Marx

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  • Member since
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  • From: Central Washington
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Marx
Posted by Butte Helper on Saturday, February 14, 2009 6:00 PM

I grew up with Marx tinplate and am curious as to whether there might be any Marx fans on this site.  Along with Lionel, MTH, and K-Line, I have a fair collection of both old and "New Marx,"  4-wheel and scale.  K-Line's Pacifics are based on the original dies of the old Marx 333, and I use them to pull long strings of NYC Pacemaker boxcars.  As beautiful as the Flynn's pieces are, I have always found the proportions of the old Marx scale equipment to be both very realistic and quite pleasing to the eye.  I'd be interested in hearing from anyone with similar interests.  Ray 

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Posted by brianel027 on Saturday, February 14, 2009 7:52 PM

I've said this before Ray, but I have a great deal of respect and admiration for MARX. When I got back into trains, I started taking note of the simplicity in many MARX items and learned a lot, allowing that to be the inspiration for many of my own custom designed and made train items.

There was a wonderful layout in Classic Toy Trains magazine a couple years ago on an all MARX layout that was great. And as an one-time artist myself, I agree, the lithography on the MARX tin was superb, leading on to imagine there is far more detail on those cars than is actually there. My, how times have changed.

MARX Trains was a one-of-a-kind company that played a larger part than most would imagine to help grow the train hobby in years past. They were affordable and for sale everywhere. No other 3-rail company has come close to the price advantage and universal availability MARX Trains had. And even though MARX was the cheap cousin to Lionel, the test of time has shown how well made MARX Trains really were. Outside of the abuse they got being played with for all the years, it's amazing how well they stand up. With a little TLC many of them can be brought back to life again.

I would tell anyone that has a hankering to do some custom scrachbuilding of trains or accessories to study some MARX Trains and get some ideas. I love the genius of the simplicity of so many of those trains.

There was a photo a while back in Trains magazine of an actual steam engine, that right away reminded me of MARX Trains. It made me laugh and I thought "well, there really were prototypes for those simple MARX Trains."

In my thinking, MARX has never gotten the respect and attention those trains rightfully deserve. In many cases, after years of use and abuse, those old MARX Trains still run or can be made to run again with a little effort. Time will tell how many of today's nicer more acdcurately detailed and advanced trains hold up to that same standard.

brianel, Agent 027

"Praise the Lord. I may not have everything I desire, but the Lord has come through for what I need."

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  • From: Hobart, In
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Posted by jwse30 on Saturday, February 14, 2009 8:25 PM

 I have a few Marx items, though only one is on my layout. That's a bell ringing crossing signal. I hooked it up for the first time a month or so ago. Easily the most annoying thing about my layout, so it's no longer hooked up.

I have two engines a 490 and a 999. I'd run the 999 on my layout if it could navigate my modern (K-Line) switches. I'm thinking if I ever add my second level, it'll be switchless so I can run that 999. Most of the cars I have are 4 wheel 6" tin. I like those better than the 3/16" cars.

I'm pretty sure at least some of the K-Line buildings on my layout are from old Marx molds.

 

J White


 

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  • From: Chicagoland
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Posted by cbq9911a on Saturday, February 14, 2009 9:27 PM

Butte Helper

I grew up with Marx tinplate and am curious as to whether there might be any Marx fans on this site.  Along with Lionel, MTH, and K-Line, I have a fair collection of both old and "New Marx,"  4-wheel and scale.  K-Line's Pacifics are based on the original dies of the old Marx 333, and I use them to pull long strings of NYC Pacemaker boxcars.  As beautiful as the Flynn's pieces are, I have always found the proportions of the old Marx scale equipment to be both very realistic and quite pleasing to the eye.  I'd be interested in hearing from anyone with similar interests.  Ray 

 

I've got a number of Marx pieces in both O27 and HO.  I've also made some "new style" Marx cars by putting K-Line cars made from the Marx tooling onto Marx frames.

Marx HO isn't as good looking as Lionel's, but it's a lot more reliable.

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Posted by krapug1 on Sunday, February 15, 2009 6:45 AM
I started my Marx collection by adding the engines and rolling stock that K-Line bought the molds for. This gives a nice historical perspective to my K-Line collection. On my K-Line Yahoo Group I have a photo album that shows some of the original Marx pieces next to their K-Line re-creations I also added a always reliable Marx 666, this engines somokes like crazy, and passes through Fastrack Switches with ease (just like the 333, 1829, and S-2), and a Santa Fe Plastic E-7. Ken
Moderator, K-Line Yahoo Group. KLinetrains@yahoogroups.com and LionelMPC Group (new) LionelMPC@yahoogroups.com
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Posted by Ole Timer on Sunday, February 15, 2009 7:11 AM

Okay who's got the biggest boot and longest leg . A few years ago my cousin ... who worked for the local factory here all his life ... MARX .... had every train engine .. car ... and addon they ever made . Dumb me who knew nothing about them ... turned him down on everything for $200.00 ! They were all in original boxes . When I got on ebay and saw they were collectable later I about flipped . They were moving and his wife made him sell them . He nor I never saw ebay before then and did'nt know ... I was only into HO then .... Everytime I see or hear the word MARX ... I feel like banging my head on my desk .

       LIFETIME MEMBER === DAV === DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS STEAM ENGINES RULE ++++ CAB FORWARDS and SHAYS
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  • From: Central Washington
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Posted by Butte Helper on Sunday, February 15, 2009 11:07 AM

Thanks for the reply.  I've heard good things about that little 490.  As I recall it has a plastic shell.  From your statement I assume it runs through Lionel or K-Line switches? 

On my current layout I included a couple of loops of switchless 0-27 and 0-34 so Marx equipment can be run to my heart's content.  Of course the rolling stock can negotiate my Lionel switches on the rest of the layout, albeit with a slight lurch as the 4-wheel trucks somehow contact the center rail at the frog.  For the most part, though, it is barely an issue.

Four or five years ago I built a small (3' X 5') layout using all Marx switches, assessories, engines and rolling stock.  I used the old-style manual switches with the red and green circular targets mounted on the switchstands.  The layout design was pilfered from the "All Guage Model Railroading" website.  Granted,  some K-line structures showed up here and there, but I managed to capture the simplicity and feel of the old Marx layouts I built as a child.  Given the layout's small dimensions there was no need for electric switches and their accompanying wiring.  Everything was in easy reach.  Wish my current layout was that way.

Ray 

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Posted by baberuth73 on Sunday, February 15, 2009 1:45 PM

Marx fan here. Have 490, 1666 steamers and several 21 diesels along with all Marx 027 track and a couple of manual switches. I mainly like the 3/16 metal 8 wheel rolling stock but also have 4 wheel plastic. If a man of Louis Marx's caliber were in this hobby today we'd all be the better for it. Talk about getting much out of little, this fellow was a visionary! What I have was acquired through ebay for very little money ( I got my 1666 for 10 bucks and it runs beautifully and smokes,too. I was the only bidder). Marx, apparently, wasn't popular in my part of the country. You never see it at flea markets or advertised in the local trader publications, so ebay, for me, is the only way to go. I wish you much enjoyment with yours.

David

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Posted by traindaddy1 on Sunday, February 15, 2009 4:05 PM

Sign - Welcome   My first train set, around 1948, was a Marx. 

I have fond memories of a noisy steam engine, a coal tender that seemed to always derail, a boxcar whose doors kept falling off, a tanker whose top somehow got lost and a caboose whose back railing was always loose. The crossing signal's track contact had to be taped to the rail, two of the light tower's bulbs never did work, the switch tower stood at an angle after it was stepped on, the tunnel was held together with two paper clips and the tracks had to be joined by squeezing the tips of the rails together with pliers, sometimes not too even which often caused the train to jump. 

It was great!   In the early '50s, the set was "packed away". When I was in high school, I tried to dig it out of the closet but I could not find it.  Turned out that, even in its poor condition, it had been sold to meet family expenses.

Sad --  Smile  Two pieces never made the box.   A black and a red manual metal semaphore signal.  These are on my Lionel O27 layout today.  

 

    

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Posted by PhilaKnight on Sunday, February 15, 2009 4:31 PM

I love Marx. I like there early tin frieght cars I got about 50 of them. The realy beat up and rusty ones I put on sidings to look like old forgoten cars. But alot of my scratch built engines started as Marxs engines.

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This was my lasted Marx Frankinstien creation.

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Posted by jwse30 on Sunday, February 15, 2009 6:04 PM

Butte Helper

Thanks for the reply.  I've heard good things about that little 490.  As I recall it has a plastic shell.  From your statement I assume it runs through Lionel or K-Line switches? 

 

Ray,

I really can't recall if it will  make it through the modern switches or not. I think it's in that missing box somewhere in my train room that has a bunch of stuff I've been wanting to use lately. If I find it in the near future, I'll try it out and report back.

 

J White


 

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Posted by tcox009 on Monday, February 16, 2009 11:42 AM

Another Marx fan here.  I particularly like the pre-war UP streamliners

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Posted by Flatheadfred on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 10:01 PM

My first set. #518 windup set Christmas 1958Set #518

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Posted by dsmith on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 8:50 AM

I love the old tinplate 4 wheel Marx and collect and operate a small number of them and I enjoy  sharing all that I know about these well made and inexpensive toys.

Here is a video of my all Marx portable/storable layout.

I also collect and operate a number of Marx. Wyandotte and Hafner WINDUP trains.

Here is a video of my portable/storable windup layout.  A feature article on how I built the layout appeared in the December 2013 issue of OGR Magazine.

  David from Dearborn  

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Posted by marxalot on Monday, November 23, 2020 6:32 PM

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