southeast of Stuttgart.

In 2013 Märklin was acquired by the Simba Dickie Group. Simba Dickie Group, a German toy manufacturer was founded by Fritz Sieber and his son Michael in 1982 as Simba Toys. Over the years the group has acquired the assets of several famous toy manufacturers and producers including Schuco, Jada Toys and Solido.

Märklin HO gauge 3311 2007 Royal Wuttemberg 4-6-2 steam loco Märklin has continued to manufacture and market trains and accessories in Gauge 1, HO scale, and 'Z' scale, with the majority of production taking place in China. The company offers two different lines of 1 gauge equipment, one less expensive, made of tin plate metal, and less detailed. And one that is a premier line, which is super-detailed and more costly. These products were distributed in the United States exclusively by Walthers. Since 1980 Märklin, Inc. has operated as the American Subsidiary of Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH, Germany. Märklin’s U.S. office was located in Wakesha, Wisconsin, just down the road (less than 50 miles) from Walther’s, which handled warehousing and sales for the three brands Märklin, Trix and LGB. Märklin's older trains are considered highly collectible today, and Märklin's current offerings enjoy premium status among hobbyists.

Link to Märklin Website

The following sources were referenced in the creation of this article:
The History of Märklin Catalogs - from the Märklin web site -
The Märklin page at -
The Brighton Toy & Model Index - Brighton Toy Museum -
Reynaulds 140 Years of Märklin History -
Company Histories - Märklin Holding GmbH -

For more information on Märklin trains visit these web sites:
A Price Guide For Märklin Collectors by Paul Deardorff - from the web site blog -
Märklin Community forum -
The New York Times Article 3/18/2021 - "A Perfect World Around Every Miniature Bend" -
Binn's Road UK Website - Photos of 'O' gauge Märklin Trains -
Märklin HO Trains Article by Dan Napoliello - from Brass Armadillo -
Märklin Stop - all about Märklin toys & trains from 1859 to the Present -
Märklin reports on business development in 2020 - Toy Market News
DCC Wiki - Information on Märklin & Trix Digital Command Control Device Types

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