Marx Lane
An Inventory of Marx Playset Figures and Accessories
Manufactured from 1951 to 1979

 
Appendix Q - Doll Houses
Contents of this web site may not be reproduced or duplicated for use on the Internet or for commercial purposes without permission by Eric Johns.


Doll Houses
Table of Contents

(click on name to move to section)
Houses and other structures
Furniture
Figures
Accessories
     
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Collectors can debate long and hard as to whether dollhouse sets are also play sets.  I'll reserve judgement on that, but at the same time will include this page on the web site.  With many thanks to dollhouse guru-ess Larraine Elcock I have managed to put together this page to show a good deal of the Marx dollhouses and accessories.  Those wanting more information should go to Ms. Elcock's page at
 "All Dolled Up" .

Houses and Other Structures

     Houses

Marx made a lot of dollhouses!  I am not even attempting to show them all on this page, but you can go to Larraine Elcock's "All Dolled Up" to see most all of them.  Below are photos of a few typical houses that Larraine has allowed me to copy from her web site.  I greatly appreciate her generosity.

One of Marx' earliest tin litho doll houses was this 1949 Colonial style house, the style that the company used most often, remodeling it several times over the years.  This first one has a side garage with a patio on top of it.  The rooftop patio was found on many of the Marx Colonial houses.
Colonial style with garage
Photos courtesy of Larraine Elcock from All Dolled Up

One year later in 1950, the Colonial had been re-modeled with the garage converted to a laundry room.  Meanwhile, a rec room was added to the other side of the house, with a breezeway attaching it to the main house.
Colonial style with breezeway and rec room
Photos courtesy of Larraine Elcock from All Dolled Up

In 1953, Marx sold a T-shaped ranch house that sat on a large base.  Part of the base's back created a patio in the backyard with flowers and a small pond.  The house also had a hard-to-find TV antenna that is not shown in the photos below.  Several of the Marx houses had similar bases to show landscaping, both front and back.
T-Shaped ranchhouse
Photos courtesy of Larraine Elcock from All Dolled Up

In 1959, Marx jazzed up the Colonial style by adding columns to two new doll houses.  Below is the larger one with dormer windows on the roof.  The smaller version had four columns spaced more closely together and did not have the wide base that allows a pond, seen on the left of the first photo below.
Colonial house with columns
Photos courtesy of Larraine Elcock from All Dolled Up

The company's Marx-A-Mansion released in 1961 was the largest doll house manufactured by Marx.  It included a Florida room (on left in second photo) and had curtain rods for actual curtains.  
Marx-A-Mansion (commonly called the Marxie Mansion)
Photos courtesy of Larraine Elcock from All Dolled Up

One of the final doll houses created by Marx was a ranch house with a lift-off roof.  Introduced in 1965, the structure had all four walls, so there was no inside view from the back, only by lifting off the roof.  It's a hard one to find in today's market.
Rancher with lift-off roof - front, back, and inside
Photos courtesy of Larraine Elcock from All Dolled Up


     Other Structures

         Fencing and hedges

I am not sure how many or which dollhouses came with the fencing shown below.  However, it is an extremely well-made fence with three different pieces, as shown.  The fence also included tab holes so that you can either 1) insert a 90-degree turn in the fence or 2) continue the fence in a straight line at the end of any piece you wish to do so.

All pieces are 6-1/2 inches wide, plus the two small tabs to connect with the next piece.
Fence piece with gate
Gate does not open.
Fence piece with light pole.
Fence piece Corner of fence piece with two sets of tab holes, one to continue fence in a straight line and another to have fence turn 90 degrees.

Photo not available - we could use yours!
Hedge piece

          Swimming pools

Photo not available at this time -- we would welcome yours! Photo not available at this time -- we would welcome yours!
Photo not available at this time -- we would welcome yours!

          Playground equipment

Marx created an 11-piece set of playground equipment from the kids that lived in its dollhouses.  When assembled, this included a swing set with two swings and a slide, a seesaw, a sandbox, and two children.  The swingset is 4-1/2 inches tall; items are shown in slightly smaller scale than the figures on this page.  The swing set is an attractive piece, but made of soft plastic, its long, thin pieces warp easily, as can be seen in the photos.
Assembled swing set Swing set with children and attached slide

Slide
attaches to side of swing set, as shown above


Seesaw Sandbox




Furniture

I'm still pretty well ignorant of Marx dollhouse furniture, but with the help of Ms. Elcock's web site and the book "Doll Houses and Plastic Doll House Furniture" by Mary Brett, I have picked up a bit of knowledge.  The company made furniture in two scales, 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch.  Possessing only one Marx dollhouse myself, I am uncertain if the dollhouses also were made specifically in these two scales or not.  The photos shown below are of the small number of furniture items I have purchased; my organization of the pieces follows that shown on Ms. Elcock's web site.  To see more of the Marx furniture -- perhaps all of it -- go to her Marx dollhouse furniture web page .


     1/2-inch contemporary
Living Room
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!



     1/2-inch traditional
Living Room
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!



     1/2-inch French provincial
Living Room
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!


     3/4-inch traditional
Living Room
Easy chair Sofa Tall back chair
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Floor lamp End table with books Coffee table Television -stereo
Notice that it is a Marx TV

Dining Room
Table China cabinet
Photo not available - we could use yours!
Chair with arms Chair without arms Side server

Kitchen
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Refrigerator
3-5/8 inches tall
Table Chair
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Stove Sink Cabinet

Master Bedroom
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Bed Chest of drawers Easy chair Ottoman
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Dresser Dresser stool End table with books Lamp

Nursery
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Crib Playpen
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Chest of drawers High chair Chair

Bathroom
Photo not available - we could use yours!
Bathtub Sink
Photo not available - we could use yours!
Toilet Hamper Stool

Utility Room
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Double sink Mangle Stool for mangle
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Tall cabinet Washing machine Ironing board

     Imagination Dollhouse
Living Room
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!

     Lift-off Roof Rancher Dollhouse

Living Room
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!Photo courtesy of Mark Marek, Ebay ID dvcmembermfm 
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!

Living Room
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!



Figure Groups

This section shows 10 groups of dollhouse figures and to the best of my knowledge includes all the dollhouse figures made by Marx.  One group -- the Pool Kids -- came with a few accessories for the swimming pool.  In addition, at least one dollhouse came with a fox hunt figure group, which is shown on the Sports page of this web site.

     Hard-to-find Early Basic Family Group

According to veteran collector and seller Rick Koch, this seated family may be the earliest Marx dollhouse family.  They are very hard to find, and reportedly not many collectors have ever seen them.  I am not sure of their exact size.  The photos below were provided by Russian collector Denis Rylev.

1.  Father, seated with hands on knees 2.  Mother, seated with feet crossed 3.  Baby, standing 4.  Baby, sitting
Above photos courtesy of Denis Rylev

     Seated Children Figure Group

The 4-figure group below is shown both in "Geppert's Guide to Non-Metallic Toy Soldiers of the U.S." and on Kent Sprecher's web site.  However, there is some question in my mind as to whether these figures were manufactured by Marx or by other toy companies (Thomas Toys and/or Acme) and sold to Marx for use in their dollhouses.

According to Kent, Marx purchased figures from Thomas for its early doll houses that were sold even before the onset of the Playset Era about 1951, such as the boy with one hand in his pocket at left.  Based partially on evidence from a web site about Thomas Toys, he suggests that the figures were made either by Acme or Thomas (both owned by Islyen Thomas) and marketed by Thomas.  While Marx may have eventually made at least some of these figures, it is probable that Acme or Thomas made some of those that are found in today's market.  If so, I am unaware of any way to tell who made which, though my experience suggests Thomas figures may be slightly larger than Marx (I could be wrong!).

The figures generally came in cream and pink vinyl, but may also exist in hard or soft plastic, as well as other colors.  The seated boy below is about 1-3/4 inches tall, and the seated girl is 1-1/2 inches tall.  
The boy and girl were also included with a Marx school bus sold separately from play sets, shown with the Little Red Schoolhouse set in the America at Work section of this web site.  The two infants are slightly different in size, the pink one being just a bit taller.

As to my own thoughts on this group, I have to question whether this is actually a "group" that came from a single mold.  The two seated figures and smaller baby are commonly found in today's market, but I have found the baby with his/her hands up to be more difficult to find.  Notably, Thomas/Acme and others manufactured some nearly identical baby poses with their hands in different positions.  Perhaps someone else out there can provide more light on the subject?
1.  Boy seated, wearing shorts 2.  Girl seated, wearing dress 3.  Baby seated, hands held up
Photo courtesy of Rich Delbert, Ebay 44starstuff
4.  Infant seated, hands held out
Shown in pink and cream.  It is possible that the pink figure was made by Thomas Toys.


     Early Basic Figure Group

Marx produced its first doll house figures in the early 1950s.  These came in 1/2-inch scale, larger than its largest play set figures, which were about 3/8-inch scale (commonly referred to as 60mm scale by collectors).  They came in cream and pink vinyl.
  These four figures were also used as customers in the company's Pet Shop Playset.

1.  Father, right hand in pocket 2.  Mother, right hand brushing hair 3.  Son, hands in pockets 4.  Daughter, right hand out



     1950s Basic Figure Group

A second set of four figures was released in the later 1950s.  This group and the 1960s group shown below are discussed in Rick Koch's column in PFPC Issue 35 of 1995.  Rick points out that while the standing baby (Pose 4) is the same in both groups, the clothes and hairstyles of the other figures are different and "...accurately depict the era in which they were produced."  He notes that the hemlines of the dresses for the mothers and daughters are higher for the 1960s figures.  Hairstyles on both also differ.  The 1950s father has "baggy-legged pants, wide tie, and long coat"; the 1960s version has tapered slacks, a thin tie, and shorter coat.  Rick also points out that the 1960s dad appears to have a crew cut!
1.  Father, pipe in right hand 2.  Mother, right arm at side, left hand on hip 3.  Daughter, arms at sides 4.  Baby, standing



     1960s Basic Figure Group

Photo not available - we welcome yours!
1.  Father, book in right hand 2.  Mother, right arm held out, left hand on hip 3.  Daughter, holding doll 4.  Baby, standing


     Doll House Kids

1.  Nanny, pushing separate baby stroller 2.  Girl, standing with arms raised 3.  Girl, drying dishes 4.  Baby, walking with doll and blocks


5.  Boy, baseball pitcher 6.  Boy, baseball catcher 7.  Boy, baseball batter 8.  Boy, brushing teeth


9.  Boy, squatting with sand pail and shovel 10.  Baby, crawling 11.  Girl, sitting with powder puff in right hand 12 and 13.  Girl petting separate kitten


     Pool Kids

The pool kids and accessories came with all of the three types of doll house swimming pools made by Marx (as depicted earlier on this page).  Pools were sold as separate accessories and also included in a few of the large doll house sets.  The two children and the accessories shown below were made in the same mold, generally in a cream vinyl.

1.  Boy, diving 2.  Girl, sitting

3.  Inflatable
 life saver
4.  Inflatable duck

Photo not available - we welcome yours!
5. Sail boat
one inch high
6.  Ladder for swimming pool

Photo not available - we welcome yours!
7. Diving board for swimming pool


     Swing Set Kids

Marx made a variety of playground equipment for their doll houses, including a set of playground equipment shown earlier on this page.  This set included a swing set with two swing set figures, as seen below and on the swing set accessories shown above.  These were made in the same mold as the playground equipment, which I have generally seen in a light blue plastic or pink.
1.  Boy on swing 2.  Girl on swing


     Figure Group for the Imagination Doll House
One of the strangest doll houses Marx made was called the Imagination Doll House, which was constructed of modular pieces, rather than the usual tin litho structure.  The photo of the house at the left is from Larraine Elcock's All Dolled Up web site.  Its pieces can be assembled in various ways to create very different houses.  As far as figures, the set included the 1960s family shown above, but also had three additional figures that are more difficult to find today.
Father, sitting with pipe Mother, sitting with legs crossed Daughter, sitting with right hand on knee
Photos above courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev


     Flexible Joints Doll House Group

One final group of figures is the company's doll house family that came in pieces attached to a sprue.  Four of the six figures had to be put together rather like a snap-together model.  Once together, shoulders and knees could bend so that the figures could be placed in a standing or sitting position.  Bases were included to keep the figures upright when standing.

Two of the figures -- a younger sister and baby -- were solid pieces and not flexible.
 The girl was positioned on one of the sprues as shown below; I am uncertain whether the baby was also on one of the four sprues or if perhaps it came from a separate sprue.

I am uncertain how these unusual figures were sold.
 
1.  Father
2.  Mother
With 1-piece girl (see also photo below)
3.  Son 4.  Daughter

1.  Younger daughter
Not flexible
2.  Baby
Not flexible

     Doll House Animals

Other than the hunting dogs and fox that came with the one doll house set with Fox Hunt figures, Marx also included various dogs with some doll houses.  These can be seen in this web site's Other Animals page, but I am unsure which specific ones were used for doll houses.  Three animals, however, that Marx produced no later than the early 1950s may also have been in a few doll house sets.  These were the dog and two cats shown below, made in vinyl in a Disney-like cartoon style.  As shown, the lying cat is larger than the walking cat, and the dog is the largest of the three.

All three are attractive little figures, but are difficult to find.  Other toy manufacturers, such as Thomas Toys, made very similar cat figures, and I am not certain how they differ.

 
Dog
1-1/8 inches tall
Cat, lying
1-5/8 inches long
Cat, walking
one inch to top of tail




Accessories

I currently possess almost no Marx doll house furniture, and it is not at the top of my priority list right now.  However, again, Larraine Elcock's exceptional web site on doll houses includes many photos of the wide variety of furniture that the company produced.  To see her information and photos, go to http://www.barbigirl.com/traditional.htm.

     Furniture - Inside




     Furniture - Outside



     Accessory Sprue

Marx made accessory sprues for several of its playsets.  These are plastic runners with various small playset-related items attached.  These can be cut or broken off the sprue and add to both the fun and realism of playing with the set.  They also added greatly to the "piece count" for the playset, a figure which was used to increase sales of a set.  After all, would you rather have a set with 100 pieces or 150 pieces in it?  And, no, back in those days, we were not smart enough to ask how big the pieces were!

Some of the doll house sets included a doll house sprue as shown below.  Of course, once removed from the sprue, these tiny items were among the first items lost.  So today, they are hard to find.  I recall receiving a couple of the items when I started seriously collecting back in 2002, but I had no idea what they were.  Now if I can figure out what I did with them....
Doll House Accessory Sprue
Photo courtesy of Kent Sprecher of Toy Soldier HQ
Coffee pot from sprue
1/2 inch tall



     Trees and plants




     Vehicles


  






Contents of this web site may not be reproduced or duplicated for use on the Internet or for commercial purposes without permission by Eric Johns.