Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH or simply known as Marklin, is a toy company that is based in Germany. Even if it originally began as a manufacturer that specialized in making dollhouse accessories, it became famous for making model railways as well as technical toys. In fact, in some parts of Sweden and Germany, Marklin is almost synonymous with model railways.
A Brief History of Marklin Toys
Marklin is based in Göppinge, Germany, and it was founded by a man named Theodor Friedrich Wilhelm Märklin in 1859. Since then, up until the last century, Marklin specialized in manufacturing dollhouse accessories and different toys for girls. However, today, Marklin is mostly known for its model railroad toys, particularly in the G, Z, and HO Scale, all considered a typical garden railways design.
Marklin experienced over a century of success. The company survived two world wars while expanding its product range as well as improving its technical sides each step of the way. But, just like other family-owned toy company, Marklin’s stability did not last forever.
In 2009, the company faced a growing debt and slumping sales, which is why Marklin filed for insolvency. In 2013, Marklin was acquired by a company called the Simba Dickie Group, and it was the second owner of the company since its founding over 150 years ago. Since then, Marklin acquired several other famous toy brands such as Trix and LGB. They all eventually have become part of the Marklin family.
Marklin’s Steam Engine and Tinplate
During the late 1800s, Marklin was able to acquire another toy manufacturing company called Lutz. Since then, the company’s production expanded, and it now includes a range of scale model railway toys. Marklin decided to standardized the train’s gauges and developed both clockwork and steam-powered train sets.
In 1935, Marklin introduced 00 scale miniature train sets that are much more affordable than the larger gauges they produced in the previous years. The first motors during this time include the electric RS 700 and steam R 700. As the years passed, Marklin decided to expand the range of 00 scale models and have some unique variations which are targeted at the export markets such as in Great Britain and America.
However, when World War II began, some of the company’s plans off course. That is why making a 00 Scale crocodile train model was put on hold until after the War. Marklin’s production during that time became more focused on the war effort. The production of train models and other toys slowed down due to the lack of available raw materials.
Marklin Vintage Train Sets
In 1960, Marklin was popularly known as the manufacturer of HO scale trains. Nine years after, Marklin once again made many of its one scale models, and this move sparked the people’s interest in this larger scale. This interest continued when the Marklin Maxi line was introduced and supplemented with other G-Scale model trains. However, these sets were exclusively produced in Germany, and for the kids and adults who want to get their hands on the Maxi Line series, they have to wait for someone to bring it back to them abroad after servicing in the military in Germany, or they have to purchase the models through mail-order catalogs.
Today, almost all Marklin trains can be operated digitally, and some of the models even have sound functions. Nevertheless, Marklin’s attention to detail and quality assurance still remains a hallmark of all the toys that exits Marklin’s factory floor.