Antiques Coumn: First “ golden age ” of Marklin trains


Trains from Marklin.
Trains from Marklin.

As the children have all left the house, I am now able to formulate my plans for the miniature railroad that I have coveted since childhood. I intend to have all of Marklin. Paper mache and paint here I am. I don’t know what I’m looking forward to the most; build the papier-mâché mountain landscape or buy the Marklin locomotives.

The first trains of the German toy maker Marklin, like those of other manufacturers, were simple and solid, but unrealistic. However, in 1891 at the Leipzig Toy Fair, Marklin introduced standardized gauges, which was a major development in the manufacture of trains and would change the way they were produced in the future.

The early 1900s were the first “golden age” of Marklin trains. The first simple models were replaced by a range of realistic and detailed trains with a superb thick lacquered finish. The larger lll caliber was particularly popular in this early period, but by 1910 the demand for the smaller l and 0 caliber models was also increasing. It was around this time that Marklin introduced a line of rolling stock and accessories.

After World War I heavy and thick trains started to look old fashioned and by 1930 the I gauge was obsolete. All this led the company, in the 1930s, to invest in new tools and to launch a whole new range of trains.

In 1948 still further changes, which included the launch of the smaller and instantly popular HO gauge. Die-cast bodies were narrower with more precise proportions, a slightly matte finish and a new type of coupling. By the late 1950s, the solidarity and quality of Marklin trains had firmly restored the company’s reputation around the world. Marklin trains are extremely popular and collectable even today.


About Jun Quentin

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