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Louis Marx & Company

Company

Louis Marx and Company was a toy manufacturer in business from 1919 to 1978. Being one of the most respected, recognized and popular names in antique toys, it is highly sought after by collectors. Louis Marx & Co. was founded in Brooklyn, NY by Louis Marx. Marx worked for F.J. Strauss from the time he was sixteen until he was twenty and during this time he worked his way up to manager. In 1919, Strauss and Marx had a falling out and Marx decided to start his own business at 200 Fifth Avenue in New York City. With little money, machinery, patents or customers, he built his company with motivation. A couple of years later, Louis' brother David joined the company to run the operations side of the business. Using the slogans "Quality is not negotiable" and "Give the customer more toy for less money," they quickly became the world's largest toy manufacturer. 

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Louis Marx and Company was a toy manufacturer in business from 1919 to 1978. Being one of the most respected, recognized and popular names in antique toys, it is highly sought after by collectors. Louis Marx & Co. was founded in Brooklyn, NY by Louis Marx. Marx worked for F.J. Strauss from the time he was sixteen until he was twenty and during this time he worked his way up to manager. In 1919, Strauss and Marx had a falling out and Marx decided to start his own business at 200 Fifth Avenue in New York City. With little money, machinery, patents or customers, he built his company with motivation. A couple of years later, Louis' brother David joined the company to run the operations side of the business. Using the slogans "Quality is not negotiable" and "Give the customer more toy for less money," they quickly became the world's largest toy manufacturer. 

With quality designs and marketing campaigns, Marx had very little need for a sales or advertising department. He had three US plants and from 1937 to 1967 he had a plant in the UK. Growth was reliable up until World War II because factories had to be used for the war effort but Marx quickly bounced back post-war.

The 50's saw rapid growth for Louis Marx & Co. with Marx producing 20% of the toys in the US and had factories in over ten countries. Linemar and Distler are examples of the overseas companies that existed under the Marx umbrella. In December of 1955, Time magazine wrote an article about Louis Marx, referring to him as "The Toy King" and revealed that his advertising budget was a mere $312. With $30 million in sales and a portfolio of over 5000 products, Marx earned the title. 

Marx's advertising strategy changed with the large adaptation of television. Their first advertising campaign was over the summer of 1959, further establishing Marx as a household name.

In 1979, Marx was 76 years old. He negotiated the sale of his company to Quaker Oats for $52 million. Just three years later, Quaker turned around and sold the company to England's Dunbee-Combex, who managed to keep the business afloat until they filed for bankruptcy in 1980. American Plastic Equipment of Florida resurrected the Marx name by acquiring the company's assets in 1982, and intellectual rights in 1988. By then, collector markets caused a huge increase in the value of Marx toys which inspired a reissue of the toys.

In 1995, a new entity, Marx Toy Corp., was established in Sebring, Ohio. The legacy continues as the new company has begun manufacturing from molds built by Marx as well as other prominent toy companies of the past, hoping to revive some of the earlier magic of Marx. Louis Marx died in 1982 at the age of 85, however, his memory long remains in what he has left us.

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