Category:Märklin Metallbaukasten metal construction sets

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Märklin Metallbaukasten metal construction sets

Although Märklin's history of producing metal toys extends back into the Nineteenth Century, their metal construction toy range seems to have started in 1914, with their acquisition of the rights to produce and sell Meccano inside Germany, circa ~1914. The Märklin-branded sets were originally sold as as Märklin Meccano, and were then rebranded as Märklin-Metallbaukasten, eventually becoming known as just Märklin-Metall.

Meccano and Marklin

As someone whose early working background had involved import-export work, Frank Hornby had always had an international outlook in his plans for Meccano, and had planned to set up offshoot companies in the US, France and Germany. Although the French offshoot company was successful (outliving its parent company), the American and German offshoots were more unlucky. Hornby had planned for his son Douglas to be in charge of the German business.

Hornby initially extended his company's existing working relationship with Märklin, who were already distributing Meccano in Germany and across parts of Europe. Märklin also started manufacturing clockwork motors for Mecccano, with dual "Meccano" and "Märklin" stamped markings, and Frank set up an office and warehouse in Germany for local manufacture of Meccano parts for the German market. Märklin's distributorship of Meccano before World War One probably explains why they were one of the few large toy companies not to try producing their own construction set system during this period – While Bing had their Structator system (1913-) and even Richter (Anchor Blocks) attempted to get into the metal construction sets business, Märklin were already making money from distributing the market's most popular (and apparently, best) system, Meccano.

When the First World War broke out in 1914, Frank Hornby was caught out. He'd never believed that the two great industrial powers, Britain and Germany, would actually go to war, and he's supposed to have only narrowly escaped being stranded in Germany, reputedly escaping the country on the last train from Berlin before the border closed (his German Office Manager being less lucky, and spending the War interned).

The assets of the German company were seized by the State, and then acquired by Märklin, who continued to sell the existing stock under the name "Märklin Meccano".

Marklin-Metallbaukasten / Marklin Metall

After the War ended, Marklin still had the rights (inherited from the ill-fated German Meccano company) to manufacture and sell the Meccano sets, but Meccano Ltd. apparently argued rather strenuously that even if Märklin had the right to make and sell sets based on the Hornby patents, they didn't have the right to call their products "Meccano", as this implied that the results were produced with the blessing of Meccano Ltd. – they could make the sets, but couldn't use the trademark, or have their packaging suggest that their sets were somehow endorsed by the UK company.

Black-finish Märklin spanner

Märklin set about redesigning the box artwork and manuals and started to enthusiastically reinvent what parts they could ... although there wasn't much that one could do to change the rounded-ended strips or plates, wheels and gears could be redesigned, and Märklin Metall's new wheel designs and large gears gave the German-produced "variation" on Meccano its own distinctive identity.

Märklin's distinctively-different large wheels in blue and in black, fitted with their innovative push-fit sprung metal "gearwheel sleeves"
1936: Märklin-Metallbaukasten Set Number 5 (colour)

Märklin continued selling the Märklin Metall system until 1999.

Range

The following listing is based on the contents of the 1936 catalogue. Most of these sets were available in either a black finish ("S") or painted in colours ("F"), with the "S" and "F" presumably standing for "Schwarz" and "Farben".

A collection of brass and black-finish Märklin parts

Main Outfits (1936):

  • 00 F, 00 S – 94 parts
  • 0 F, 0 S – 123 parts
  • 1 F, 1 S – 173 parts
  • 2 F, 2 S – 311 parts
  • 3 F, 3 S – 487 parts
  • 4 F, 4 S – 707 parts
  • 5 F, 5 S – 1081 parts
  • 5 HF, 5 HS – 1081 parts, in locking wooden case
  • 6 F, 6 S – 2467 parts
  • 6 HF, 6 HS – 2467 parts, in locking wooden case

Supplementary sets

As with Meccano sets, owners of the Märklin sets could by incremental upgrade sets to convert one set into the next set above it (00 AF / 00 AS to 5 AF / 5 AS. The largest upgrade set, No.5, was packaged in "A" and "B" packs. 4A- and 5A- also came in "H" variants, in a wooden locking case.

Accessories (1936):

  • 101/1 Transport Accessory Set for outfits Nos. 1-3, 200 parts (dredging buckets, railway wheels, etc).
  • 101/2 Transport Accessory Set for outfits Nos. 3-6, 400 parts
  • 102 F 102 S Wall and Grandfather Clock Accessory Set, 71 parts. Requires clockwork motor and Outfit 3 or higher
  • 103 N Electric Wall and Grandfather Clock Accessory Set, 71 parts. Requires and Outfit 4 or higher
  • 105/1 F 105/1 S Machinery and Bridge Accessory Set for outfits Nos. 1-3, 150 parts
  • 105/2 F 105/2 S Machinery and Bridge Accessory Set for outfits Nos. 3-6, 300 parts
Transport Accessory Sets, 105/1 and 105/2
Machinery and Bridge Accessory Sets, 101/1 and 101/2

Motors and electrical parts

  • 201 F Clockwork Motor for outfits Nos. 0-3, coloured
  • 202 S Clockwork Motor for outfits Nos. 3-6, black
  • 202 F Clockwork Motor for outfits Nos. 3-6, coloured
  • 401 F Convertible Steam Motor (small), coloured
  • 402 F Convertible Steam Motor (large), coloured
  • 1301 M Electromagnet for Crane
  • 1301 Electric Motor
  • 1301 MF Electric Motor, coloured, motor only
  • 1301 MY Electric Motor, coloured, with transformer Y for AC operation, motor and transformer only
  • 1301 F Electric Motor, coloured, with accessories
  • 1302 F Electro-Motor-Magnet and Light, with accessories, colour

Sample Models

See also:

External links

modern reproductions



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