|MARVEL THE GALLOPING MUSTANG
MARVEL the GALLOPING MUSTANG born in the year 1967:
We have numbered the pictures to better explain the story of Marvel. There will be some pictures without numbers but they will be easy to find and understand. When we first thought of writing this story, we went to Marvel's birth place, Glen Dale, West Virginia. From there, and with much help, we went to Wheeling, West Virginia --- Meadville, Pennsylvania --- Erie, Pennsylvania --- Patterson, New Jersey --- the United Kingdom and somewhere in the far east. A giant thank you to all those who helped with the research !!!
Our story starts in Europe in 1948--1949. General Dwight David Eisenhower had asked Louis Marx, a very dear friend, to go to Germany and determine which factorys could be rebuilt for peace-time efforts. While in Europe, Marx stayed, at times, in England. Always watching for toys that could be made by his company, Louis spotted a horse made by MOBO TOYS. At that time, MOBO was a large producer of heavy, all metal and well made riding style toys. The owner and C.E.O. was Harry Sebel.
Interestingly, Sebel was in New York, New York, at the very same time, (1949) trying to set up a company named Sebel Products Inc. to sell his toys in America. The toy Sebel was promoting in America was BRONCO the riding horse.
Marx aquired two of Sebel's horses (Bronco) and had one sent to his office in New York and the other went to Walter Nisperly in Glen Dale, WV. Walter was the man in charge of design in Glen Dale and the horse was reviewed. After a short period of time, Walter took Bronco home and allowed his son, Gary, to play with it. At this time please look at the photo of the cowboy on the Mobo horse. Yep--pardner, that's Gary in circa 1950 !!!!!! The horse has moved around a bit but is still alive and well in Moundsville, WV. We could not determine the fate of the horse that went to New York. Perhaps a reader will write us so we might add the information to this story in the future.
Apparently the idea of making a riding horse with spring action was not forgotten through the years and in 1967 in Glen Dale, MARVEL the GALLOPING MUSTANG was born. The pony was an instant success !! The Louis Marx Company had another hit toy !! When you look at the pictures of Mobo companys' Bronco and look at Marvel, do you see the simularity ?
We have taken photos of the history of the first Mustang to the present day. YES, the molds are still being used !!! Please look at picture #3 and you will see the variations of Marvel. There are five different makings of Marvel. In picture #3, can you tell which one dosen't belong ??!! In picture #3, Marvel is being shown however there are two other Marvels made in Mexico and they basically look alike. Let's run down the pictures by the numbers. Pic.#1= Marvel the Galloping Mustang 1967-68-69-70-71-72 --- Pic.#2 = Mobos' Bronco 1950 --- Pic.#3 = the set of ponys --- Pic.#4 = Marvel the Pinto 1973-74-75-76 (( see the picture of Pinto in front of the Dodge City Saloon at the Original Marx Toy Museum)) --- pic.#5 is Marx made GOGO the BURRO birthday unknown at this time --- Pic.#6 are two pony heads showing the five pierced holes in the ponys neck Discussed later) --- Pic. #7 = Marvel Mexico (one of two) --- Pic.#8 = Marvelette (discussed later) --- Pic.#9 = Marvel body parts --- Pic.#10 = legs --- Pic.#11 = internal parts --- Pic.#12 = more parts --- Pic.#13 = spurs, plug and tool -- Unmarked pictures for reference.
Allan Miller of the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum, has helped greatly with dates and in the future we will update this story when Allan retrieves more information from his records. GOGO may be seen at Kruger Street also. You will see pictures of Marvel shipping boxes ( Francis Turner) showing the way the pony was shipped and how. Marvel was also shipped from Erie, Pa. in the later years and there is a difference in weights. Glen Dale had weight listed at 14 pounds and Erie shipped Pinto at 11 1/2 pounds. The same horse basically ??
Mobos' Bronco horse was made of heavy metal such as the early Marx cars and trucks. The mechanical apparatus was also made of steel bar and heavy stampings. A very well engineered toy but as designed, it would be too complicated to sell at a profit. Since Marx pioneered plastics (1946--1948) it was only natural Marvel be made of this material. The internal parts were made of die cast another of the Marx companys' exploition of strong simple molding ideas. Picture #11 shows the internals. The leg supports consist of only two castings. By reversing and placing front to back, you had a set. They were pushed together and then the six pins were peened over to conect after being put into the body. The long spring was adjustable from the front. A person would remove the plug from the front of the ponys chest and reach in with the adjusting tool (pic.#13) and tighten or loosen the spring screw for the weight of the rider. The only way to dissassemble the toy is to drill out the pinned rivets. Everything else just unscrews. Picture #10 shows the legs that are held on by two sheet metal screws. Marvel came with Spurs and the adj. tool (pic.#13). In pic.#12, is the wheel, axle and the wheel brake. The reason Marvel would only roll forward is that the brake would dig into the wheel and not allow it to go in a reverse directions. The same devise is on the Mobo horse. Marvels' body was blow molded as were the legs. When blow molding, only a small hole is in the mold to allow the air to escape. You will see the body and legs with large holes. The body and leg holes were sawed and drilled after molding. The head was produced in two pieces by injection molding. They were joined by gluing and pressing together on male and female pins that were molded in.
The reins have a die cast clamp on each side and screwed on.The saddle is a one piece molded item. This mold must have been very expensive because of the fine engraving and it's large size. The MARX product number for MARVEL is #5006.
Marvel the Pinto---Marx #5011, was made from the same molds but using a medium brown mix. After molding, the body, head and legs were masked and sprayed. We will do a story on how spray masking is accomplished. Pintos saddle, mane, tail and reins are black. All parts and sizes are the same as Marvel the Galloping Mustang.
It is now 1978 and we are at the GlenDale auction. Many toy companys were represented as buyers of tooling. One such buyer was Jay Horowitz of American Plastics Inc. Mr. Horowitz aquired the molds for the horses at this time or shortly after. The next time we see MARVEL the MUSTANG ( NO GALLOPING) the toy is being produced in Mexico. The number has been changed to #6006 and the toy is referred to as a horse. We have the two moldings from Mexico and the discriptions follow.
The first horse is almost the exact color as Marvel #1 and so are the other colors.Since colors age (patina), the variations will exist even from day to day. NOW MARVEL HAS SOUND !!!!!!!!!! Picture #12 shows a square box with wires and a red button attached. Push the battery operated button and you here the horse at full gallop three time and the you here the horse whinney three time. pretty cool devise that is glued to the inside of the horses neck on the left side (pic#6). Just above, where the reins connect in a rosette, a hole has been drilled and the red button is bolted in. The sound box may be serviced by unbolting the head , removing the box and then regluing in place. This horse is marked--- PROARCE---SA DE CV --385-82-96 -- HECHO MEXICO. We believe this to be made in 1996. We measured -, with calipers, this horse and it is the same as Marvel#1.
The next Mexican horse is marked PROARCE hecho in mexico --- tel. (525) 358 8203? fax 368 195 --- and the molding clock is set at January 1999.. It no longer has sound and the holes are not present. Otherwise, it is the same color and size as Marvel #1. Please note that all die cast parts are identical and therefore we believe the original molds were used in Mexico.
The next time the molds are used, that we found, are now producing --- MARVELETTE see pic. # 8. !!!!!! Now the molds are being used to make another variation of the Marvel #1. Amloid Corporation of Saddle Brook, New Jersey is the producer however the markings on the horse are much the same as the other two Mexican made horses. The horse is again made by PROARCE and the molding clock is set at the middle of November 1999. Marvelette is all white with pink plastic reins and and saddle. The mane is black. It is a fine looking hotse and was made for the little girl in mind. This toy may be bought new today and is found by going to Amloid Toys from a search engine.
We will stop with the story at this point and go back to our research. We hope you have enjoyed the story and please write with questions or corrections.
Here is an update from our friend Andy Doran......
The USA market was very difficult to get into as the American toy trade magazines would only take advertising from U.S. based companies. Sebel's countered this by getting editorial into several of the large circulation magazines, such as Life, with a two page article in the June 21st,1948 issue, and also with other advertisers showing the toys in their product advertising. In 1948 an American subsidiary company was set up, Sebel Products, Inc. under the directorship of Sigmund Metz at The Breslin Building,1186, Broadway, New York, New York. This building and other adjoining buildings were the hub for the American toy industry with most companies having a presence here. In 1948 there was a loss of $24,000 on the US operation, but this had been turned into a $41,000 profit by the end of 1949. Warehouses were also opened in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and New Orleans. By 1950 the company address had moved to 1407 Broadway, New York 18, New York and in 1951 it moved again to 200,Fifth Avenue,New York, but the toy trade in the U.S. was in difficulties and losses were being occurred on the operation. In 1952 the American operation was sold to an American distributor Fielding Co., still at 200,Fifth Avenue,New York, with all products being supplied direct from England.