1931 Marx, WWI Turn Over Tank in Original Box

1931 Marx, WWI Turn Over Tank in Original Box

This diamond shaped pressed steel WWI design tank was only the second produced by the company. Selling for $1.59 through the 1931 Sears catalog it features several improvements over the 1930 model. Foremost, it sold for 20¢ less in 1931 (although this was still a lot of money).

This example still has its original discounted price of $1.39 penciled on the box. It also featured a powerful clockwork motor which could not be overwound, a hook for pulling loads many times its weight, a governor to regulate speed, long running on one winding, heavy duty stop/start switch, and sturdy construction. It was available for only one year, most likely because of its price. 

This is the first working and complete example of this tank that I've found with its original box. The narrow white rubber treads are almost always broken, loose, or completely missing. The pair on this example are complete and original to the toy. As with nearly all 75 year old natural rubber objects, they've hardened with age and can no longer revolve despite its strong working motor. In my opinion it's more important that the toy is in excellent condition, works, is complete, and is all original compared with rotation of the treads. 

The tank is all silver. It has one top gun, two side guns, and a bottom gun. Like the actual WWI American tank it was patterned after,  it could run right side up, or upside down. To accomplish this the top and bottom guns were tucked in below the height of the treads. It is not a sparking tank. 

It's original 1930 patent indicated that as it met an tall obstacle it would start to climb, turn over, and then try again. The angle was such that in its new position it could easily climb over the obstacle. This is depicted on the side of the box. To exemplify this claim the Marx logo was identically lithographed on both the top and bottom of the toy. This way it would appear correct no matter which side was up.

The toy also featured wedge mounted embossed side guns, embossed turrets, and an attached cast iron key. One of the box endflaps was factory perforated to pop out creating a hitch. It also had a hole which would fit over the tow hook. Kiddies were instructed to cut open the top of the box and fill it with whatever they chose. The box would hitch onto the tank hook and pull the weight of the box and contents....uphill! Because of this few boxes exist today. 

The box was manufactured thick, single wall cardboard to support the weight of the toy. The text style, the illustrations, and layout give it an early art deco flavor. The front panels show a single panel schematic promoting the tanks operation. Side panels depict its climbing abilities. One of the endflaps was replaced (see last box photo). All four inner flaps include schematics and directions for the tank's operation.

Size: 9" long, 3¾" tall. Weight 1¼ lbs.

Sold: Feb. 2007

Price Sold: $ 265


Send Comments

Email Address:
Confirm Email Address:
Subject: 1931 Marx, WWI Turn Over Tank in Original Box

security code