|Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH
|Seat||Goeppingen , Germany|
|management||Wolfrad Bächle (Technology)
Florian Sieber (Sales and Marketing)
|Number of employees||1141 (as of December 31, 2015)|
|sales||112 million euros (2018/2019)|
The Märklin & Cie. GmbH is a toy manufacturer in the Swabian town of Göppingen . Today, Märklin is best known for its model railways and was the market leader in the European model railroad industry with sales of 117 million euros in the 2019/2020 financial year.
The company initially engaged in the manufacture of doll kitchens was founded in 1856 by Theodor Friedrich Wilhelm Märklin . He had lived in Göppingen since 1840, was self-employed as a flasher master and married (after the death of his first wife Sophie in 1857 from cancer) in 1859 Caroline Hettich, who worked in the company and traveled throughout southern Germany and Switzerland as a representative. She is said to have been the first female traveling salesman of her time. Theodor Friedrich Wilhelm Märklin died in 1866, but his wife was able to keep the company for their sons. Eugen and Karl Märklin took over the company from 1888 as Gebr. Märklin . The product range at that time included doll kitchens, carts of all kinds, models of ships , carousels , spinning tops and floor runners.
The company expanded through corporate policy and the acquisition of the tin toy manufacturer Ludwig Lutz in Ellwangen in 1891. In the same year the brothers Marklin presented at the Leipzig Spring Fair for the first time a railway as clockwork train with rail system in the form of an eight. The two entrepreneurs thus laid the foundation for the global success of the Märklin toy train. It is thanks to Märklin that the track widths of the models were also standardized during this time and that their basic features are still valid worldwide today. Until then, there had been differences in sizes among model railways that made it impossible to combine individual parts of different trains with one another, even if they came from the same manufacturer. At that time, Märklin itself used gauge 1 (scale 1:32).
In 1909 the product range comprised 90 different steam engine models, dollhouse and kitchen accessories, carousels, cars, planes, ships, spinning tops and metal construction kits. From 1926 the electric train with 20 V alternating current (initially still with an incandescent lamp as a "series resistor") was introduced, which allowed continuous operation without the running time limitation of the clockwork or the alcohol burning time. In 1929, colored parts were added to the black and brass-colored parts of the metal construction kits.
Over the years, the model railway has become Märklin's most important product. Fritz Märklin joined the management in 1935 . After Stephan Bing, who was CEO of Bing Werke AG until 1927 , took over the company Vereinigte Spielwaren Fabriken Nürnberg in 1928 and presented the first modern table train in nominal size 00 under the brand name TRIX Express at the Leipzig spring fair in 1935 , Märklin also followed suit with a table train at the autumn fair of that year in this size. There was already a table track from Bing with a gauge of 16.0 mm from 1922 to 1932, but it was not yet technically mature and reliable to be able to develop a full-fledged model train from it. With a scale of approximately 1:87, the nominal size 00 was only half as large as the smallest track 0 (1:43 or 1:45). In the years up to the beginning of the Second World War , TRIX and Märklin developed numerous technical innovations with which the practicality and play value of the 00 trains were increased, with which this size was able to conquer most of the model railroad market. The small space requirement and the comparatively low costs ensured that model trains could now be bought by a larger proportion of households.
The size designation 00 for the scale 1:87 was changed from 1950 to "half-zero", with the abbreviation H0 , pronounced "Ha zero", which is still used today . Due to the rapid increase in model railroad sales in the 1950s and 1960s, Märklin became one of the world's largest providers in this branch.
In 1969, the traditional size from 1891 came back into the Märklin catalog with the "new 1 gauge", but initially only designed as a fairway. A steam locomotive of the DB class 80 and a diesel works locomotive pulled the first passenger and freight cars of this old gauge in living rooms and gardens. From 1978 onwards, the size became more demanding, until 1984 the " Swiss Crocodile " was added to the range. In 1994, the 1 gauge experienced a renaissance of classic sheet metal technology as the "maxi-lane", a play area for children, the production of which was discontinued.
From 1984 a digital multi-train control was offered for H0 and 1 gauge. Up to 80 locomotives could be controlled independently of each other in a circuit using up to 256 turnouts or signals. In the meantime, computers can take over certain control tasks of the originally in-house control chips and the number of controllable locomotives and turnouts has risen to values that are rather utopian even for collectors and large systems.
In 1997 the company took over the previously independent competitor Trix from Nuremberg.
On the night of January 18, 2005, the company's own Märklin Museum was broken into. Historical 1 gauge exhibits , all 0 gauge vehicles on display, ships manufactured before 1910, as well as steam engines and irreplaceable 00 gauge prototypes were stolen. The oldest vehicle in the museum, the first locomotive from 1891, was also stolen. After the case was clarified in March 2005, the exhibits were on display again in the exhibition since May 2005.
On May 11, 2006, Gebr. Märklin GmbH was sold to the British financial group Kingsbridge Capital , a subsidiary of the Austrian Hardt Group, after a few years of falling sales and, most recently, losses . The new shareholders saw growth potential due to the brand's awareness, especially among collectors. In the medium term, a renovation and resale were sought. On February 1, 2007, Axel Dietz became managing director and partner in the company.
On July 26, 2007, the takeover of the insolvent company Ernst Paul Lehmann Patentwerk OHG , manufacturer of the Lehmann-Groß-Bahn , by Märklin was announced.
On August 22, 2007, the company Huebner Feinwerktechnik GmbH was integrated into the Märklin group of companies. All tools as well as the finished goods and spare parts warehouse went to Märklin. The delivery of the finished goods, the supply of spare parts and the repair service are carried out centrally from Göppingen.
On August 11, 2008 it was announced that the Chairman of the Management Board, Axel Dietz, would leave the company at the end of 2008. A successor was not appointed, the two remaining members of the management, Dietmar Mundil and Thomas Bauer, were given extended areas of responsibility by the advisory board. At the end of January 2009, Ralf Coenen was supposed to replace Dietmar Mundil, who was retiring for reasons of age, as managing director.
At the beginning of February 2009, close to the company's 150th anniversary, u. a. reported late payment in January wages. On February 4, 2009, the company was forced to file for bankruptcy at the Göppingen District Court after negotiations about the extension of loans had failed.
The company then continued its business under the insolvency administrator Michael Pluta, who appointed Kurt Seitzinger as the new managing director in February 2009. It turned out that in 2006 10.7 million euros in consultancy fees had been paid (with a loss of 13 million euros) and in 2007 another 13.8 million euros (with a loss of 16 million euros). Euro); a total of 40 million euros in consultancy fees had been incurred in the three years before the bankruptcy.
The company was represented at the Nuremberg Toy Fair from February 5 to 10, 2009 as usual. Despite the bankruptcy, the Märklintage for the company's 150th anniversary took place on September 19 and 20, 2009 with around 45,000 visitors. The venues were the Göppingen train station , the shipyard in the Stauferpark, the company premises of Leonhard Weiss and the Märklin adventure world. From September 30th to October 4th, 2009, the Märklin company took part in the Swiss toy and hobby fair, Suisse Toy .
On 4th / 5th December 2009 and on 17./18. In September 2010, Märklin organized open days in Göppingen and invited visitors to a factory visit. In November 2010, Stefan Löbich replaced Kurt Seizinger as managing director.
On December 21, 2010, 1,350 creditors agreed to the insolvency administrator Michael Pluta's insolvency plan. This laid the foundation for the company, which now belongs to the creditors (especially BW-Bank , Goldman Sachs and Kreissparkasse Göppingen ) and is again working with positive results, to become “healthy” on its own. However, around 400 jobs were cut for this purpose. In September 2011 Wolfrad Bächle became the second managing director of Märklin; since then he has been responsible for technology.
Due to an arbitration court ruling at the end of 2011, the American management consultancy Alix Partner was supposed to pay 14 million euros in damages for incorrect advice to the investor Kingsbridge. Märklin was facing bankruptcy in 2006 as a family business and Alix Partner advised the investor Kingsbridge at that time on the entry and checked the bookkeeping. In 2007 they announced the successful renovation and Alix Partner collected millions of sums every year for ongoing advice. Only later did the investor know that losses had been incurred from 2006 to 2008, so that bankruptcy had to be filed in 2009. The judgment against Alix also had a seminal character for the case law against management consultancies.
In 2012, Märklin achieved sales of 109 million euros, and EBIT was around 10 million euros.
Realignment since 2013
In March 2013 one of the founders of the toy manufacturer Simba-Dickie , Michael Sieber, took over the Märklin company together with the newly founded Sieber & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG . The majority of the 480 employees also agreed to amendment employment contracts, which provided for reductions in vacation and Christmas bonuses as well as wage increases for a further five years compared to the current IG Metall area tariff. In return, the employees received a job guarantee until 2019. On July 22, 2013, it was announced that Stefan Löbich is leaving Märklin.
Since the takeover, sales and sales have developed positively. Märklin tightened the core range, opened up new target groups, pushed ahead with the digitization of the range and expanded communication on the Internet. In the financial year (April 30, 2019), the company achieved an increase in sales of four million euros (compared to the previous year) to 112 million euros.
Company and market
The market for high-quality toys, especially model railways, has to assert itself among technically interested children and young people not only against the classic leisure topics of sport and model making , but also against the new play possibilities of digital devices. The company tried to counter this trend while maintaining its ties to the specialist trade by producing ever higher quality and elaborately processed actual collector's models that appealed to a wealthy public of advanced age. In some cases, this clientele was alienated again by bringing identical or similar models in many variants to the market at high prices. Collector models were previously characterized by a certain limitation. Anyone who wants to collect “completeness” as a Märklin collector must be financially strong. At the beginning of the 2000s, the total price of the products in a Märklin catalog of the most widely collected nominal size H0 was around 65,000 DM, of which the new releases amounted to around a quarter.
The company went its own way to control technology for model railways; the so-called Motorola format used by Märklin was for a long time exclusive, proprietary and with functional losses in terms of the sensitivity of the control of locomotives. It was therefore important to create a broader basis for the model railroad product (a Märklin manager coined the phrase “Whoever throws the first track in the children's room has won”): Märklin offered - as a break in tradition - beginner sets in the Christmas business at discounters on.
Märklin's competitors (mainly Fleischmann and Roco ) have basically the same problems. Except for Fleischmann, all of them have already worked abroad. For example, at Piko, all locomotives from the simple hobby program are manufactured in Asia. The production of part of the Märklin product range was also outsourced to the Far East, but was brought back to Germany or Hungary from 2010 (for details see production locations ).
On December 7, 2011, the subsidiary Märklin Engineering GmbH was entered in the commercial register. The company's purpose is to provide development services for Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH and external parties. The managing director is Martin Lingens.
Nominal size II
Nominal size I
As currently the second largest nominal size, Märklin has been offering an I-gauge range again since 1969 . Initially, the whole program was intended as a pure toy train in plastic construction, but was expanded from 1978 with the introduction of the P 8 (series 38) in the direction of a professional model train.
The takeover of the Huebner company in 2007 resulted in a significant expansion of the professional range.
Nominal size 0
From 1893 to 1954, tinny toy trains and accessories were also manufactured in Göppingen, mostly from tinplate .
From 1895 until the middle of the 20th century, the 0 gauge was the dominant model railroad size. The first vehicles were abstract replicas of real models. In the 1920s, the level of detail in the models increased. The old track 0 has a scale of 1:45 and a track width of 32 mm.
The development of the old 0 gauge vehicles at Märklin can be divided into four phases:
- Phase - 1890s to World War I.
- Phase - 1920s
- Phase - until World War II
- Phase - after World War II to 1954
These phases can be clearly seen on the models:
- Phase - different sizes and designs, different clutches
- Phase - "rounded" forms from the 1920s, style finding in design
- Phase - clear, modern, functional forms, replicas of real objects
- Phase - discontinued production, no innovations
After the "classic" 0 gauge was phased out in 1954, Märklin Railways offered the following models and ranges:
- The MINEX railway offered between 1970 and 1972 was a narrow-gauge railway in size 0e (scale 1:45), which ran on the existing H0 tracks (gauge 16.5 mm corresponding to 750 mm in the original).
- The "Emma" locomotive, manufactured since 2018 from the merchandise set for the movie Jim Button and Lukas the Locomotive Driver , is marketed as nominal size H0, but also corresponds quite exactly to the narrow-gauge size 0e with a slightly shortened scale of approx. 1:50 on H0 tracks.
Nominal size H0
The nominal size H0 on a scale of 1:87 has the largest share in the range and in sales . The H0 gauge, which Märklin introduced about half a year after Trix in 1935 , is the most widespread worldwide today.
In the H0 nominal size, the company is the market leader in German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) with a market share of around 50 percent. In the area of nominal size H0, there are two segments of approximately the same size - on the one hand the two-rail track system with several manufacturers, on the other hand the single-rail track system, which is dominated by Märklin. Märklin is the only full-range supplier in this segment.
The range includes a complete range of rolling stock, tracks, analog and digital controls, an overhead contact line system and other accessories in this gauge . The selection of rolling stock includes a wide range of models, mainly based on models from Germany , Austria , Switzerland and the Benelux countries. These countries also represent the main sales markets for Märklin. There are also some models based on prototypes from the USA , Denmark , Sweden and Italy , also scattered from other European countries, which are primarily intended for local collectors, some for export to Märklin fans there are.
Central conductor track system
While the majority of manufacturers offer models primarily for the two-rail track system in which the two insulated rails are used as conductors, Märklin uses a track system in which point contacts (originally a continuous middle rail) are embedded in the middle of the rails. The current is drawn from this insulated central conductor via the characteristic wiper on the underside of the vehicles. The system is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a three- conductor alternating current system , from a technical point of view the term central conductor track system is correct, as both rails are electrically connected and form a common conductor ( neutral conductor ).
The advantage of the system is a higher level of operational reliability, since the contact area between the locomotive and the rail is significantly larger than that of the two-rail system. Practical experience with both systems, for example in the large-scale plant operation in the miniature wonderland in Hamburg , does not confirm this statement, however, where all central conductor trains have a second grinder under the first car of the train. The symmetrical power supply also makes it possible to create track figures (e.g. reversing loops) without any problems, which in the case of two-wire track systems, due to the asymmetrical power supply, are only feasible with special circuits. Wheelsets in the two-rail track system are isolated on one or both sides, while this is not necessary with Märklin or may not be for triggering switching processes. Vehicles can therefore only be used on the other rail system with exchanged wheel sets - a service that the specialist dealer usually offers free of charge when buying a new vehicle.
In addition to the differences in the electrical system, the wheel-rail geometry of the central rail system also differs slightly from that of the two-rail system. The wheels are a little closer together and the flanges are slightly larger (1.4 instead of 1.2 mm). Both dimensions are far from being true to scale, which would require a flange of 0.36 mm, but reduce the risk of derailments. In particular, poorly designed two-axle wagons can usually not run on poorly laid track systems with low wheel flanges; Like stiffer traction units, they show an increased tendency to derailment. In America, lower wheel flanges are now the norm, and the changeover has been made easier by the almost exclusively used bogie wagons with at least four axles and without close coupling links.
For a long time now, most manufacturers have also been offering models for the single-conductor track system for the H0 two-rail track system. Conversely, after the end of HAMO production, Märklin sells its models via the subsidiary Trix in the two-rail system.
Track typology of the H0 gauge
The metal tracks ( M tracks ) shaped the image of the Märklin railroad for decades. In their original form from 1935, they consist of a light brown slope body made of sheet metal, onto which the rails are placed as solid profiles. In order to make the look appear noble, the track bed surface got a varnish coating. The center conductor was continuous. The products of the post-war period are somewhat different in appearance due to the lack of material in these years. From 1952, the solid profile rails were replaced by hollow profiles, without showing any visual difference - primarily in order to be able to offer the tracks at a lower price (0.75 DM compared to 1.25 DM for 1/1 track).
From 1953 a completely newly developed model track with inserted sleepers made of plastic and welded point contacts was offered. Due to the complex production, this track had a significantly higher selling price (1.50 DM compared to 0.60 DM for 1/1 track), which is why it did not gain acceptance on the market and was withdrawn from the market shortly afterwards. Instead, the old M-Track was upgraded from 1956 by so-called point contacts and continued to be produced for decades with only minor changes, such as revisions to the switches. A disadvantage turned out to be the susceptibility of the live and moving parts to rust if a model system is exposed to changing humidity. In 2000 the M-Track was taken out of the range.
The no bedding for ballasting own made K track ( K Legending PLASTIC-track) came in the late 1960s to the market and brought only the improved optical flexibly deployable tracks and extended "lean" prototypical fairer model railway turnouts. The slim turnouts were originally equipped with movable frogs, like modern high-speed turnouts of the prototype. Since the mechanism of the movable frogs did not work reliably in the long term, it was later switched to fixed frogs. After hollow profiles like those used for the M track were still used for the rails in the first few years, the switch to higher-quality full profiles made of stainless steel took place in 1982 , which increased operational reliability.
The C-Track has been offered as the M-Track successor since 1996. The produced with bedding essentially in plastic anthracite C Track combines high reliability (u. A. Impact resistance) with easy-to-handle and safe operation " C lick" compound (hence the name). In addition, it is easy to separate again, which is why it is also very suitable for carpeting. The C Track was developed from the so-called Track 2000 of the unsuccessful Alpha children's product line (from 1988 to 1996).
From 2011 to 2013, these C-tracks were also included in the child-friendly starter sets with battery trains as part of the My-World range. In 2014 this My World product line was split up. The battery trains are still available as My World , while the beginner-oriented items marketed under My World have been called Start Up since 2014 . As part of this division, the My World packs sold from 2014 will be accompanied by a new plastic track system that is not suitable for live model railways.
So that different track systems can be combined with one another, there are still transition tracks to buy from one track system to the other - the different versions of the metal track are compatible with each other.
From 1991 to 2005, Märklin relied on a product range called "HOBBY" (original spelling) in order to serve model railroad beginners and customers with less affluence. After mainly discontinued models in the hobby program had been offered for years, Märklin presented the 185 series model for the first time, a completely redesigned, relatively inexpensive locomotive for this range in 2004 . The program was officially discontinued as early as 2005 on the grounds that all Märklin items would be equipped "with the Märklin-typical features of operational safety, durability and value retention" - but hobby models are still in the range. As is now the case with various providers, new locomotive models in the lower price segment are being developed. Locomotive models of the series 24 , 74 , 89.0 , 146.1 , 185.2 and 232 were offered in the hobby segment . Since the beginning of 2011, Märklin Hobby products have been marketed under the “Märklin my World” product line, together with some (inexpensive) model kits. However, the prices for the Märklin hobby locomotives of the TRAXX locomotive family were the only ones in the entire Märklin range to be increased significantly. Since the beginning of 2014, the “Märklin my World” product line has been converted into a plastic rail, battery-powered train line. The Märklin AC Hobby products are now marketed under the “Märklin Start-Up” product line.
Millennium locomotive, Swiss platinum crocodile locomotive
At the turn of the millennium, Märklin presented an extraordinary and unique model of the crocodile for model railroaders: the millennium locomotive in H0 gauge . The housing is a from about 475 grams platinum made unique, each provided with an inserted Rubin as Rangierlichter at the two stems, cab windows real glazing, wheels made of stainless steel , rods of titanium , insulators made of ceramic, gold-plated contacts and conductors as well as with ruthenium grafted Chassis blocks. The production of the platinum components was carried out using so-called lost forms, such as in bell construction. Each of these individual components is therefore unique with the production number cast into each part. A presentation cabinet with a granite base was supplied with each model, and it was also delivered in a lockable wooden box with a certificate of authenticity issued to the buyer. As already described, each platinum case part was given the individual identification of the production number in order to guarantee the authenticity of a model. The special edition was only produced in 2000 and could only be ordered by name from a specialist dealer. A total of at least 119 copies were made, at least one of which has remained with Märklin (in the museum). In addition, the order had to be confirmed with a down payment of 18,000 DM to a trust account. The final price was based on the daily price of platinum. At the time of the announcement, Märklin had estimated a final price of 63,500 DM per model, which could then rise to over 90,000 DM, depending on the delivery date, due to the rapidly increasing platinum price at the time of delivery. The delivery took place in the order in which the order was received. Anyone who did not want to appear at the pick-up could send "their" dealer to represent them.
Nominal size N
At the end of the 1960s, Märklin had been working on its own model railroad in nominal size N , but abandoned the plans in favor of the even smaller Z gauge . A few hand samples remained, but these models never went into series production.
However, in 1997, with the takeover of Trix , the company acquired a larger range of nominal size N. Trix offers the N- scale model railways under the brand name MINITRIX .
Nominal size Z
In 1972, the company introduced the Z- gauge, which is 1: 220 scale, the smallest mass-produced model railway under the brand name mini-club . In 2007, however, this record was broken by the Japanese manufacturer KK Eishindo with the T gauge on a scale of 1: 450, which, after initially focusing on Japanese models, also made European models such. B. the ICE 3 , manufactures.
This plant was also closed in 2007 and production relocated to Győr. On the occasion of the works meeting on March 18, 2009, the insolvency administrator Michael Pluta announced that the Märklin branch, the Nuremberg production facility, would also be closed as part of the restructuring concept of the ailing Märklin company, which was implemented in August 2009. In this case too, production was relocated to Győr. The 1-gauge products are currently being produced there , since 2008 also the Lehmann-Groß-Bahn (LGB) and since 2009 some of the cars for the nominal size H0 (formerly the Sonneberg plant) and all Trix products (formerly the Nuremberg plant).
In addition to its own production, Märklin also purchases goods from suppliers. This made headlines in 2010 when the Chinese supplier Sanda Kan Märklin terminated the contracts. Sanda Kan is said to have been responsible for 25% of the Märklin production alone. This "production gap" (Handelsblatt) was compensated for by relocating production to its own plant in Győr and by other Chinese producers. In the 2012 group management report, prepared on May 13, 2013 and published on bundesanzeiger.de on July 31, 2014, Märklin announced: “In the medium term, additional production lines are to be brought back to Europe from China.” It also states: “The development of labor costs in China is being followed critically. Cooperation with other suppliers in China was also restricted in the 2012 financial year. ”The relocation of production from China to Europe sometimes led to delivery delays because molds were damaged, corroded or incomplete when they were handed over from China.
In 1984 the company was one of the first model railway manufacturers to introduce a digital system, the Märklin digital system (Motorola format), with which up to 80 locomotives can be controlled independently of one another, with each locomotive being assigned a specific address. The system has been improved over the years, so that in the end up to five additional functions could be switched per locomotive.
A digital system for the H0 two-wire system that was also offered by Märklin for Hamo shortly after the introduction of the AC digital system was withdrawn from the market after a few years due to unsuccessfulness despite better technical properties. The decoders of this system called "Märklin Digital =" can also be used with current DCC systems .
From 1992 the Märklin Delta system was offered as a cost-effective, upwardly compatible multi-train system for up to four, later five vehicles for beginners. It was a stripped-down version of the Märklin digital system, on the control side with a maximum of five vehicles that could be controlled at the same time and only one locomotive function at a time. Locomotives equipped with Delta can also be driven in the large digital system, with 15 different addresses available with the Delta decoder.
With the advent of "Märklin Systems", the production of these systems was discontinued.
Märklin Systems that are compatible with the previous Märklin digital system have existed since 2004 . The system has as a novelty u. a. limited bidirectionality: locomotives with the “systems” own, so-called “mfx” decoder automatically register with the control unit. The locomotives have a display in which the locomotives are named. Instead of a maximum of five, the new decoders now offer up to 9 (later 16) switchable functions; the number of speed levels was increased from 14 to 128, the number of locomotive addresses from 80 to over 16,000.
With analogous system components based on the same architecture, but according to the DCC standard instead of the Motorola format, Selectrix was replaced by "Trix System" at Trix in 2005. Märklin has thus gained a foothold with the DCC standard in the H0 two-wire system.
Just as the Märklin digital system is associated with the term “Motorola”, the “Trix System” is associated with the DCC standard (and the company Lenz Elektronik). The DCC standard is also specified in the internationally applicable standards of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) and the standards of European model railways (NEM).
The Märklin Group uses its own brand names for some markets. Some of these are formerly independent companies, some of them names specially created for this.
In 1988, the company launched the Alpha fairway. This was delivered with the newly developed "Gleis 2000" (gauge 16.5 mm according to nominal size H0), which was a forerunner of the later C-track system. The Alpha-Bahn was designed in cooperation with children as an "adventure train". For the railway there was the alpha locomotive, a fantasy streamline steam locomotive with tender, as well as low side cars , on which various precisely fitting modules such as crane, bus / passenger cabin, hovercraft container, power unit, etc. could be mounted using magnets. In addition, there were other models such as a truck, an expedition rover or a spaceship, whereby the truck trailer or spaceship could also accommodate the modules mentioned. The sets were delivered including comic backdrops for playing with jungle or desert scenes. The packaging was designed to be multifunctional. They were robustly designed as a transport case, so that all the material could find space in them. The packaging could also be used to play with the train. The transport cases served as a building, train station, tunnel or engine shed, and track packs could be used as a bridge. The hero of the alpha world was the so-called alpha inventor, a figure that was included in some products.
The Alpha World was not a great success from the start. As early as 1989, some products announced as novelties (hovercraft) were initially postponed and ultimately did not appear at all. Other campaigns such as the naming competition for the inventor figure remained without result and the inventor without a name. The product line was offered for the last time in 1995. Individual expedition rovers and trucks from the earlier Alpha series were still sold in the Märklin Museum under the GAMA label until the turn of the millennium .
From 1964 to 1968, Märklin sold train sets under the brand name “ANTEX” in the Netherlands and Belgium . In addition to a driving device and an oval track, the packs contained a single-version tank locomotive (based on Märklin 3029 or Primex 3020) and two stake cars. Customers could expand their ANTEX train with Märklin products if necessary.
From 1969 to 1992 the company sold simplified, but compatible model railway products for the customer segment of model railway beginners under the brand "PRIMEX". The orange-colored Primex packaging with a white print was striking. Primex products were mainly sold in supermarkets and department stores. Coordinated with this distribution channel, Primex was offered as a full range of track material, driving devices and a wide range of accessories such as buildings, figures, road vehicles and materials for landscaping. Most of the accessories were purchased from companies such as the Danish manufacturer Heljan . The track material corresponded to the M-Track from Märklin, but simplified in terms of color and limited in selection. As a further addition to the range, wooden toys were temporarily sold (around 1980).
The models offered under the name Primex were later adapted to the otherwise usual Märklin standard. In the end, largely or partially newly designed locomotives and railcars were presented. The brand name is still protected by Märklin today. The last models released under this brand name were
- a steam locomotive 023 033-4 of the DB - a replica of the locomotive 23 014 published in 1954 (item no. DA 800 or 3005), but with a more modern interior (delta module instead of the electromechanical switchover relay) - which was made in 2000 to maintain the Trademark rights and on the occasion of the anniversary this steam locomotive was reissued.
- an electric locomotive series E 44 of the Deutsche Bundesbahn, as well as a matching express train car set "Tin Plate", as a "reissue of a Märklin classic" from the 1970s. They were offered as a one-time series for the anniversary "50 years of Primex 1969–2019".
From 1994, attempts were made to add a toy train made of metal to the 1-gauge professional range with the “Märklin-Maxi” brand. The models were simpler and more robust than the other track 1 models and should address well worth playing and garden Suitability children as a target group and thus the LGB - garden railway to compete, but were not weatherproof unlike the LGB vehicles. After the Maxi range had been reduced considerably in the years after 1999, the “Märklin-Maxi” brand has not been maintained since 2005, although some models are still on offer.
A short-lived and largely unknown brand from Märklin is the Märklin MINEX train. From 1970 to 1972, a narrow-gauge railway in nominal size 0e on a scale of 1:45 was offered under this brand , which ran on the existing H0 track material. The name is derived from a pre-war metal construction kit with aluminum elements from the Märklin company; it was also used in 1976 for a variant of the Märklin-plus modular system. Designed as a fairway, this track was not a sales success, which, in addition to the unusual scale, may also have been due to the very high prices, which were only slightly below those of the 1-gauge track.
The brand name "Hamo" came from a company from Nuremberg , which was independent until 1963 and which was bought by Märklin. In 1966, under the name HAMO, Märklin presented the first two-wire direct current locomotive models with wheel sets and power take-offs for direct current operation. The modification of the models was as little as technically possible, which makes it easier to convert the locomotive into an AC locomotive, but has given the models a bad reputation among DC railroaders - in particular, (too) few wheels are often used for power consumption. In the mid-1990s, a separate HAMO digital system was introduced among the two-wire direct current systems, which had more speed steps and was thus even more powerful than the alternating current digital system (Motorola format). Since the acquisition of Trix in 1997, the brand name HAMO is no longer used, the HAMO "direct current digital system" (which was also a pulsed alternating current system, but with a different data format and which was standardized as DCC ) was no longer developed and the HAMO- Components then sold very cheaply after the decision to stop HAMO.
On January 1, 1997, Trix from Nuremberg was taken over with model railway assortments in the nominal sizes H0 and N as well as with the Trix metal construction kit . This was preceded by a cooperation over several years in which products in the H0 gauge were jointly developed.
Shortly afterwards, the production of the metal construction kit was discontinued, so that today only the Trix H0 and Minitrix (N gauge) segments are continued. The former was initially supplemented by DC versions of Märklin models with the weaknesses already known from Hamo. In the meantime, many of the improvements have also been incorporated into the AC models in reverse. Trix H0 was expanded to a full range from 2004 with a variant of the C-track for two-wire direct current. After the development of Trix Express products was initially stopped, more and more models for this system have come onto the market in recent years. However, the production of suitable track material is still suspended.
Märklin also markets its models based on US models in two-wire direct current technology under the Trix H0 brand. In order to ensure compatibility with products from the US model railway industry, the USA models are also available in versions with the usual wheelsets ( RP25 ) and couplings (Kadee).
The garden railway provider LGB was taken over by Märklin after its bankruptcy in 2007. The LGB production, which was located on Saganer Straße in Nuremberg, was relocated to Győr in Hungary. Marketing, sales, development, management of mold construction, customer care, plant construction, LGB Club, subscription management for LGB Depesche and LGB customer service were initially located in Witschelstrasse in Nuremberg together with Trix, the second traditional Nuremberg company. However, this production facility was closed in 2009 due to the Märklin bankruptcy. Today LGB customer service is located in the main factory in Göppingen. Production continues in Hungary.
Hübner Feinwerktechnik , a size 1 supplier, with whom Märklin has already worked in part, was taken over in 2007.
In 2011, Märklin launched the my World program to get three to six-year-olds excited about the railroad on a small scale again. Features of the rail vehicles are remote control, battery operation, sure-footed tracks without electrical circuit and magnetic couplings. Vehicle lighting, loudspeaker announcements, departure signals and warning whistles can be triggered by remote control.
The company has manufactured and offered various metal toy products from the very beginning. The company's history began with the manufacture of doll kitchens and doll prams. Most recently, in 2002, the company launched an almost 1 m long, buoyant model of the “Viktoria” passenger steamer.
Metal construction kits
Later designation: Märklin Metall
The Märklin metal construction kit is a piece of German toy history. Formerly a licensed product from the Meccano company , Märklin acquired the trademark rights in 1915 and started production with other colors in 1919. Märklin stopped the production of these metal construction sets at the beginning of the 2000s, except for special offers.
Märklin Plus was a modular system similar to that of Lego and Fischertechnik (made of plastic) and fully combinable with Märklin Metall. It was launched in 1973 but was discontinued as early as the late 1970s. The resemblance in places, especially with fischertechnik, led to rumors that patent disputes, among other things, were to blame, but in fact the sales figures in particular fell well short of expectations.
In 1934, Märklin began producing a toy highway with track-guided cars ( slot cars ). Due to tough competition, production was stopped again in 1938. As a competitor to the market leader Carrera , Märklin took up this market again in 1967 with the “Märklin Sprint” race track. The realization on a scale of 1:32 was dictated by the success of the Carrera racetracks. Despite the good name that Märklin brought with it from the model railroad sector, Märklin was able to gain a foothold in this area, but never compete with Carrera. After the slot cars slid into a crisis, Märklin stopped production of “Märklin Sprint” in 1982 after 15 years. “Märklin Sprint” still enjoys a good reputation among racetrack collectors and is one of the most popular collectibles after Carrera.
Metal Military Mission
In 2007, Märklin presented war toys again for the first time since the Second World War at the 58th Nuremberg Toy Fair . After the Second World War, the company decided to no longer offer such toys and followed this line until 2007. Under the name Metal Military Mission by Märklin (4MFOR) , models of German tanks and Bundeswehr military vehicles made of metal were offered. In 2010, Märklin stopped producing these models and has not offered any military vehicles since then.
Märklin Toys Spy Tec
Under the name “Spy Tec”, Märklin has been offering electronic agent toys for children from six years of age since autumn 2008 (under the management of Kingsbridge). With the agent equipment, consisting of a GPS alarm, 3D Lazer alarm, SMS messenger and base control, children should be able to play a modern version of robber and gendarme. Despite the names of the equipment, they do not contain GPS, laser or SMS functions. B. to simple light barriers. After the introduction in 2008, no new products from this line were presented, advertised or brought onto the market, so that it is de facto discontinued.
Märklin as a collector's item
Since the company is one of the oldest manufacturers of model trains and other toys , there are many collectors of Märklin toys. Individual objects, in particular locomotives from the pre-war period with the colors of foreign deliveries, sometimes fetch prices of several 10,000 euros at auctions. Even for old catalogs or original boxes, high prices are often achieved at auctions and collectors' markets, primarily for models from before around 1955. However, the often assumed increase in the value of all Märklin items is a misconception.
There are some specialist catalogs on the book market that try to classify the current market value of the models. The best known and recognized catalog is the so-called " Koll ". The “mikado Märklin Edition” is also of interest to collectors of the model series from before around 1965.
Since the model railroad hobby enjoyed great popularity during the years of the economic miracle , the number of units produced by each model rose sharply. Only a few limited series, such as B. the model of the Northlander from 1978, limited to 5000 copies , later reached top prices.
However, not everything that is manufactured at Märklin using old manufacturing processes is really old: At Märklin collectors are sometimes still served with special series of seemingly old-fashioned productions. One example is the double train sets produced in 1985 in printed sheet metal from the 1930s with the latest engine technology for the 50th anniversary of the H0 gauge. In 2000 there was a wagon pack with three sheet metal freight cars for the 100th anniversary of the Märklin Museum. The well-known Swiss crocodile with the item number CCS800 (later 3015) was also reissued in 1996 as a model for Märklin Insider, this time with a brown color, but technically almost identical to the models from the 1950s.
With the manufacture of the housing of many locomotive models in die-cast zinc , Märklin remains true to a tradition that trailers consider to be of high value and robust, but which critics regard as less detailed than the otherwise common plastic or composite construction methods.
Märklin Insider Club
Since 1993 the company has also offered its own club, the Märklin Insider Club . Members of this club receive a range of benefits for an annual fee: a subscription to the house magazine Märklin Magazin , the insider news published especially for members , a voucher for the annual catalog, and a special annual car , a freight car model specially produced for club members. Discounts with cooperation partners are also offered via the club card.
In addition, the company produces a one-time series of a locomotive or train model in each gauge every year, which according to Märklin advertising can only be purchased by Märklin insiders. The exclusivity of this "insider model" presented by Märklin is, however, not necessarily given in reality, as a large part of the currently around 90,000 members acquire this model. In addition, some dealers with surplus order forms order the insider models for free sale. Some of the models are also offered a short time later in the general range of goods, mostly in only slightly changed designs.
In contrast to classic model railway associations, however, the Insider Club is neither a real association nor are the members pursuing common goals, such as the construction of a layout. Märklin uses this club as a customer loyalty tool . Various meetings, which call themselves the Märklin Insider get-togethers , arose , but these were brought into being privately by members without the cooperation of the Märklin company.
The goal of giving the members a head start in terms of information could only be achieved to a limited extent, however, as the rapid spread of the Internet resulted in numerous web forums on the subject of model railways where the same information could often be obtained more quickly and free of charge. Although Märklin temporarily offered its own web forum that was only accessible to Club members, it did not work and was discontinued.
The Insider Club is also offered to fans of the Trix H0 and Minitrix brands, albeit under the name Trix-Profi-Club .
Märklin Start up Club
The Märklin Start up Club is the new form of the old “1. FC Märklin ”or the“ Märklin Kids Club ”. For a membership fee, members receive six booklets with small gifts. The contents of this issue are comics, posters, presentations of new products, tips and tricks and special reports. The cartoon character of the comic is always Tim Tender.
The children's club has its own website where members can view the current issue. A forum is also offered.
Märklin Dealer Initiative (MHI)
The Märklin Dealer Initiative, or MHI for short, was founded in 1990 under the leadership of the Märklin management. The majority of the German Märklin dealers are organized in it. By joining the MHI, the dealers have the opportunity to sell special editions, the so-called MHI models. This also includes the customer club models (insider club, professional club, LGB club). In 2014 there were nine voluntary regional boards who are elected from the ranks of MHI dealers, the electoral period is four years. Three each belonged to the area groups North, Central and South. This decided u. a. via the model selection of the news sheets mentioned in the exclusive news. The models are manufactured and also sold by Märklin on behalf of MHI. In addition to the models, the MHI also had marketing measures such as B. Shop window decorations or poster campaigns in which the MHI dealer should participate.
Toy and model railroaders who operate a system in nominal size H0 and largely use Märklin products are also referred to as Märklinists . This name is based on the previously different product philosophy of Märklin on the one hand and in contrast to the competition on the other hand.
The term originated when the company was one of the few manufacturers to offer vehicles for the single-conductor alternating current system, which is not compatible with the two-conductor direct current system of other manufacturers of nominal size H0. However, after some competitors from the field of the two- conductor direct current system (e.g. companies such as Fleischmann , Jouef , Liliput , Lima , Piko and Roco ) also launched traction vehicles for the single conductor alternating current system - wagons are usually made by the Exchanging wheelsets can be used universally - the only model railroaders who are increasingly referred to as Märklinists are those who largely limit themselves to Märklin products (such as tracks and rolling stock).
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