The first Bing trains hit the market in the 1880s. When Märklin formalized several standards for track gauges in 1891, Bing adopted them, and added O gauge by 1895.
Additionally, Bing introduced a still-smaller gauge that was 1/8 inch narrower, which it called OO. However, Bing's OO gauge was much larger than modern OO gauge.
Bing produced trains styled for the British market for Bassett-Lowke and A. W. Gamage, and it produced trains for the North American market, which it exported and marketed on its own. Early in the 20th century, Bing jockeyed for market share with the Ives Manufacturing Co., who did not surpass Bing in sales for good until 1910. Throughout their histories, the two companies would frequently copy one another's designs. In some instances, the two companies even used the same catalog number on their competing products. Due to cheap German labor and low shipping and duty costs, Bing was often able to undercut the prices of its U.S. competitors. By 1914, Bing had 5,000 employees. By comparison, Märklin employed 600.
Lionel Corporation 's advertising that criticized the manufacturing methods of its competitors' trains, targeted mainly at Ives, also hurt Bing's image because Bing's methods were so similar. Bing struggled to sell through its old inventory and misjudged demand. When the market evaporated for its 1 gauge trains, it re-gauged some models to O gauge, where they looked oversized, and other models to Lionel's Standard gauge, where they looked undersized. Yet by 1921, Bing had re-established itself in the U.S. market, largely through sales through catalog retailer Sears, Roebuck & Co. However, by 1925, Lionel was also selling through Sears, and Bing quickly found itself squeezed out of the market. Bing attempted to compensate by increasing its presence in Canada, where it competed with mixed success with American Flyer.
Bing was in serious financial trouble by 1927 and the firm's president, Stephan Bing, and his son, left the company.
Stephan Bing helped to start the British company Trix. Other Bing executives started the similarly-named company Trix Express.
Find here more info on Bing toys.
This Bing one gauge clockwork train (0-6-2T Great Northern Railway) was sold for 2,550 USD in Dec. 2012 on eBay.
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