The French Métro and Marklin 3190
The metro system in Paris, France is one of the busiest in Europe today, coming just after Moscow which currently holds first place. This metro system was first adopted on April 20, 1896 when the Fulgence Bienvenüe project began. Just four years later, the first line was unveiled during the Paris World’s Fair on July 19, 1900. The first line was Maillot-Vincennes and was the first line of an ongoing metro system that continues to develop and advance to this day.
There are many entrances to these metro stations that exist today, they are scattered around Paris with almost 100 still existing, dating back to the early 1900s. View the picture of one on a Paris streetcorner below.
Because of this extremely important and historic event, Märklin modeled a famous French Métro set that was produced from 1908 to 1909. The set usually consisted of two to three metro cars that had two sets of double sliding doors on each side. The cars were powered electrically and some carried small lamps on the ends of the cars. Being that this métro set was only produced for two years, the cars are very scarce and information on them is extremely limited. Although a few of my referance materials point to pictures of this model, it seems there were possibly different versions produced. For example, in a Christie’s auction catalog, the window arrangement is 4 window – 1 Door – 3 window – 1 Door – 1 window. However, in an auction from 2008, we can clearly see a similar model with the arrangement 3 windows – 1 door – 2 windows – 1 door – 1 window. Perhaps cars of different lengths and colors were available.
See the gallery at the bottom to view some pictures of this rare example.
From the early 1900s on, Marklin produced several different types of trollies, trams, and rail cars. The largest, a Spur I Third Avenue street car that cannot be found in any catalogs, but was produced in 1914. Some District Line London Underground cars have also been found powered by clockwork motors in 1910. Ultimately, these types of cars were only produced up until the time before the 1920s where Marklin shifted production and began making steam locomotives in Spur I and O.