Produced tin litho toys from 1919-1978. At the age of sixteen and as the oldest of three, Louis had to help support the family. On a friend’s recommendation, he was hired to work full-time at the Ferdinand J. Strauss Company, a toy manufacturer that produced items for Abraham & Strauss Department Stores and a pioneer in the tin toy industry. Marx's energy and enthusiasm helped him to become a manager by the time he was twenty. In 1919, after being fired by Strauss due to differences on production matters and a stint with the American Army during World War I, Louis Marx decided that it was time to venture out on his own.
Louis and his brother David established the Louis Marx & Company and set up office at 200 Fifth Avenue, in New York City.
Marx Toys is one of the most popular brands among today's antique and vintage toy collectors. Louis Marx, the founder of the company, was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1896. His enthusiasm and energy helped him to become a manager by the time he was twenty.
In 1919, Marx toys had a falling out with Strauss. Deciding that it was time to venture out on his own, he established Louis Marx & Co., and set up office at 200 Fifth Avenue, in New York City. Marx started his company with virtually nothing. Louis had no money, machinery, products, patents, or customers, but what he lacked in resources, he more than made up for in seemingly endless energy and determination. Marx wasted no time and started contracting with manufacturers to produce toys that he designed.
His brother David decided to join Marx a couple of years later. Louis had the business, designing, and marketing skills and David was the man behind the operations. The two of them together would grow to be the world's largest toy manufacturer. A significant factor, which contributed to this success came from two policies set in place from the beginning, "Give the customer more toy for less money" and "Quality is not negotiable". By 1921, they were able to start independently producing toys from their own designs.Kooky Spooky tree:
Louis Marx was not only a genius at designing toys, but also at marketing them. By offering quality at the lowest price possible, Marx Toys became very popular with toy buyers, and he had virtually no need for salesman or advertising. This popularity caused rapid growth and by the 1930's, despite the Great Depression, Louis built three new plants. The first and largest was in Erie, Pennsylvania, the second, which produced toy trains, was in Girard, Pennsylvania, and the third, which produced toy cars, was in Glendale, West Virginia. Marx also produced and distributed toys in England from 1937 to 1967. Marx continued to enjoy steady growth until the start of World War II, when the factories converted for the war effort.
Marx Toys grew even stronger into the "Golden Era" of the 1950's. By 1955, Marx Toys produced over 20% of all the toys sold in the U.S., and had factories in ten different countries, including Japan, with divisions such as Linemar. Marx also distributed toys produced by manufacturers in Germany, including those from Distler. This may have been pushed upon by toy makers of war damaged countries needing a strong re-start and presence in the US. With sales totaling more than $30 million, and over 5000 different products they were easily the largest toy manufacturer in the world. Louis Marx's success story even made the cover of the December 12, 1955 issue of Time Magazine, where Louis Marx was named "The Toy King". It was there he boasted about his annual advertising budget of $312.00, something he took pride in and rightfully so.
Marx's marketing strategies included mass production and mass marketing through chain stores, reproducing new toys from basic components and repackaging existing products using television or movie tie-ins. Up until 1959, Marx had resisted the use of a newfangled invention called television to promote his products. After reconsidering, he decided to go after the TV market in a big way. His plan was to reach 27 million kids with a massive television ad campaign of toy commercials over a three-month period, strategically placed during the summer holidays. Exposure to this blitz was estimated to exceed one billion. This exposure prompted Marx to create a company mascot, known to many as Magic Marxie. This campaign helped to make Marx even more of a household name.
The Marx Company was bought by Dunbee Cobex in 1967 and continued to produce toys under the name of Louis Marx & Company Ltd. until 1976. It was at this time, that 'Dunbee Cobex Marx', took over Quaker Oates USA and continued to produce toys until the beginning of 1980.
Unfortunately, on the 11th August 1992, Louis Marx & Company Ltd. dissolved, after several attempts to keep the company going...
Louis Marx died in 1982 at the age of 85, however his memory long remains in what he has left us.
Website Marx toy museum: Marx toy museum