|Industry||Toys and metal goods|
|Founder||Ignaz and Adolf Bing|
|Products||Toys (especially toy trains and toy steam engines)|
Typewriters (models: Bing and Orga Privat)
Bing or Gebrüder Bing ("Bing brothers") was a German toy company founded in 1863 in Nuremberg, Germany by two brothers, Ignaz Bing and Adolf Bing, originally producing metal kitchen utensils, but best remembered for its extensive lines of model trains and live steam engines.
The company produced fine pewter and copper tableware before embarking on toy production in 1880, their first teddy bears were released in 1907.By the early 20th century, Bing was the largest toy company in the world, and Bing's factory in Nuremberg was the largest toy factory in the world. Although Bing produced numerous toys, it is best remembered today for toy trains and live steam powered toys. In addition to toys it made scientific and educational novelties, and a huge range of kitchenware, tableware, office equipment, record players, electrical goods and so on.
The "Nuremberg Style" of manufacturing toys on steel sheets with lithographed designs that were stamped out of the metal, formed, and assembled using tabs and slots, was perfected by Bing. This manufacturing method remained in widespread use well into the 1950s, long after the Bing company had been dissolved.
Bing's first trains hit the market in the 1880s. When Märklin formalized several standards for track gauges in 1891, Bing adopted them, and added O gauge by 1895 and gauge III (2.5 inches), causing confusion as Marklin Gauge III became Bing gauge IV (3 inches). In the early 1920s, under the auspices of Bassett-Lowke, Bing introduced a still-smaller gauge, half that of '0' at 0.625 inch, which it called OO. However, Bing's OO gauge at 4 mm scale became a British standard, larger than the 3.5 mm scale on the same gauge of track favoured elsewhere.
Bing produced numerous items for export which were then sold either under its own name or for other companies. Bing produced trains styled for the British market for Bassett-Lowke and A. W. Gamage, and it produced trains for the North American market, which it exported and marketed on its own. Early in the 20th century, Bing jockeyed for market share with the Ives Manufacturing Company, who did not surpass Bing in sales for good until 1910. Throughout their histories, the two companies would frequently copy one another's designs. In some instances, the two companies even used the same catalog number on their competing products. Due to cheap German labor and low shipping and duty costs, Bing was often able to undercut the prices of its U.S. competitors. By 1914, Bing had 5,000 employees. By comparison, Märklin employed 600.
The range of live steam engines included stationary engines, railway locomotives, road vehicles and boats. Steam engines were made throughout most of the company's history. From the start they made stationary engines and mobile models. The stationary models were generic in outline, not really representative of particular prototypes. Mobile engines were more recognisable and the more expensive versions could almost be classed as scale models, albeit inaccurate. The Railway locomotive versions were often very similar in outline to their clockwork and electric models.
World War I forced Bing out of the export market while the company was at its peak. In 1916, Ives and the A. C. Gilbert Company formed the Toy Manufacturers Association and lobbied to protect the growing U.S. toy manufacturing industry, which had grown in the absence of foreign competition. As a result, tariffs on German toys rose from 35 percent to 70 percent. Additionally, the death of the company's founder, Ignaz Bing, in 1918 created a void in leadership.
German wages rose after the war, as did shipping costs and inflation. This created an unfavorable climate for German exports. Meanwhile, the Lionel Corporation produced advertising that criticized the manufacturing methods of its competitors' trains. Although targeted mainly at Ives, this ad campaign also hurt Bing's image because Bing's methods were so similar. Bing struggled to sell through its old inventory and misjudged demand. When the market evaporated for its 1 gauge trains, it re-gauged some models to O gauge, where they looked oversized, and re-gauged other models to Lionel's Standard gauge, where they looked undersized.
Despite these setbacks, by 1921 Bing had re-established itself in the U.S. market, largely via sales through the catalog retailer Sears, Roebuck & Co. However, by 1925, Lionel was also selling through Sears, and Bing quickly found itself squeezed out of the market. Bing attempted to compensate by increasing its presence in Canada, where it competed with mixed success with American Flyer.
By 1927, Bing was in serious financial trouble and the company's president, Stephan Bing, and his son, left the company, initially going to work with another Nuremberg-based toy firm.
In 1932, Bing was in liquidation, and the Bings, who were Jewish, fled to England because of the rise of Adolf Hitler. The company went out of business for good in 1933. Much of its tooling was acquired by Bub, a rival toy company.
Stephan Bing helped to start the British company Trix. Other Bing executives started the similarly named company Trix Express.
Bing toys, kitchenware, and other products can be identified and dated by variations in the company trademark.
There is a private collection of Bing products in the Historic Toy Museum at Freinsheim in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Railway modelling or model railroading is a hobby in which rail transport systems are modelled at a reduced scale.
LGB stands for Lehmann Gross Bahn - the "Lehmann Big Train" in German. Made by Ernst Paul Lehmann Patentwerk in Nuremberg, Germany, since 1968 and by Märklin since 2007, it is the most popular garden railway model in Europe, although there are also many models of U.S. and Canadian prototypes. LGB caused a revival of garden model railroading in the United States when it was introduced. LGB is sold in North America through Wm. K. Walthers, who took over from Ernst Paul Lehmann's subsidiary, LGB of America, when Märklin bought the LGB assets. Most of the European prototypes were manufactured in Germany, while much of the North American rolling stock was made in China. Production was later moved to Hungary.
O scale is a scale commonly used for toy trains and rail transport modelling. Introduced by German toy manufacturer Märklin around 1900, by the 1930s three-rail alternating current O gauge was the most common model railroad scale in the United States and remained so until the early 1960s. In Europe, its popularity declined before World War II due to the introduction of smaller scales.
HO or H0 is a rail transport modelling scale using a 1:87 scale. It is the most popular scale of model railway in the world. The rails are spaced 16.5 mm (0.650 in) apart for modelling 1,435 mm standard gauge tracks and trains in HO.
Standard Gauge, also known as wide gauge, was an early model railway and toy train rail gauge, introduced in the United States in 1906 by Lionel Corporation. As it was a toy standard, rather than a scale modeling standard, the actual scale of Standard Gauge locomotives and rolling stock varied. It ran on three-rail track whose running rails were 2+1⁄8 in apart.
Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH or Märklin is a German toy company. The company was founded in 1859 and is based at Göppingen in Baden-Württemberg. Although it originally specialised in doll house accessories, today it is best known for model railways and technical toys. In some parts of Germany and in Sweden, the company's name is almost synonymous with model railways.
A toy train is a toy that represents a train. It is distinguished from a model train by an emphasis on low cost and durability, rather than scale modeling. A toy train can be as simple as a toy that can run on track, or it might be operated by coal or a steam It is typically constructed Wooden train from wood plastic or metal Many of today's steam trains might be considered as real ones as well, providing they are not strictly scale or not enough detailed ones in favor of a robustness appropriate for children or an inexpensive production.
Z scale is one of the smallest commercially available model railway scales (1:220), with a track gauge of 6.5 mm / 0.256 in. Introduced by Märklin in 1972, Z scale trains operate on 0–10 volts DC and offer the same operating characteristics as all other two-rail, direct-current, analog model railways. Locomotives can be fitted with digital decoders for independent control. Model trains, track, structures, and human/animal figures are readily available in European, North American, and Japanese styles from a variety of manufacturers.
Bassett-Lowke was an English toy manufacturing company based in Northampton. Founded by Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke in 1898 or 1899, that specialized in model railways, boats and ships, and construction sets. Bassett-Lowke started as a mail-order business, although it designed and manufactured some items.
Bachmann Industries is a Bermuda registered Chinese owned company, globally headquartered in Hong Kong; specialising in model railroading.
Meccano Ltd was a British toy manufacturing company, established in 1908 by Frank Hornby in England to manufacture and distribute Meccano and other model toys and kits created by the company. During the 1920s and 1930s it became the biggest toy manufacturer in the United Kingdom and produced three of the most popular lines of toys in the twentieth century: Meccano, Hornby Trains and Dinky Toys.
Sir William Stanier's London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) Class 4P 2-Cylinder 2-6-4T was a class of 206 steam locomotive built between 1935 and 1943. They were based on his LMS 3-Cylinder 2-6-4T.
Trix is a German company that originally made Trix metal construction sets. One of its co-founders was Stephan Bing, the son of the pioneer toy-maker industrialist Ignaz Bing. In 1935 the company began producing the electrically powered model trains that it became famous for, under the Trix Express label. Prior to the outbreak of World War II the company produced a small range of AC powered three rail loco models running on bakelite rails.
Trix model construction sets were originally produced in 1931 by a Nuremberg company, Andreas Förtner (Anfoe). The German patent for the basic Trix pieces had been granted the previous year, in 1930.
The Adler was the first locomotive that was successfully used commercially for the rail transport of passengers and goods in Germany. The railway vehicle was designed and built in 1835 by the British railway pioneers George and Robert Stephenson in the English city of Newcastle. It was delivered to the Bavarian Ludwig Railway for service between Nuremberg and Fürth. It ran officially for the first time there on 7 December 1835. The Adler was a steam locomotive of the Patentee type with a wheel arrangement of 2-2-2 or 1A1. The Adler was equipped with a tender of type 2 T 2. It had a sister locomotive, the Pfeil.
Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke was the son of Joseph Tom Lowke, a Northampton boilermaker and his wife, Eliza, and is noted for having founded the firm of Bassett-Lowke which specialised in producing construction sets, and model railways, boats and ships. He was married to Florence Jane Jones on 21 March 1917.
The Clyde Model Dockyard was a famous toy and model shop in Glasgow. Established in 1789, it was located at 22–23 Argyll Arcade. The firm manufactured a range of boats and sailing yachts, but were probably best known for their 0 scale model railway stock and accessories.
The Historic Toy Museum in Freinsheim in Germany is a private collection of old toys.
Ignaz Bing was a German-Jewish industrialist, naturalist, poet, and memoirist.
Ernst Plank was a German manufacturing company. Started in 1866 and named after its founder the company initially built toy steam engines and magic lanterns at Hochfederstrasse 40 in Nuremberg. Ernst Plank was one of the first companies to produce toy steam engines and became famous for its copper and tin toys. The company manufactured stationary steam engines along with steam railway engines and track. Some railway carriages and accessories were produced alongside Märklin. The company suffered during the economic crisis in the 1920s, losing the majority of its market significance. The company was sold in 1934 to brothers Hans and Fritz Schaller, who gave up the production of toys to focus on the optical market. Toy trains of the company based in Nuremberg are highly collectable in part due to their rarity. The company continued to produce movie projectors for home use, finding a lucrative market in the 1960s and 1970s. The development of video cameras drastically reduced the market especially for Super 8 film. In 1985 production was discontinued.
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