The Technofix company is considered by some as one of the biggest German companies to manufacture lithographed tin toys.
Founded in Nuremberg, Germany in 1922, by brothers Johann and Georg Einfalt, Gebrüder Einfalt (GE) only took the name "Technofix" after 1935. The company initially produced oversized "penny" toys, tin wind-up toys of animals and human figures of everyday life (often produced as a pair), airplanes circling towers, and construction kits. The vast number of figures include Indians, boxers, knights, skaters, birds, pigs, elephants and much more. Some very rare items, such as the boxing match between a boxer and a kangaroo, or the little girl on the chamber pot, are well sought after by collectors.
The toys were carefully, and in great detail, lithographed, and the company patented a large number of concepts (ideas) in order to produce the wide variety of mechanisms used in their toys. The meticulous approach used during manufacture, and the choice of high grade materials from which they were made, meant the mechanisms never really needed repair and the products were considered of high quality and durability. This is why they are so sought after by collectors who will pay a premium price for a good example.
Prior to the 1930s, the toys can be identified by the initials "G.E" or "G.E.N.". In its prime, in the years before 1939, the firm employed about 120 employees. Later, under the Technofix brand, the toys are identifiable by the trademark "Marke Technofix" inside a triangle.
Many of the tin toys produced by the brothers reflected the technical and scientific advances of the period. As cars became common place and replaced horse-drawn vehicles, their toys reflected the common interests of the populace. 1920’s Art Deco themes and aerodynamics can be seen in their designs of the era. Their later designs also reached into the Science Fiction genre with space-ships and rockets that captured the imagination of the youth of the time.
Following World War II, Germany was partitioned into the German Democratic Republic in the east, where the toy industry declined for some time, and the Federal Republic of Germany in the west, where the toy industry survived in US-administered cities like Nuremberg. Georg and Johann Einfalt continued to produce tin toys in the Western Zone under the 'Technofix' name and many of their toys can be found marked 'Made in the U.S. Zone Germany'. The post war return to toy manufacture happened at the same time Alfred Einfalt, the son of Georg Einfalt (who died in 1953) joined the company.
Although some sheet metal pressings and sheet metal landscapes were made before the Second World War, the production after 1945 focused on the production of sheet metal toys and sheet metal landscapes. Several of these are quite famous in collector's circles such as the no. 258 "Falling Motorcyclist" which was clockwork driven and had finely detailed lithography. Set up to go in a circle, the motorcycle fell over while driving, then straightened up again due to an ingenious, mounted, side lever. Also in this 250 series is another motorcyclist (No. 255), which has been designed not to fall over, but to sway back and forth. The motorcyclists were made until about 1958. Almost 90% of the toys made in the immediate aftermath of the war, and marked "Made in US Zone West Germany", went to the USA. It is for that reason that the collector's market for German tin toys, in the USA, is so big.
The production of sheet metal trains and tin landscapes included around 100 different scenes; some were kept simple, others were very sophisticated and well lithographed. They started with the 260 serial numbers. In addition to common railways, highways, and roller coasters, the gas station, the sports field, and the Alpine Express are deserving of mention. These landscapes were made until about the end of the 1960s.
The post-war toy industry found it had to respond quickly to changes in technology and design and new models had to be designed and manufactured quickly and cheaply. One of the results of this was the replacement of clockwork and wind-up mechanisms with cheaper friction drive motors, world-wide. When the space exploration programme began in earnest, in the late 1950s, interest in space exploration was high and had been fed through popular film serials like "Flash Gordon" whose aesthetics were quickly picked up by toy manufacturers. Technofix was no exception, hence the earlier reference to their later designs reaching into the genre of Science Fiction.
The advent of plastics in the toy industry, in the early 60s, did not initially represent much of a problem to the company which was, at the time, a key exhibitor at the Toy Fair in Nuremberg. However, the 1970s were characterised by the attempt to stand up to competition coming from the Far East. The transition to the plastic age at Technofix probably came too late. Some of the tools and presses had been sold to the wholesaler Nova in the 1960s, and in 1978, said to be after the death of Alfred Einfalt, the factory was closed and many of the remaining tools were donated to the Nuremberg Mechanic's Guild. However, some think a large part of the tools later went to the Far East and to other European countries.
Note: It needs to be said that if it was not for the reprints of old catalogues, many of Technofix's, and many other manufacturers, items could not be attributed to any specific manufacturer. Largely this is due to the fact many mass-produced toys have no label, manufacturer's mark or country of origin details on them, and that it was a common practice, not only for Technofix, for materials supplied to wholesalers and distributors, such as Moses Kohnstam, not to be marked with the manufacturer's or distributor's name. Generally the distributors or wholesalers repackaged the toys and it was only the packaging that held any clue as to who the manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler was. It is possible that Kohnstam-circulated tin toys, with the house brand "MoKo", could be by Technofix or any of Kohnstam's other suppliers.
One thing to look for, on post-WW2 items is the Technofix mark - usually a triangle with the inscription "Marke Technofix". For pre-WW2 items, there is the label GEN for Gebrueder Einfalt Nürnberg or simply GE for Gebruder Einfalt (commonly found on the number plate of clockwork cars with the year of manufacture as the numerals, e.g. GE 1960).
* The information on this page has been gleaned from various sources in print media and on various internet forums.