Dolls Houses Revisited: Marx

Before we get to the dolls house stuff let me give a quick history of the Marx Toy Company for those who might not be familiar with it.

Louis Marx and his brother David founded the company in August 1919 in New York. Their mission statement was to “give the customer more toy for less money,” they believed that quality was not negotiable. Louis Marx began as a toy distributor while he learned as much as he could about different types of toys, how they were made and how they could be made more cheaply. Once he was able to raise the funds he bought the tooling equipment to make two obsolete toys from a previous employer. The Marx’s soon became successful as their re-imagined toys gained in popularity. They established factories in Erie and Girard Pennsylvania and Glen Dale West Virginia as well as in the UK and over time many other countries including Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Japan. By the 1950s Marx was the largest toy manufacturer in the world.

Marx listed six qualities he believed were needed for a successful toy: familiarity, surprise, skill, play value, comprehensibility and sturdiness. 

I found this information on a very good site called the Marx Toy Connection. If you’d like to learn more about the company I’d recommend reading it. I’ve left a link at the end of this post and below.

Marx produced dollhouses from the 1920s into the 1970s. In the late 1940s Marx began to produce metal lithographed dollhouses with plastic furniture (at the same time it began producing service stations). These dollhouse were variations of the Colonial style. An instant sensation was the “Disney” house, featured in the 1949 Sears catalogue. The popularity of Marx dollhouses gained momentum, and up to 150,000 Marx dollhouses were produced in the 1950s. Two house sizes were available, with two different size furniture to match; the most popular in the 1/2″ to 1′ scale, and the larger 3/4″ to 1′ scale. An L-shaped ranch hit the market in 1953, followed by a split-level of 1958. Curiously, in the early 1960s a dollhouse with a bomb shelter was sold briefly.

Here is the interior o a Marx tin litho house that belongs to Flickr use Donna Cazadd.

My Dollhouse
Photo by Flickr User Donna Cazadd

Naomi has a couple of Marx dolls houses and we have a lot of Marx furniture. Marx made a huge range of dolls houses at their factories in Erie and Girard Pennsylvania as well as lots of other types of toys. Marx made a fantastic range of furniture and accessories for Sindy too.

Marx Swansea Cottage

When Naomi was a little girl she had a big old wooden dolls house but for some reason our parents decided that it was too dangerous to play with and it was disposed of. Instead she was given a small tin lithograph house. It turned out that it was quite an interesting house made by Marx. It is interesting because as far as I know it is the only house that they produced specifically for the British market. It is called Swansea Cottage and it is based on the Marx Bar M Ranch. Marx also produced another variation of this house called the “Happi Time Cottage”. It was marketed as a cottage/farmhouse and came as part of a playset. I’ve put a link to a very interesting page about Marx houses at the end of this post. Unfortunately I can’t find a free to use photo of this version of the house.

Marx Split Level House

The Marx Split Level dolls house.

This is the Marx Split Level dolls house. It is another tin lithograph house, a very big one. It was produced in the 1960s and is in the 1:24 scale.

Here is some Marx bedroom furniture set up inside my Chad Valley dolls house. This furniture is currently inside the Triang 61 but you can see it better here.

Marx Traditional Bedroom suite.

There is at least one other house that I think might be Marx but I’m not sure. I can’t find a photo that looks exactly like it. I’ll have to wait till Naomi gets home in three weeks and ask her if she remembers what it is. However, I will show some pictures of some other Marx dolls house furniture. These are old photos from earlier posts but later we may take some more.


Marx Toy Company History

Welecome to Marx Toy Connection



  1. Love the dollhouses, photos and really grateful for the links. In the past couple of years I have started collecting (more like finding & playing with) dollhouses . Your post is motivating as always.

    Liked by 1 person

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