Mechanical toy:Midget Special #4

Louis Marx & Company1950

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play
Rochester , United States

In the middle years of the 20th century, Louis Marx & Company produced about one of every five toys made in the United States. In 1955, in fact, Time magazine named Marx "the Toy king." For decades, the company produced a wide variety of toys-dolls, dollhouses, trains, cars and vehicles, toy soldiers and toy guns, action figures, and an immense variety of mechanical tin toys. The Marx company also produced some popular stand-outs like Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots, Big Loo, and the Big Wheel tricycle. Having worked for the Ferdinand Strauss toy company as a young man, Louis Marx gained enough experience to start his own toy company in 1919. The secret to the Marx's success was in offering a variety of toys similar in make-up to popular or successful toys produced by other companies. Marx, however, varied the toy enough to avoid charges of piracy and undersold the competition. Yearly alterations to his toys kept them in production for decades and thus held down per unit costs. Revenues for the company actually grew during the Great Depression, and they continued to rise in the 1950s and 1960s when Marx based many of its toys on popular television and movie characters. In 1969, Marx brought its iconic Big Wheel tricycle to the market, but the success of the ride-on could not forestall the sale of the business to the Quaker Oats Company in 1972; by 1980 Quaker had closed all of the Marx factories in the United States.


  • Title: Mechanical toy:Midget Special #4
  • Creator: Louis Marx & Company
  • Date Created: 1950
  • Location: USA
  • Subject Keywords: racing
  • Type: Transportation Toys
  • Medium: lithographed tinplate, metal
  • Object ID: 111.275
  • Credit Line: Gift of Diane Rogers in memory of H Don Rogers

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