Marx trains were made by the popular American manufacturer of toy trains founded in 1919 by brothers Louis and David Marx. They usually sold their trains cheaper than competitors Lionel and American Flyer, making it popular with those who couldn't afford those expensive brands.
Marx toy trains production started in 1934 with the purchase of Joy Line trains. Marx is one of the most popular names among antique toy train collectors.
Louis, born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1896, began working for F. J. Strauss at the age of sixteen. Strauss was a toy manufacturer that produced for the Abraham & Strauss Department Stores. By the time he was twenty he became manager due to his energy and enthusiasm. But in 1919, Louis had some disagreements with Strauss and decided to venture out on his own. He established his own firm, Louis Marx & Co. in New York at 200 Fifth Avenue but started with virtually nothing. No money, no machinery, no products, no patents, or customers. Luckily he had determination and motivation. He immediately started contacting toy producers to make toys that he himself designed.
After a couple of years, his brother David joined him. Louis had the management, marketing and designing skills, and operations was done by David. Their company grew into the world's biggest manufacturer of toys. They imprinted their boxes with the slogan, 'One of the many Marx toys, have you all of them?' The firm's logo had the letters 'MAR' in a circle with a large X through it, which resembled a model railway crossing sign. Because of this, some people misidentify them their toys as 'Mar' toys.
Marx trains included HO scale and 'O' scale toy trains and buildings from tinplate. Their cheaper toys were readily available in variety stores. The more expensive and larger toys were more common for catalog retailers such as for example Sears and Montgomery Ward.
The Marx toy company may be largely forgotten nowadays, except by tin toy collectors, some toys remain well known and popular.