Gebruder Bing


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The Brothers (Gebruder) Bing were one of the most prominent toy makers in Germany. Founded in Nurnberg by the brothers Ignaz and Adolf Bing in 1863, they started out making kitchen utensils, progressing to toys in the late 1800's. Production grew to the point where, in 1905, Bing boasted the largest toy factory in the world. Their model steam engine line was one of the most diverse. Bing also made tinplate litho toys in general, and a fair amount of model railroad equipment, including some live steam locomotives.

Ignatz Bing died in 1918 at the age of 79, and the company was renamed "Bing Werke". The US stock market crash of 1928 resulted in huge debts on the part of the John Bing division in New York being called in, for which the parent corporation had to take responsibility. This led to financial difficulties for Bing Werke, but given the political climate in Germany in 1932 (the Bing family was Jewish), no bank would loan Bing additional money. Bing Werke ceased to exist in August, 1932, and the assets were divided up and sold off. Falk and Krauss purchased the model steam related equipment, while Karl Bub took the model train line, and Fleischmann bought up the model boat machinery. Bub continued building the Bing line of trains until the onset of WW2, and later folded completely in the 1960's.

I have recently heard from a descendent of the Bing family, a great great grandson of Adolf Bing. At least one of Adolf's daughters emigrated to the UK in the early 1930's with her children. Her daughter still resides there today.

A portion of the Bing corporation lives on today. In 1927, Stefan Bing left the family business and struck out on his own. He purchased the Nuremburg firm of Fortner&Haffner, another maker of tinplate toys. In 1935, his firm produced it's first model trains, under the "Trix Express" label. Bassett-Lowke assumed distribution in the UK. Three years later, when the National Socialists replaced the executives of this company (they were also Jewish), Stefan Bing emigrated to the UK, where he was to resume production with Bassett-Lowke, under the Trix name. Trix survived, and in fact thrived for a number of years. Trix was recently purchased by Marklin

From Les Thompson in the UK, comes this most interesting story on the fate of Stefan Bing. Stefan did emigrate to the UK in the late 1930's, where he resumed business with W. J. Bassett-Lowke. In the early morning hours during May, 1940, the British rounded up all German citizens then in the UK, and interned them on the Isle of Man. That included Stefan Bing. (it should be noted that the UK and US were not alone in this practice - every major power during WW2 interned citizens from hostile nations as a matter of standard practice) Bassett-Lowke did get special permission to write to Stefan, but he was not to survive this last indignity, and died before the end of the war. It is said that his daughter Monica did receive some compensation from the companies that obtained the Trix Express assets, long after the end of WW2.


Without a doubt, the most original condition engine I have. Except for a few nicks on the bottom corners of the base, no paint flaws. Even the pedestal doesn't carry the usual heat scorching, and it looks like original paint. The diamond badge with sunburst and no 'Bavaria' tends to date this example in the 1907-1912 period. Someone took very good care of this engine. Battenburg shows an example marked BW, this one carries the earlier diamond GBN badge.
This model came complete with all accessories, including the pan for solvent and cleaning brush.


Base plate has been painted. Otherwise complete. Smokestack is a little wrinkled. Carries the GBN in circles badge, which puts it in the 1902-1906 period. That looks like a Marklin burner to me, but it works so I'm not complaining.

The little brother of the 272. Not much left of this one.

Unidentified Large Overtype

Someone sent me the correct ID for this engine, and then I promptly lost the email and the sender in a hard disc crash. It's a single number. not a 130/xxx designation. I originally found the almost complete model shown below this one, and later encountered this mint and complete example. Curiously enough, the base carries the BW label, while the burner has the earlier GBN badge. Probably using up some old stock...

This is one magnificent running engine. Beautifully balanced, it cranks along at top speed with no shake, and no rattling sounds, just a gentle clicking of the valve train. The large Nuremburg overtypes are sinfully priced, but such a majestic sight when running under steam.

Nickel trim on the boiler. Cam driven feed pump, pressure gauge, and the heavier Bing cylinder found only on their finer models. All this one needs is the little tin pail that hangs at the end of the exhaust pipe.

No smokestack or burner, but otherwise complete. Still has a great deal of the original finish.

I spent an afternoon tidying up a loose steam line, and this one is running, as magnificently as it's sibling above. However, as this engine has become surplus to needs, it may be going up for sale soon.


A very clean example, all plumbing in place, burner present, most of the original paint still on the firebox. Original oilcan also present, quite rare to see that. Late production - marked BW.
Smokestack and chain missing, and no, the chain off of the ratty 732 shown below won't fit - it's not long enough. Note that this one has a larger gear on the flywheel. which is why the chain won't fit. Since original chains for these models are pretty much impossible to find, this one will get fitted with a Wilesco chain, as used on the D430 and D305. It's close enough to the original, and available.

An interesting story behind this next one. It came from Mr. Arthur Neighbor of Oakland, CA, who purchased it as a child some 50 years ago from his next door neighbor, Bruce Johnson, also in his youth at the time. (so I can get in my three degrees of separation - Bruce was to go on to an illustrious career in Hollywood production, producing shows such as Crusader Rabbit and The Mork and Mindy Show) The third photo (supplied by Art) shows it in the condition it has been for that 50 years, and probably a few before then.

This old fellow needed parts more than repair, so the ratty 732 below donated the necessary components - a rear wheel, the rear axle, and the chain, while my parts bin yielded an oil pot screw. Other than the broken wheel, broken axle tip, and missing chain, the tractor was in sound condition. Needed only a few minutes with a torch to straighten up the oil pot, a few squirts of my favorite graphite based lock oil to insure that the cylinder was loosened up, and installation of the needed parts. Fill with water, fuel the burner with alcohol, and it came back to life, in a most enthusiastic fashion. Went chugging across the floor. This 732 is now back in top mechanical condition. So... Art, Bruce... your engine is running again, after a slight vacation.

Not in the greatest of shape. Smokestack and burner missing, and the original steam feed line has been replaced with a hack job. Isn't running, as a makeshift steam feed line is on backwards.


Circa 1927-1932. Marked BW. Dynamo powers the 2.5v lamp. With both burners running at full flame, it will light the bulb. The large gear on the main axle is spring loaded, and rides on a pin. It can be retracted to disengage the dynamo. Bing, Doll and Plank all seem to use the same dynamo.

Interesting pressure gauge.


Base has been replaced - the Monna normally had a litho tin base on wood. One ladder missing. Otherwise complete.

O gauge locomotive

With tender. Burner missing the fill plug, otherwise complete. Some blueing left on the boiler. A little out of adjustment somewhere, this engine is a reluctant runner.


O gauge locomotive

Tuned this little guy up, and it runs great. Preheat it to running pressure, refill the burner, and you get a good 10 minutes of running time.

Single cylinder locomotive
In Midlands colors. This one came out of the UK. The cylinder arrangement is what one finds on early Bing locomotives: mounted horizontally, driving the wheels through a crown and pinion gear.
Haven't been able to get this one tuned properly. It still won't power itself on level tracks, so it's time to remove the cylinder and start looking for rough spots.


There are several sizes of this engine available, for some reason the 234 seems to be the most commonly encountered one.

Brass straps are not original, they appear to have been added later. Otherwise, a clean example, strong runner.

A curious example. Cylinder carres the post 1917 'BW' label, while the pedestal has the earlier 'GBN' badge. Possibly made right after 1918, when there was a mix of parts being used?

Rather battered example, looks like the victim of a flaming alcohol spill.


So Battenberg seems to indicate with the model number. A very well made little horizontal, double action cylinder. Late production, marked BW. Other than some varnish scorching on the boiler, its practically mint. This little engine has become one of my favorite demonstration models. It reaches operating pressure quickly, and really cranks on the speed.  Just a great running little engine.

Unidentified horizontal/vertical cylinder
No model number on this one, but it is an interesting variation. Odd little burner that came with it.

Vertical Ship's Engine.

A rare Bing Schiffsdampfmaschine. No Bing ID anywhere on it, but the litho base is definitely Bing, it has a Bing style sight glass, and the smokestack is Bing. Runs very well on very little steam. Not a true 2 cylinder - disassembly showed that there is only one cylinder in the housing, the other is a dummy. Pressure gauge is not original. It's a Doll, liberated from an old Fleischmann. Part of the original gauge is present. It's a long stalk, probably the same type gauge that the Monna has.


Not a positive ID, that's the casting number on the bottom of the base. A feed pump was once present on this engine, but is long gone. Someone made a real mess out of the pressure relief valve. A proper repair would involve disassembling the boiler, but that’s no simple task – the larger Bing verticals have a flue through the middle, making  disassembly, and especially reassembly, a bit tricky. 

Rebadged Empire vertical

A curiosity from John Bing. It’s an Empire B31 vertical, but carries a nameplate from the Bing Corporation of NYC.

Despite the somewhat neglected looking base, it fired right up, needing only a good oiling, and continuity and short to ground checks on the electrical connections. Not really an enthusiastic runner, it just sort of loafs along.


Missing the dynamo and sight glass, but otherwise complete. Extremely good condition. The base may be a refurb job. Where could I possibly find a Bing dynamo?


I found a dynamo for my 130/512. Only catch was, it came with a 130/511 attached to it. Distressed, but not unrepairable. More sight glass butchery. Naturally, no smokestack or burner, but I picked this one up for what one normally would pay for the dynamo alone.

Sight glass area needs help.

512 and 511 together.

Horizontal, unidentified

Very clean oscillating cylinder horizontal. Marked GBN on the boiler. Very complete, burner and smokestack are present.


Here is a large, fairly elaborate Bing that's almost complete. Smokestack and burner missing, and someone has shoehorned an old electric heater onto it. Heavy scorching on the pedestal, and on the base. The rest of the model is in prime condition. Most enamel still on the base, cylinder assembly and feed pump retain just about 100% original paint.
A rather ugly job of patching over the sight glass holes. Most likely, the electric heater incinerated the sight glass seals. The end cap of the boiler has been removed at some time: clumsy job of resoldering. This will be an interesting case: how to tidy this model up without losing any of the extensive original finish.


GB and 1686 stamped on base. Nice burner, probably missing the spreader on top, as there is a preheater tube beside the main wick. Badly dented by the fill/pressure relief hole, otherwise quite good condition. Quality of construction seems to be on a par with high end Bings - cast iron cylinder mount and bearing journals. Front of burner door definitely looks Bing.

This one is currently under repair - just can't stand to see a fine engine in non running condition. I have the boiler top removed, a pressure valve located, and the area around the pressure valve roughed into shape. Also have obtained a sight glass and glass cover. It should be up under steam some time soon.

Update: Looking through the Kaiser/Baeker book, this one may also be a 130/111.


Double action cylinder. In practically factory fresh condition. No smokestack, no burner, and a little scorching around the base, but otherwise, this one could have come out of Bing's factory yesterday.


The Bing copy of a Weeden 14. Marked BW on the cylinder. This was an interesting comparison. From the photos I had seen in the past, I had thought that this engine was a Weeden that had been relabeled and sold by Bing. Putting them side by side told a different story
Check out the enlargement of this engine against an actual Weeden 14. You can see that no parts appear to be shared between the two. The iron base is different, the Bing has a slightly larger boiler and cylinder, steam feed line with oiler, and the sight glass is the usual Bing style. The Bing engine features generally more robust construction, with a higher level of finish. Nice paint detail on the flywheel.


Next to a Weeden 14.

Vertical steam cylinder.

ID courtesy of a collector in Deuschland, backed up by a 1912 Bing catalog. From a 130/521, 522 or 523.

Overtype, unidentified.

I suspected this was a Bing, due to construction of the pedestal and vent holes. Confirmed by a collector in Deuschland. The tin flywheel is fairly rare, sort of their bargain basement line. The figures that came with it are probably Arnold.

Overtype, unidentified

Same style as the one above, with the tin flywheel. Remarkably complete, smokestack and burner are present.

Overtype, unidentified.

Probably a Bing, it's marked Bavaria on the base plate. Ran very well, after cleaning the valve assembly up.

Somewhat messy burner.

Boiler finish is mostly there.

Oscillating cylinder, unidentified.

Litho smokestack, BW on the pedestal. No burner. Runs well.

Vertical, unidentified.

small oscillating cylinder, something nasty done to the sight glass holes.

Vertical in need of some TLC. This one came out of the UK. Sight glass missing, and the smokestack is rusted out. (at least it's there) The rest is in pretty good shape, all things considered. Double action cylinder. Marked BW.

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