Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Moundsville, West Virginia: Marx Toy Museum

Did you ever think you'd see one of your childhood toys in a museum? Me neither.

This is the place to find one of them. The Marx Toy Museum pays tribute to the glory days of one of America's leading toy manufacturers. The company was a leader in the industry, thanks to the good work of Louis Marx. If you grew up in the 1950's and 1960's, you probably remember the television commercials ... closing with "By Marx!"

The company didn't adapt well to changes in the industry, apparently. Also, it sounds like Marx's family wasn't a natural at the business. Marx Toys went through a variety of takeovers, buyouts, etc. and finally went out of business.

However, the spirit lives on at this museum. The Moundsville area was the headquarters for the company, although it also had a plant in Erie, Pa. Some of the toys have been saved and are on display. The place is filled with toy soldiers, service stations, Western gear, etc. A couple of DVDs are available to show visitors the history of the company, samples, prototypes and commercials.

Happily, the Rock 'em - Sock 'em Robots have a place of honor as you walk in. I must have had the toy at age 12 or so, and my friends and I would pound each other. Blocks got knocked off regularly, but sure enough we could pop them right back on again.

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