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Josef Kraus & Co

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

company sign from the cataloge 18, 1932
other company sign form the company Kraus Fandor on a clockwork track gauge 0

Jos. Kraus & Co. (also known as Kraus Fandor) was a German toy manufacturer founded in 1910 by Josef Kraus as well as Milton and Julius Forchheimer as an open trading company in Nuremberg. Registration with the Nuremberg company register and the start in January 1910 with two employees and about twenty machines. The company was based in the Nuremberg district of Gostenhof.

"Fandor" is an acronym, probably composed of the first names of the mother and aunt of the founders, Dora and Fanny. The company was considered a typical representative of the "Nuremberg manufacturers" called tinplate companies. Clockwork and electric model railways were manufactured from tinplante in gauges 0 and 1. The sales were largely carried out through sales representatives in Germany and abroad. The company was sold in 1939 after Josef Kraus had already left Germany in 1933.

Fandor / Dorfan[edit]

electric loco cataloge no. 1015/16, from 1930; this kind was sold in 1932 for 10,50 Mark

The produced trains were partly based on the American model, which is why there was high demand in the USA. After the World War I, a large number of trade barriers and import restrictions made competition with American toy manufacturers more difficult, which is why the Forchheimer brothers and an engineer emigrated to America, where they moved to Newark (New Jersey) and founded the company Dorfan (just reverse syllable order from Fandor). This company had to stop its production before 1933, and sales could be maintained until 1936.


Between 1910 and 1934 numerous patents were registered with the "Kaiserliches Patentamt" (germany) - later the "Reichspatentamt" (today: German Patent and Trademark Office). On February 1, 1910, „Schienenstoß-Verbindung für Spielzeug-Eisenbahnen mit Federsicherung für den in den Kopf des einen Schienenendes gehenden Steckstift“ (original description from the patent) was patented. In the same year, a special patent was given for the connection between rail and sleeper in toy trains. Another notable patent is the invention of an automatic mechanical coupling system between toy trains.

Automatic car couplings for electrically operated railways[edit]

The automatic car coupling was described in detail and advertised in catalog no. "Der besondere Reiz dieses neuen Systems liegt also darin, daß der Zug bezw. die Wagen desselben mit den Händen nicht berührt werden braucht, um trotzdem die mannigfachsten Zusammenstellungen zu bewerkstelligen." (original text catalog No. 19) - The special attraction of this new system is that the train resp. the car does not need to be touched with the hands in order to still accomplish the most diverse combinations. - The coupling is innovative in that it can be uncoupled at any point on a track system. This was possible in every direction of travel and with one or more cars.

A patented uncoupling device was used - offered under catalog no. 1403/50/17 (A). The uncoupling device could be operated at any point in a system using remote control units or a simple breaker button to set the lever built into the device in motion. This is where the physical principle of inductance comes into play, in which the flow of current creates a magnetic field and sets a pin in motion. This pin is mechanically connected to the adjusting lever in the track, which releases the automatic car coupling. Catalog No. 21 on page 42 shows a detailed view of the automatic coupling.

In order to be able to make the couplings at every point on the track system, locomotives moving forwards and backwards with automatic remote control were necessary.

Overhead lines[edit]

The company was one of the few toy manufacturers at the time to manufacture so-called overhead contact lines. With clockwork tracks and a contact wire, the modern and real technology of this time could be represented in the play. The central conductor line for the electrical tracks, which was common at the time, was not necessary. The track structure which corresponded more to the realit, what the children and young people saw when looking at the real trains. Power was transferred to the clockwork track (2 tracks) and the flexible pantograph on the locomotive. The flexible pantograph made it possible to smooth out inequalities in the tracks without any problems. When using a conventional three-rail track, it was now possible to control two trains on one layout independently of each other. Locomotives with catalog number 850 (2-axle) and locomotives with one-axle forerunner and trailer (catalog number 860) were produced. The models were painted in green color. There were also versions of the locomotives with clockworks. The term "Vollbahn" appears in many catalogs and describes the electric locomotive (E-Lok) with pantographs for overhead lines.

Streamlined steam locomotives[edit]

The company manufactured streamlined steam locomotives from the mid-1930s, which adapting to the modern trend and the technical progress of the time. The locomotives were produced in a very simplified version using the tin printing process. The numbers "05001" were printed on the front of the locomotive, based on the model of the "Reichsbahn" at that time. The same model was available from the company in a silver color design and a slightly smaller streamlined steam locomotive in a red color design. The locomotives were offered in clockwork operation as well as for AC operation. One of a streamlined locomotive offered by Kraus Fandor has a flint in the chimney which, when rubbing against a wheel, generates flying sparks. The complete train with 2 wagons is moving forward and has a train length of 62 cm. The streamlined train consisting of the locomotive and 2 wagons was offered under item number 1001/4 / F for 5 Mark (catalog no. 21). The streamlined train 10/4 has a train length of 49 cm and was offered as a train set in catalog no. 21 with 4 round rails for 2 Mark and with 6 round rails (item no. 11/4) for 2.25 Mark. Since the sale was carried out exclusively through wholesalers, the prices given are only wholesale prices.

Train - accessories[edit]

In addition to the classic locomotives and railway wagons, a large number of accessories were offered to increase the play value with the trains. There are train stations, warning signs, guard houses, locomotive and goods sheds, level crossings and much more. A classification in the offered gauges 0 and 1 cannot be recognized directly, rather it was a question of equipping the facility with buildings and objects that also occur in reality.

The railroad crossings with functionality are special accessories. If a train passes the level crossing, a lever triggers the signal and the bell and the barrier closes.


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