Category:Märklin Bathroom

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

As a followup to the original C19th range of toy kitchen equipment that was made up the bulk of the original Märklin product range, Märklin went on to branch out into producing toy bathrooms. In light of Märklin's longstanding tradition of metal toymaking, kitchens and bathrooms shared the property that their furnishings were typically painted or enamelled metal or ceramic, meaning that they could be manufactured with a highly realistic finish in painted metal – a domestic living-room, filled with wood, fabrics and wallpapers would have been a much more problematic product range, and the company seems to have decided instead to continue emphasising the company's image as being the premier metal toy company, rather than diversifying too far.

1931: catalogue image of the 8619' bath unit

Features

Substantially sized, the larger sets came prefitted to their own tinplate floors and walls, with working plumbing and taps, a water-tank concealed behind the wall, and a storage sump tank below the floor to catch the resulting waste-water. The largest Märklin bathroom set, 8599-B was a particularly wonderful piece of Art Deco gloriousness, with painted and printed cream tile-effect walls, and a pull-chain to operate the recessed shower.

Contraction of the range

Although they were rather lovely, the full top-of-the-range Märklin bathrooms were something of a niche, "flagship" product – the market for expensive stand-alone doll bathrooms was probably limited, since dollhouse furniture enthusiasts often preferred their rooms to be set into a full dollhouse rather than as disconnected rooms, and although one could theoretically build a Märklin bathroom into a larger dollhouse, with the outlet plumbing running below the floor surface the shape if the room might not be a natural fit to an existing house, and the possibility of leaks if the bathroom unit's inlet and outlet wasn't properly plumbed into the dollhouse's water supply (!?), causing all-too-realistic water damage, might have been rather alarming. For some dollhouse enthusiasts the process of decorating, furnishing and arranging the rooms was also a major part of the fun, which one missed out on when buying a single-piece ready-finished room with fixed-position accessories and plumbing.

Märklin also produced individual toilets, baths and washstands, but the smaller and less integrated a piece was in order to be more flexible, the less there was to differentiate between the Märklin product and its competitors. Was it better of have "premium" bath with raised tile-effect floor surround, splash wall, concealed tank and fittings? Or would people prefer just a simple stand-alone bath, that could be fitted anywhere and that would go with any bathroom decor? Märklin produced both.

1939: the 8618 P bath (in two sizes, with or without shower), the final remaining member of the range that appears in the 1938 and 1939 catalogues

The company had built up a fairly substantial range in the early 1930s, but product line rationalisation meant that by the time of the 1938 and 1939 catalogues this had shrunk to just the basic 8618 bath without floor or wall, in two sizes (/19 and /28, 19cm and 28cm long, respectively). However, Märklin could still console themselves with the knowledge that at least both baths could still be considered "premium" products compared to most other companies' offerings, as the "P" versions did still incorporate a working pump-action shower unit.

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