c.1949 Marx, Busy Miners in Original Box

c.1949 Marx, Busy Miners in Original Box

Extraordinary example of this very popular post-war (version) tin litho clockwork toy. Extensively detailed and beautifully designed lithography. Unused and definitely the highest grade example of both the toy and box I've seen. 

The toy works using a spring activated kicker mechanism. Every time the car rolls down the ramp it strikes a kicker lever inside the lower building. A large gear ticks off one "tooth" which releases the kicker to move the car back up the ramp. It works only when the lever is struck giving it an inordinately long running time. This idea was used by Marx as well as their competitors. It works beautifully, but I tried it only a few time to avoid scratching. 

It's loaded with surface details. Each little lithographic image has its own story. The upper yellow operations building shows men at various stages of work. The back side was lithoed with a gaping hole in the ground and a "Danger" sign posted nearby. The white building on the lower end represents the mine entrance. A man facing the tracks pears out through the window to watch the the miners descend. The rear shows three engineers developing new plans. Another window shows an office with a secretary filing papers. The sides of the track sections are dug-out and supported with wooden upright beams. Several men can be seen digging, picking, or carrying dirt/coal.  The incline track was lithographed with rails and ties. 

The small two-man mining car also has an amazing amount of detail. The sides were lithoed with wooden slats and handles in the center. The corners are reinforced with steel plating. The two miners kneel in a crouching position. This is very authentic since most coal mines were no higher than four feet tall. 

The original box has a stark, almost art-deco poster-like appearance. Most of the illustrations are flat (i.e., no shadowing) and only primary colors were used. It shows an accurate representation of the toy on both main panels. The sides and endflaps were printed with the toy name, and manufacturer name and address.

Production of this toy was halted in 1941 and reintroduced around 1949. This later version was produced for several years and it's this version that most collectors identify with "Busy Miners". The pre-war version had very little detail and the two end buildings are mostly brick. The track surface is blank and the miners have become silhouetted figures without any details. The box was plain text. 

Size: 16" long x 4" tall.

Sold: May 2009

Price Sold: $ 392


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Subject: c.1949 Marx, Busy Miners in Original Box

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