Category:Minex construction sets

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Märklin Minex graphic (MarklinCat 1939).jpg
Märklin Minex logo (MarklinCat 1939).jpg

Minex construction sets

1939 - 1940

Märklin's MINEX construction set system ("Der Neue, zeitgemäße Baukasten aus Lichtmetall") was a half-size aluminium "Mini-Meccano" that could be used to produce smaller models, but whose exactly half-size hole-spacing allowed the parts to be used interoperably with the full-scale Märklin Meccano / Märklin Metallbaukasten sets.

1939: The new contemporary lightweight metal construction set

The Minex concept

Minex appears in the German 1939 Märklin catalogue, where it is generously given a two-page spread across pages two and three at the very front of the catalogue, suggesting that Märklin my have had high hopes for the system.

The idea of half-size Meccano was inherently a good one - one of the criticisms of full-size Meccano-format systems is that in order to build a model with any real complexity, it has to be quite large, and requires a significant quantity of parts, which becomes quite expensive. Halving all three the dimensions of a strip would seem to require it to use only 1/2 × 1/2 × 1/2 = one eighth as much metal, meaning that for the same raw materials cost, the customer could be supplied with eight times as many of the smaller parts. Because the resulting models were so much smaller and lighter (with lower leverage forces across the structure) a manufacturer could get away with using lighter, less heavy-duty materials for some parts (such as aluminium alloy and Bakelite instead of steel), reducing the weight and cost even more.

The outbreak of WW2 in 1939 led to the discontinuation of toy production once the war had gotten fully underway, with manufacturing facilities turned over to war work. Minex seems not to have reappeared after the war, so it might only really have been produced and sold during the period between ~1939 and ~1940.

Märklin Minex vs Märklin Metallbaukasten


Plates, strips and angles were made of aluminium alloy, and nuts and bolts were a little larger than half size, at M2.8 (ref: Other than rubber wheels, the remaining parts were Bakelite. The clockwork motor 0301, available separately or as part of a presentation set 0301 G, had a red Bakelite casing.

There were three main sets (01, 02, 03), and a pair of upgrade sets (01A, 02A).

1939 catalogue text, translation:

With the miniature modular system MINEX-MÄRKLIN, metal building parts in the miniature realm have now also appeared. These new sets, however, do not just represent a reduction in the size of the existing metal-set, but in many respects are quite different from them, and unique in their design. In addition to the strips, angle brackets, screws and the like used in the other metal building blocks, the MINEX boxes contain, for example, easily bendable plates made of bright aluminium sheet and rubber tyres. Electrical parts such as coils, self-assembly of motors and electrical equipment allows the MINEX set to be properly experimented with, especially with the help of the newly created small motor No. 0301.

With regard to the material used for the MINEX sets, we also follow the general evolution of technology: strips and angle brackets are made of a strong and resistant aluminium alloy. Red powder wheels, yellow and red lacquered plates of steel-plate bring colour into the models, which guarantees a great strength due to the lightweight construction, and particularly quiet running.

The pieces in the MINEX boxes are exactly half as long as those of the existing metal sets so that the MINEX models only occupy 1/8 of the space – their weight is about 1/10 of the weight of the earlier models. The hole-spacing of the strips, plates, etc. of the MINEX box is exactly half as large as with the other metal sets, so there is a hole of a normal modular strip on every 3 holes of a MINEX strip, which means that the MINEX sets can also be used together with the rest of the metal parts, especially since the teeth of different gears are the same in both types of set.

A detailed illustrated guidebook for the construction of MINEX models with indications of their role models on a large scale is included in each set.

Sample Models

External links