1934 Marx, Smokey Joe the Climbing Fireman in Original Box

1934 Marx, Smokey Joe the Climbing Fireman in Original Box

Over 80 years ago the Louis Marx Co. became the first U.S. company to produce a wind-up clockwork figure that would actually climb a miniature ladder. Based on an early Victorian French toy conceived by Fernand Martin it would be manufactured for another 30 years in at least five different versions,

This all tin litho Smokey Joe was the very first Marx design. It's in excellent+ condition, works great, and comes completes with its extraordinarily scarce original box.

Joe is a true clockwork toy requiring five different gears to make his trip up the ladder. Once wound, a stop/start switch protruding through his backside controls the toys' release. The legs and feet move one over the other, while the hands fit loosely through the vertical rungs.

A complicated five step list of instructions plus two schematics are printed on both sides of the box. This is the first example of this toy that I've seen with rubber stops. Riveted through the ladder poles about 1/3 of the way up from the base are two rubber rings. In case "Joe" looses his grip, rather than sliding into the base, the rings smoothly stop his plunge. 

The clockwork motor works well, although I only wound it a few times to make sure it operated and climbed a few rungs. The ladder is two pieces which come apart in the center. A pair of wire rods permanently fixed to the base fit into holes in the side of the ladder. Unlike the directions which indicate that you have of choice of using one of three pairs of holes (for different angles), this ladder has only one set of holes.  

The original box features a full panel, two color, illustration of a fireman climbing a ladder through heavy smoke and fire. A silhouette of a second fireman peers from a window below. As mentioned, the side panels are printed with a schematic and lengthy five step directions

Size: Fireman 7½", Ladder 23" tall. 

Sold: Ju. 2006

Price Sold: $ 315


Send Comments

Email Address:
Confirm Email Address:
Subject: 1934 Marx, Smokey Joe the Climbing Fireman in Original Box

security code