The period from 1920 to 1930 is referred to as the 'Golden Age' as the 1920's saw the emergence of a new generation
of toys that were
more functional and detailed. Also, electrification became more wide-spread in the toy train world, and the catalogs started showing better renditions
and used color more widely. Robert Marescot founded his company around 1920. Marescot was a French manufacturer known for producing extravagantly French-looking models
of highly detailed 'O' gauge electric trains in the 1920's and 30's. Marescot made very fine scale model trains but it was a very small company with very
limited production and everything they made was considered to be very expensive for the times. The company was absorbed by Jean-Edmond Fournereau in 1931.
In 1928 Marescot produced an Etat 4-6-2 Pacific steam outline locomotive and coaches which really defined the way scale appearance
in 3-rail 'O' gauge would evolve in the 20th century leading right through to modern day production by the likes of MTH,
Lionel, Weaver, and other scale and brass train manufacturers. The Marescot trains were built
to a scale of 23 metres to one metre. One unique feature introduced at that time was the opening smoke box door in the locomotive and illumination via
an internally installed miniature bulb.
The Marescot Etat was referred to as a #231. The '231' represents a French classification system, which notes the number of wheels
visible on a locomotive rather than the total. However, the Etat locomotive was identified by British enthusiasts using 'Whyte notation' as a 4-6-0 locomotive
or more cryptically, as having a Pacific wheel configuration. The model was fitted with 3 axles coupled, front bogie and rear axle. The tender had 2 bogies.
The loco was equipped with a working headlight and was powered by a Maxon (Swiss made) 24 volt motor that could be used with AC or DC. The transmission of movement
was accomplished via a series of gears, pinions and conical couplings to ensure perfect grip and traction. The locomotive length was 52 cm, height 10 cm,
and width 7.5 cm. It weighed 2 kilograms. At the time of its release, this engine was the most modernly engineered model for 'O' gauge. It faithfully reproduced
the famous French prototype in all of its details, including the Waelschaerts slide movement. Although it was a scale model, company flyers and advertisements
claimed that it was, "very attractive both for the child and for the amateur". Other features included automatic reversal of the direction of travel via the
handle of the rheostat or by hand on the machine, at the will of the operator via a switch that could stop the machine when the current to the track was turned on.
The locomotive wheels were made of special cast iron that literature claimed were, "unbreakable and very resistant to wear on the bearing". A new system of a
socket outlet with rollers was implemented. The body of the loco was finely engraved in thick metal, with nickel-plated fittings. The paint was dark green
with yellow and gold threads, with the front and the edges trimmed in black. The Tender featured tool boxes with doors that opened. It came in a wooden
cloisonne and cardboard box. At that time it sold for 830₣ (French Francs).
Today these Etat locomotives are very rare and when located they command large sums to purchase. A 1936 era Marescot electric 2-3-1 (4-6-2) Etat
Locomotive #231-612 and a 4-axle 2-bogie tender #22120 painted in fine-lined dark green, sold for $2959 at a Christie's Auction held in 1999.
Marescot was taken over in 1931 by Jean-Edmond Fournereau leading to a number of pieces being referred to as
'Fournereau-Marescot', or 'Marescot-Fournereau'. Electric outline locomotives ranging from 2-C-1's to 1-D-1's were also made, as well as 2-2-0 and 2-4-1 tender
steam locomotives, an 0-3-0 Tank loco, a 2-2-2 Tank loco and a 1-3-1 Tank loco.
40 cm passenger carriages and freight wagons were also produced. These products were also offered as unpainted kits. Marescot coach classes are easily identified
by the number of windows. 3rd class has 9 windows, 2nd class has 8 and 1st class has 7. Early coaches had balsa wood roofs, but later coaches have tinplate roofs.
The company continued to manufacture trains through 1960, with Jean-Edmond's son eventually taking over. As well as being a model railway manufacturer,
Jean-Edmond also founded Loco Revue magazine in March 1937, and published a book on French steam locomotives titled "Locomotives A Vapeur De La S.N.C.F.",
some time around 1947. Loco Revue magazine celebrated their 75th Anniversary in 2012 and is still in monthly publication today with circultation of
30,000 readers. It belongs to the group LR Presse which deals with themes around railway modeling. It is the oldest model railway journal of France.
Christian Fornereau, the grandson of Jean-Edmond, is the current editor in chief.
As a tribute to Marescot, the firm Fulgurex issued a commemorative set of train
accessories contained in a presentation box. This set of typical French train signposts and semaphores was made by Alpha Models, and is a limited edition.