1930 Marx, Tri-Motor Army Bomber Monoplane in Original Box

1930 Marx, Tri-Motor Army Bomber Monoplane in Original Box

Every once in a while I'll find a toy that is so incredible just by the toy itself, its size, age, condition, etc., that I'll set up on a table and just stare at it! This spectacular Tri-Motor Army Bomber (low wing) Monoplane by Marx is just such a toy. With a wingspan of over 2 feet wide it's the largest toy airplane that the Marx company produced. It's also the only example I've ever seen and it's in unbelievable near mint condition. 

And on top of that it has its original gigantic box which has its own fantastic appeal.

I purchased this incredible toy during the Bertoia Auction sale of the Donald Kaufman collection of transportation toys. Considering the size of the toy it's amazing that it even exists. It may also explain why so few have been found. It was produced for only one year. 

Essentially it's a large lithographed tinplate pull-toy. Resting on its three wheels, the lucky child would yank on the string (which by the way is the original pull string). As it moves forward the three tri-motor propellers, with its 7" long center prop, would rotate. Simultaneously a loud clicking  sound is produced under the plane which simulates machine gun fire.  

The fuselage and tail are lithoed as speckled silver. Details are light and dark blue. This includes the insignias of the Army Air Corp and the Great Shield of the United States which are lithoed on the top center. The pyramid shaped nose accurately shows the pilot and co-pilot on both the sides and top.  

The forward sides of the fuselage (over the wings) show the navigator, spotter, and bombardier. The words "ARMY BOMBER" lithoed over a large fancy star occupy the rear half of the fuselage sides. The tail is striped and has the Army Air Corp insignia. 

The wings, which are removable, are lime green on the top side and light blue underneath. To avoid scratching the fuselage caution is emphasized whenever you remove or attach the wings. The wing engines with their eight circularly placed pistons use a series of wooden spools, rubber O-rings, a metal rod, and a wide weighted cylinder to rotate the props (see photo). The two main wheels are large, double sided, metal disks. The machine gun sounds are produced when a saw-tooth wheel connected to the main axle rotates over a clicker. More spools and O-rings were used to make this happen. And of course, these all tie in to the main propeller which turns in rotation to the wing props (i.e., all three turn at the same time). 

And then there's the box. It measures just over a whopping 2 feet long. The name of the toy was printed in large capitalized letters on two panels, but one panel has something I've never seen before. Several illustrations were printed which advertised other Marx toys! The "new" Amos N' Andy Fresh Air Taxi is prominently featured in the center. The Cross Country Flyer, Gertie the Goose, a large Climbing Sparkling Tractor, plus a five piece Transportation Assortment set were also included among others. The Transportation Set I've never seen before and I could find no reference to it. The box itself was professionally and beautifully restored by Randy's Toy Shop.

One additional note. Maxine Pinksy in her Greenberg's Guide to Marx Toys Volume II dates the manufacture of this toy as 1935. This is incorrect. Based on the toy illustrations found on the box there's only one year in which all of them could have been advertised concurrently. That was 1930. These same illustrations appeared in the Sears-Roebuck Christmas catalog from that year. By 1935 none of the toys pictured on the box were still in production.

Size: Bomber; Fuselage 25½", Wingspan 25½". Box 24" x 7 " x 7½". 

Sold: Nov. 2009

Price Sold: $ 835


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