Women of Marx - Miniaturesandhistory

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The women of Marx
By this we obviously do not mean the women of the philosopher M. or the brothers G. Marx, but those of one of the largest toy factories in history, the American Louis Marx and company.
The founder, Louis Marx, worked at the beginning of the last century for an American toy manufacturer. But soon he did not like it and after some incidents (Louis must have had a not too easy character) he is fired on the spot. He becomes a professional soldier and remains in the army until the end of the 1st World War to start his own company in 1919 where wooden toys are made. Soon the few products he makes are a huge success. Louis has a skill to improve existing products. Especially to produce them much cheaper and to bring them to the market at lower prices. Marx is still called the inventor of the yoyo in many books. However, the yoyo existed already but Louis knows how to produce them more simply and massively. In less than 10 years he manages to sell one hundred million (!) of them. Within three years, Marx is already a millionaire and in the twenties the company is taking a huge flight with the slogan 'more toys for less money'.
All kinds of toys are made. From (tin) trains to doll houses, from model cars to the most diverse games.

A lot of plastic
After the Second World War, with the introduction of endless series of plastic toys in mass production, the growth continues. In the fifties the company is the largest toy supplier in the world with many factories, especially in the US and a few abroad. It is the best-known brand in America. Every American knows the company Marx and has something of it at home.
In those years, the first series of toy soldiers also make their appearance. Together with forts, tanks and all kinds of other accessories. And here too, much for little money. At a castle the many knights are already there and the same goes for cowboy forts, Roman arenas, the Alamo etc. Every era in history, and the future, can be obtained as a complete set (playset) and also in many different scales.
In the 1960s the decline began, mainly due to the strong competition of even cheaper products from China. In 1972, Louis Marx sold his company, which was already in serious trouble. He even can see  the closure of the very last Marx factory in 1980 before he dies in 1982.

Campus cuties

Campus Cuties
In the early sixties the sale of the playsets drastically decreased. Instead of that, more and more individual figures are coming on the market. Soldiers and action dolls for the boys, more and more character dolls like Barbie for the girls.
With a whole new series Marx hopes to find a new market: unpainted larger female figures that can be painted: the series Campus Cuties. Two series of 8 different figures will appear. They are sold individually, with the painted examples on displays in the shops. These are fairly large figures of about 15 cm high, cast in cream-colored, soft plastic. The first series is quite successful, while the popularity of the second series is waning.
Detailing is beautiful and the complete series gives a nice  impression of the clothes from the early sixties.  The figures were made in the US and in a Marx factory in Wales. The English version has a different name: Teenage Cuties. Each figure has its own name that refers to the worn clothing.
After the bankruptcy of Marx in the early 1980s, the moulds of the first series disappeared to Mexico. Here the figures are made in hard (white) plastic for a long time.

American beauties
Another series of Marx's female figures is surrounded with some question marks. This concerns 8 different plastic scantily clad women of about 7 cm high. It is known that for the dolls houses of Marx a few larger figures were made but what exactly the purpose of this series was is a mystery. According to a few collectors, the company would not have dared to bring them to the market and, at the most, use them as promotional gifts. The latter is doubtful, however, in view of another promotional gift that already existed in this form.
They also date from the early sixties and, certainly for that period, can be called reasonably 'mischievous'. Scantily dressed, in bathing suit in somewhat challenging poses. The detailing is striking and in terms of figures they belong to the top of what has come from the Marx factories. They are also called Bathing Beauties and Marx 'Pin-Ups in literature about Marx. Under these names they can still be found on Ebay.
With the molds of these figures, it went like that of the Campus Cuties: they went to Mexico in the early 80's. The figurines are therefore still available in reasonable quantities in the US at low prices, often in the most dramatic colours.
A Promotional gift
We know for sure that one miniature was never intended for sale: a lying, completely nude female figure with some Rubens-like features. According to former employees of the firm, this figurine would be made especially for the founder himself. He used it in the 1960s as a promotional gift. Good relations then got this little figure in their hand when they left. Whether the story is true can not be verified, but if it is true, this has been a much more original business gift than a ballpoint.
The mould of the figurine ended up in Mexico and are available via ebay.
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