Louis Marx and Company Dollhouse, ca. 1960. On loan from private collector.
The Louis Marx and Company toy manufacturer was established in 1919 by the brothers Louis and David Marx. The company produced quality tin toys, including cars, trains, and animals. Between the 1920s and the 1970s, the company made dollhouses that were sold with plastic furniture. In the 1950s, the company sold over 150,000 of the houses in either a Colonial Revival style (shown here), or a ranch house. The house was sold flat, and then was constructed using metal tabs. In 1962, the houses sold in the Sears and Roebuck catalog for $3.97.
Today, the dollhouse provides a miniature look at the mid-century house. The house includes typical aspects of these houses, including a picture window, a painted interior that includes what appears to be Fiberglas curtains, and a Vitrolite bathroom.
Iva Lieurance (whose catalog hangs above the doll house) was one of the most successful women architects, and was a primary designer for Lewis F. Garlinghouse. Many of the designs in this publications were by Lieurance. Similar to the pattern books of the 19th century and the kit house catalogs of the early 20th century, Garlinghouse’s publication showed designs for the interiors and exteriors of mid-century ranch houses. Those interested could order the plans for the houses directly from the firm for very little money.