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Marx Toy Company

Making Memories in Glen Dale

By Cheryl Harshman
Photographs by Michael Keller

Marx Toy factory production line
Santa Claus himself supervises assembly line production at the Marx toy plant in Glen Dale in 1971. At one time, Marx was the largest toy manufacturer in the world. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Francis Turner.

Sometimes, the smallest thing can trigger long-forgotten childhood memories — like a favorite toy, for instance. Do you remember the Big Wheel cycle? Rock’em Sock’em Robots? How about Johnny West? Did you have a doll house? A gas station or a Fort Apache play set? Do you remember poring over the Christmas wish-book catalog when it came each year? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, chances are that you owned, or wished you had owned, one of the many Marx toys made here in West Virginia.

At one time, Marx toys was the largest toy manufacturer in the world. At the heart of the Marx enterprise was the largest of its three domestic toy factories, the mammoth Glen Dale plant. In its heyday, the Glen Dale facility employed more than 2,000 workers and had multiple buildings in Glen Dale and McMechen, both located in Marshall County.

In 1946, the Glen Dale factory’s automatic paint line dipped and baked approximately 3.5 million toys per month. That was just one line, and that was before plastic toys began production. Ten years later, production figures of plastic toys and toy parts were in the millions per day.


You can read the rest of this article in this issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.