BY STEVE BUTLER
0 for 33 sounds like a lousy batting average, and 1 for 33 wouldn’t be a lot better. However, in this case “33” represents the number of years invested in toy collecting, and the “0” the number of examples of a specific toy I’d encountered in complete and undamaged condition – let alone available for purchase.
The toy is by Marx and was described in their C.1954 brochures as a “HOOK & LADDER FIRE TRUCK, over 50 pieces…for $2.98.”
During the aforementioned 33 years I’d managed to acquire 13 of Marx’s Fix-All but never their fire truck. That ended four days ago when the soon-to-be former owner entered my establishment wanting to sell/unload a group of toy fire trucks. (Unload is a disparaging term for wanting to sell some items generally not worth owning.) Included was the subject truck for this article, others of interest and a few “unloads.” But, I had to buy them all to get this Marx.
When it arrived the Marx fire truck was mint/boxed and unassembled and as such marginally suitable for display with my other Fix-All’s and totally unsuitable for photos for this article. The truck had to be assembled, and there-in was a two-fold dilemma. First, the “over 50 pieces” were primarily made of styrene plastic (also known as “polystyrene” and “hard plastic” and as “non-warping plastic”). As such pieces which do not fit easily or correctly can be broken during assembly. Second, other pieces not well secured during assembly could easily fall off and become lost or broken. In total, there were about 11 problematic pieces.