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140 Years of Märklin >> "The Biggest Toy Factory In The World"

Since the turn of the century large printed catalogues were produced every four or five years - each with annual supplements -which were sent out not to customers but to dealers. Customer catalogues were not introduced until 1924. A look at the 1904 and 1909 editions shows the explosive growth in range of products. As Eugen Märklin was to describe later, his partner Emil Friz had the ambition of becoming "the first and biggest toy factory in the world".

A Showroom in 1910

As has already been mentioned, before the First World War and also later, Märklin by no means produced just model railroads. There is hardly an article from the realm of technical toys and doll's accessories which you could imagine not having been produced by Märklin over the past 140 years.

A special problem lay in the seasonal nature of the toy trade, something which has always existed. It was for this reason that Eugen Märklin had already been producing and distributing household products before 1891, and why later a certain part of the company's range consisted of "summer articles". In 1928 there was even a summer catalogue.

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. By 1914 the number of employees had risen to 600. Then came the First World War - an event which proved for Märklin, like many another firms, a painful break. Many of the specialist staff were called up, and only a few returned. Production was perforce switched 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 for part of the products which had been made specially to the requirements of the target countries.

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.

<< Previous Chapter Next Chapter >>
 
1. The Beginning

2. A New Partner From Plochingen

3. "The Biggest Toy Factory in the World"

4. The "Märklin Awakening" After 1925

5. A Byword for Model Railroads

6. From Tinplate to Plastics

7. Märklin Production Today



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