#19 Marklin Spur 00 Miniature Railway [1938 - 1943]
1938 "Perfect Reversing System"
By 1938, the Marklin’s 00 Scale was already well established with the 700 series locomotives and train and was ripe for technological improvements. One of these improvements would be found in the reversing system of the locomotives. The locomotives of 1938 were equipped with the “Perfect-Reverse” system which allowed for remote reversing without the need of a separate devise. The 280 A transformer had a small red button on it which, when pushed, would change the direction of the locomotive. The 800 series reversing a system is shown below:
1938 New 800 Series Reversing System
The ingenious use of an electromagnet cleverly reverse the direction of the locomotive by use of a cylindrical device with contacts on it which changes the direction of the current. The electromagnet is concomitant under village when the locomotive is running put only moves the cylinder when the voltages exceed approximately 18 volts. A hand reversing switch is also located in the rear of all 800 series locomotives. The motor housing and hand reversing lever are shown here:
Marklin 800 Series Motor Housing
Along with changes to the internal reversing components, the chassis frames were altered dramatically to make room for the new reversing system. While the frames of the 700 series locomotives integrated the gears and motor housing all into one, the 800 series made it separate. This design change perhaps allowed for a greater diversity in the wheels arrangements possible for Marklin locomotives. A triebwagen two-motor car like the TW 800 could use the same motor as a steam locomotive HR 800 even though their designs and wheel arrangements are very different.
The boxes from 1938 – 1943 also looked much different from their predecessors. The boxes now featured a pattern design with Marklin’s “bicycle” logo and the stylized Marklin text. This Commonly featured an orange and white label for the locomotives and a white label for the passenger cars. See the Guide to Boxes for more information.
The year 1938 also marked a new series of export models. 800-Series models such as the HR 800 LMS and the SLR 800 LNER were German outline locomotives painted in British livery (either LMS or LNER). The first locomotive produced strictly for an export market was also introduced, the infamous E 800 LMS. Today this locomotive is highly sought after by many collectors because the locomotive was only available to customers of Great Britain. Other trains like the 342 and 343 Speisewagen and Schlafwagen cars were overpainted for the British market and market “LMS” above the 342 or 343 inscriptions. Such cars are also good indicators of the different couplers Marklin used during the years of 1937 and 1938 (the years the 342 E LMS was produced). Below, a picture of two 342 E LMS cars; one with nickel-plated claw coupler of 1938 and the other with a black claw coupler of 1937. In addition to having different couplers, the two 342 E LMS cars from different years are quite distinguishable from each other despite being just one year apart.
Comparison of couplers of 342 E LMS
It is also very important to note the differences not only technological improvements within the time period 1938 – 1943 (700 series to 800 series), but also its contrast between the next time period known as “Postwar.” Here I will explain the common production methods of the lat 1930s (Prewar) in contrast with materials produced directly after the war (Postwar). It is important to note, however, that these changes occurred gradually. Some of the items which are described as “Postwar” are actually from 1945 because Marklin commonly used Prewar leftovers. Here some examples of Prewar / Postwar production methods in the transitional phase:
Comparison of Prewar / Postwar wheels
SK / HR 800 front trucks Postwar (top-left) Prewar (bottom-right)
Post war 350/340 series "Guss/blech" trucks (top-left) Pre war "Vollguss" truck (bottom-right)
Postwar 353 roof and prewar 351 roof
350 series roofs under UV-Lamp
1943 and the Effects of War
By the summer of 1943, toy production was greatly reduced to just a few product lines. The production and manufacturing effort was greatly reduced because of the war (scarcity of resources, reduced availability of labor, etc.) and most capabilities were directed towards war production. A transformer box for model Nr. 270 A and an O-Gauge Model Nr. 2728G/6 figure set box which have date stamps of 1943 indicate that some toys were produced in 1943 but the scarcity of boxes with these stamps indicates that toy production was limited and most likely halted after the 1st quarter of 1943.
Marklin 270 A 110V Transformer -- 1st Quarter 1943 Production
Marklin 2728G/6 Figure Sets O Gauge -- 1st Quarter 1943 Production
Many parts from pre-war production as shown above such as the pre-war roof and the pre-war SK 800 truck were actually found used again in the post-war years, most notably SK 851 sets from 1945. The bruniert version of the SK 800 distributed for American GIs often contained pre-war parts such as the front truck supports, front/rear trucks, motor housings, and tender shells (pre-war green tenders for the SK were over-painted black). The metal wheels also resembled pre-war ones. The differentiation between pre-war and post-war production challenges even the most experienced collectors because the same tooling from pre-war years might have been used again in early post-war times. Sometimes the best method is to then look at the metal itself and determine the quality and finish of the metal: post-war parts tend to be more "rough," unlacquered, and suffer from zincpest because of poor quality metal.