Home : 140 Years of Märklin - Chapter 3
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    140 Years of Märklin >> The "Märklin Awakening" After 1925

    The end of the war brought with it, too, the need for a change of direction in policy concerning what sort of models were produced. Paring down of the range meant the wide II and III gauge railroads disappeared. The development of the company's electric railroads really got going in 1925 when the 20-volt system was introduced. The model designers turned increasingly for their inspiration to the German Reichsbahn (German State Railroad) founded in 1920 for its locomotives and rolling stock, and also the whole field of accessories.

    Noted toy historian Gustav Reder has called the years after 1925 those of the "Märklin Awakening" - meaning an ever-clearer tendency towards producing true-to-life models, the first steps on the road to real model railroads. Märklin's "Reichsbahn era" between 1927 and 1939 brought a whole fresh impetus. By 1929 the number of employees had risen to 900. At the beginning of the 1930s the Bing company ceased toy production, automatically making Märklin the market leader as the Nuremberg company of Karl Bub - with its cheap mass production - was not seen as a serious competitor.

    140 Years of Märklin >> A Byword For Model Railroads

    It was during these years that the term "Märklin railroads" became a byword for model trains among the public at large. For various reasons, including increasing controls on raw materials, the years after 1935 brought renewed paring down and reorienting of the product range. Toys not part of the railroad products were cut back more and more, and the whole range of gauge 1 products was given up in favor of an "OO gauge miniature railroad" - the name given to the table-mounted railroad introduced in 1935. This novelty, available as a ready-integrated system, rapidly became so popular that by 1939 it already had an extensive program. Märklin began using new technical procedures such as zinc die casting, first in locomotives, coach trucks, wheels and accessories. Between 1948 and 1955 freight cars were also produced completely under this method.

    140 Years of Märklin >> From Tinplate To Plastics

    The Second World War brought a new enforced break in toy production. Mercifully the firm's production plant escaped any direct effects of war. Richard Safft died in 1945 and Eugen Märklin in 1947. Herbert Safft took his father's place as managing director. Soon after the war ended model railroad production started up again, at first for export only. While the OO/HO range was extended as fast as possible, O-gauge models saw greatly limited production. In 1950 manufacture of the "wide-tracks" in lacquered tinplate stopped altogether. The tinplate era was at an end. Plastics largely took over in the range of materials used. Now the company dedicated itself almost exclusively to developing and perfecting the HO railroads which established themselves equally as trains to play with ("because the system's so clear" as the German advertising said) and as first-rate models. This dual strategy - seen through largely by the efforts of Fritz Märklin before his death in 1961 -clearly helped towards the world wide success enjoyed by Märklin's HO railroads.

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