The Dialwriter iHORN is made from a 1940’s Marx Toy Company Junior Dial Typewriter. On its Logo, the “X” bisects the “MAR” so these toys are often misidentified. This is a wonderful example of a functional tin lithograph toy. Like other tin toys produced during this time period, the typewriter was fabricated using thin sheets of steel covered (or plated) with a thin coat of tin. A process called chromolithography (a precursor to offset printing) was used to add a colorful design (in this case, a facsimile of typewriter keys) to the toy. Despite appearances to the contrary, the dial typewriter was fully functional. It operates by turning the large dial in the center to the desired letter and pressing down on the large black lever to lower the print head to the paper. The Marx Company was the creator of Rock’em Sock’em Robots and the Big Wheel.
Founded in August 1919 in New York City by Louis Marx and his brother David, the company's basic aim was to "give the customer more toy for less money," and stressed that "quality is not negotiable" – two values that made the company highly successful. Marx listed six qualities he believed were needed for a successful toy: familiarity, surprise, skill, play value, comprehensibility and sturdiness. By 1922, both Louis and David Marx were millionaires. Unlike most companies, Marx's revenues grew during the Great Depression. Marx was the largest toy manufacturer in the world by the 1950s. Fortune Magazine in January 1946 had declared him "Toy King" suggesting at least $20 million in sales for 1941, but again in 1955, a Time Magazine article also proclaimed Louis Marx "the Toy King," and that year, the company had about $50 million in sales (Time Magazine 1955).
The Dialwriter iHorn meets the required standards for all Marx Toys: familiarity, surprise, skill, play value, comprehensibility and sturdiness. It is a reminder that we need to find time to play, to keep us young and vibrant.