Deep Dive: Exploring the Exhibits

Marx Railway Express Toy Truck, circa 1940

This green tin truck is the Marx Railway Express, manufactured in 1940. The design of the truck features yellow and red outlines painted to indicate the doors, handles, hood, windshield wipers and lights on top of the cab. The bumper, underside and wheels are painted solid red. The design on the side of the trailer features two red diamonds, one stating "Air Express, Railway Express Agency, Inc." with what appear to be eagle wings, and the other saying "Railway Express Agency" which echoes the same statement on the lower portion of the trailer. The center of the side features a globe with text wrapped around it saying "Nationwide - Worldwide", and beneath it saying "via Rail - Air - Sea", and to the let of the globe it states "safe, swift, sure". Next to the visible rear wheel is a handle utilizing the hi-lift tailgate it features on the back, with operation instructions featured in the white box on the lower-right corner of the trailer.


Louis Marx and Co. was an American toy manufacturer that operated between 1919 and 1980, headquartered in New York, NY, and named after its founder, Louis Marx. They specialized in tinplate lithographed toys, as well as models that utilized plastics and wood.


What's interesting about their logo, which featured the letters "MAR" with an X through it, is that it resembled that of a railway crossing. This was fitting especially since Marx was producing its first newly designed model train line, beginning in 1934. The following years saw models such as the Union Pacific M-10000, the Commodore Vanderbilt, the Canadian Pacific 3000 and the Mercury enter into the market. Tin plate sets were manufactured until 1972, with plastic sets beginning in 1952 and concluding in 1975.


Additional toys included tinplate buildings and structures, soldiers, dinosaurs, mechanical wind-up devices, guns, action figures, and of course cars and trucks such as the Railway Express vehicle within our collection.

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