Farm Collector

Collecting and restoring Marx wind-up toys

Photo by Perry Cozlahr

It was neat to see Sam Moore’s article about Sears catalogue toys in the January 2021 issue of Farm Collector. What caught my eye was the part on Marx wind-up climbing toy tractors. I have been collecting and repairing them for more than 25 years. 

I now have about 60 of them, all different and most in working condition. Disassembly and repair is a lot like restoring old farm tractors (another hobby of mine), robbing parts off of old salvage toys to make one good toy out of two. I have concentrated on toys from the early 1930s to 1950s because they are all made of steel (no plastic). Marx made several variations of the tin drivers over the years and matching the right one to the proper tractor took a lot of research.

One of the biggest challenges was coming up with a way to restore the “sparking” mechanism for the exhaust. This consists of a little abrasive wheel and flint that causes spark to come out of the exhaust on some models. I can now do it!

This has been a fun hobby over the years. Young readers have seen these toys. However, you probably need to be over 70 years old to have played with one as a child. Always amazed me that Marx could ship in the raw materials, manufacture, lithograph, assemble and ship them across the U.S. and sell them for 59 cents each!

Perry Coziahr, Cambridge, Indiana 

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  • Published on Mar 9, 2021
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