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Bing Trains

History

Bing gauge 1 Live Steam 4-4-0 Loco and Tender black No.1902 Bing for Bassett-Lowke gauge 1 GWR all 3rd Brake Coach No.132 Bing 'O' gauge LNER 4-4-0 Loco & Tender RN 4390 CW

Bing 18 volt E-lok reference 11/892 made between 1929 and 1932 Bing was a German toy company founded in 1863 in Nüremberg, Germany by two brothers, Ignaz and Adolf Bing. Originally, Gerbruder Bing produced metal kitchen utensils. They began toy production in 1880 and by 1905, Bing was the largest toy company in the world, and Bing's factory in Nüremberg was the largest toy factory in the world. Although Bing produced numerous toys, it is best remembered today for toy trains. In addition to toys and kitchen wares, Bing also made a huge range of office equipment, and electrical goods.

A Bing cast iron Loco & tender circa 1914 Bing's first trains hit the market in the 1880's. 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 1920's, under the auspices of Bassett-Lowke, Bing introduced a still-smaller gauge, half that of 'O' at 0.625 inches, which it called 'OO'. However, Bing's 'OO' gauge at 4mm scale became a British standard, larger than the 3.5mm scale on the same gauge of track favoured elsewhere. The company was initially named Gebruder Bing (Gebruder translates to brothers in German) but Ignatz Bing died in 1918 at the age of 79, and the company was renamed Bing Werke (Werke being German for Works).

A Bing Steam Outline Loco & tender Their model steam engine line was one of the most diverse. Bing also made tinplate litho toys in general, and a fair amount of model railroad equipment, including some live steam locomotives. The "Nüremberg 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 1950's, long after Bing had disappeared.

Bing 'O' gauge 0-4-0 Loco & 4-Wheeled Tender Bing 'O' gauge #1200 loco Bing 'O' gauge GNR 0-4-0 Loco & Tender clockwork
Bing #4226 Dutch Cleanser Box Car Bing Peerless Tank Car Bing '0' gauge open goods wagon circa 1909-1932 Bing 'O' gauge Fixed Door Explosives Van

1912 to 1920 issue Bing station for I Gauge and Standard Gauge 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.

In 1910 Bing introduced a line of engines, passenger cars and freight cars for the American market. This was an effort to jockey for market share with the Ives Manufacturing Company. At the time, the Ives line offered one 2-4-2 electric outline electric locomotive, which Bing copied. They copied the Ives model to the extent that the actual Ives catalogue #3238 appeared on every electric outline locomotive, large or small, electric, or clockwork, made by Bing. Bing also issued a series of six inch tinplate passenger cars that were very similar to Ives passenger cars, except that Bing also issued a combine and an observation. Bing's line of four-wheel road name boxcars, modeled after photographs of American freight cars, were similar to the Ives #53, except the Bing boxcars included doors that opened and closed. 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. But, Ives did eventually surpass Bing in sales.

A Bing Clockwork driven Steam Outline Loco & tender circa 1922By 1914, Bing had 5,000 employees. By comparison, Märklin employed 600. World War I forced Bing out of the export market 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, German wages rose after the war, as did shipping costs and inflation. This created an unfavorable climate for German exports. Additionally, Lionel Corporation's advertising that criticized the manufacturing methods of its competitors' trains, Bing Gauge 1 No. 1902 live Steam Loco & Tender targeted mainly at Ives, 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 other models to Lionel's Standard gauge, where they looked undersized. By 1921, Bing had re-established itself in the U.S. market, largely via sales through 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.

Bing 4-4-0 Live Steam in gauge 1 By 1927, Bing was in serious financial trouble and the company's president, Stephan Bing, and his son, left the company. The US stock market crash of 1928 resulted in huge debts on the part of the John Bing division in New York being called in, for which the parent corporation had to take responsibility. This led to financial difficulties for Bing Werke, but given the political climate in Germany in 1932 (the Bing family was Jewish), no bank would loan Bing additional money. Bing Werke ceased to exist in August, 1932, and the assets were liquidated. Much of its tooling was acquired by rival toy companies. Falk and Krauss purchased the model steam related equipment, while Karl Bub of Bub Trains took the model train line, and Fleischmann bought up the model boat fabrication tooling and machinery. Bub continued building the Bing line of trains until the onset of WW2, and later folded completely in the 1960's. Bing went out of business for good in 1933.

Bing 1920's Pennsylvania Electric Outline Locomotive Bing S2-2 made for the American market in Pennsylvania livery Bing gauge 1 No. 7094 Live Steam Train Locomotive

Bing Gauge 1 Jupiter Train Locomotive & Tender In 1927, Stefan Bing had left the family business and struck out on his own. He purchased the Nüremburg firm of Fortner & Haffner, another maker of tinplate toys. In 1935, this firm produced it's first model trains, under the Trix Express label. Bassett-Lowke assumed distribution in the UK. Three years later, when the National Socialists replaced the executives of this company (they were also Jewish), Stefan Bing emigrated to the UK, where he was to resume production with Bassett-Lowke, under the Trix name. Trix survived, and in fact thrived for a number of years. Trix was purchased by Märklin in 1997.

Bing 'O' gauge 4 Volt Electric Midland Railway 4-2-2 Single Locomotive and Tender #650 Stefan Bing did emigrate with his family to the UK in the late 1930's to escape Jewish persecution from the government regime of Adolf Hitler, and he resumed business with W. J. Bassett-Lowke to make and sell Trix 'OO' gauge trains. However, in May, 1940, the British rounded up all German citizens then residing in the UK, and sent them to internment camps on the Isle of Man. That included Stefan Bing. Bassett-Lowke did get special permission to write to Stefan, but he was not to survive internment, and died before the end of the war. It is said that his daughter Monica did receive some compensation from the companies that obtained the Trix Express assets, long after the end of WW2.

Bing gauge 2 clockwork 4-4-0 locomotive with 6 wheel tenderBing items can be identified and dated by its trademark. Items bearing the letters "GBN" (for "Gebrüder Bing Nürnberg" — "Brothers Bing Nürnberg") in a diamond date before 1923, while items bearing a sideways "B" next to a "W" (for "Bing Works") date from 1924 to 1932. A trademark showing an upright 'K' and 'B', a dash, and a sideways 'B' over an upright 'W' indicates trains made after 1933, that are a combination of Bub & Bing manufacture.

Bing trains are prized by collectors today. When the Denby Collection of miniature toys was presented at Tennants specialist auction in the United Kingdom in June 2009, a live steam locomotive sold for £8,000.

Bing Black Prince Live Steam in gauge 4 Bing Black Prince Steam in 3 gauge
Bing Midland 0-4-0 Clockwork Engine & Tender in 3 gauge Bing Adams LSWR 4-4-0 Steam Engine & Tender in 3 gauge
Bing Midland 3rd Class Coach in 2½ gauge Bing Sydney GWR 4-4-0 Clockwork Engine & Tender in 2 gauge
Bing for Bassett-Lowke LSWR Clockwork M7 Tank Engine in 1 gauge Bing GNR Atlantic Clockwork 4-4-2 Engine & Tender in 1 gauge
Bing King Arthur 4-6-0 Steam Loco & Tender in 1 gauge Bing Sir Gilbert Claughton LMS 4-6-0 Steam Engine & Tender in 1 gauge
Bing Cauliflower 0-6-0 Clockwork Loco & Tender in 1 gauge Bing MR 4-4-0 Clockwork Engine & Tender in 1 gauge
Bing LB&SCR 4-4-2 clockwork Tank engine in 1 gauge Bing #2670 LNWR 4-6-2 Bowen-Cooke clockwork tank engine in gauge 2
Bing 'O' gauge LNWR 4-4-0 Loco & Tender George The Fifth RN 2663 CW Bing Gauge 2 Clockwork Great Central 4-6-2 Tank Locomotive #165
Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge GWR 2-4-2 Birdcage Tank RN 3611 Clockwork circa 1911-13 Bing for Bassett Lowke 'O' gauge Live Steam 2-6-0 Locomotive and Tender
Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Clockwork LMS Maroon 4-4-0 George The Fifth Locomotive and Tender #5320 Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Clockwork LSWR 0-4-4 M7 Tank Locomotive
Bing For Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge MR 4-4-0 Loco & Tender RN 1000 clockwork circa 1923 Bing for Bassett Lowke 'O' gauge 4-4-0 L&NWR Precursor Tank Loco #6611 live steam
Bing 'O' gauge Clockwork L&NWR 4-4-0 Short Precursor Tank loco Bing 'O' gauge No. 7113 Steam Locomotive & Tender made 1926
L&NWR 1st-3rd class 4 wheel coach in 1 gauge Bing L&NWR Guard coach in 1 gauge Bing 3rd class coach in 1 gauge
Bing gauge 2 Passenger Coach Bing gauge 1 Passenger Coach Bing 'O' gauge Model Railroad Dining Car with Opening Roof
Bing Galeriewagen Bing Passenger car gauge 1 Bing 'O' gauge GNR 4 wheel passenger Coach Bing 'O' gauge LNER Teak Style 1st 3rd Passenger Coach
Bing by Carette 2 LMS Postal Vans and a 1st class coach in 1 gauge

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