“Metal Toys & Automata” by Constance King, Copyright 1989 Quintet Publishing Limited
Hess, Math – Nuremberg, Germany Founded in 1826, Hess was one of the first to make railways from pressed steel. Johann L. Hess inherited the company in 1866, and it ceased production in 1934.

Page 50.” Lithography and hand painting were used to decorate this toy – a rare combination of techniques during this period. It is an extremely early car, made c1898, and was produced by the Hess firm. It has brass plaques bearing the German patent number.”

Page 87. “This simple clockwork engine, made by Hess c1895, was designed to run on a track with raised inner edges. The same locomotive was sold with different name transfers on the engine for each market. This example seems to have been incorrectly packaged: the box reads “Philadelphia” and the engine “London”.

Page 91. “Small, crude trains were also produced by Hess, mainly in a very small scale and either flywheel or clockwork powered, or indeed unpowered. These were brightly lithographed, as opposed to the handpainting that was common on the better toys, and were floor runners. Cheap and amusing, they were more in the nature of stocking fillers than serious models.”


“The Book of Penny Toys” by David Pressland, Copyright 1991 New Cavendish Books
“The initials JLH, either individually or in a monogram, on a penny toy signify that the maker was Johann Leonard Hess. The company was founded in 1826 in Nuremberg by Matthias Hess and continued after his death in 1886 by his son. Penny toys were a relatively small part of the Hess factory production. The principal penny toys made were trains but road vehicles were supplied to other companies to use in sets.

Page 10. “The best known boxed penny toy sets are those produced by J.W. Spear and Sohne of Nuremberg. These include “Toy Town Airship Meet”, “Toy Town Garage”, and “Toy Town Railroad”. The latter set was available in a smaller size as well.” (The Tiny Town Train) “These sets contained penny toys by Meier, Hess and Distler. In the USA, they were marked and distributed by Parker Brothers and the J.W. Spear origin of the toys was not mentioned.”

Page 61. “178, 179  These two penny toys may have been sold individually but I have only seen them as part of a boxed set with soldiers. The box lid label has the JB trademark of Josef Bischoff of Nuremberg (a lead soldier maker) but Hess is the most likely manufacturer as the wheels and lithography are so typical.”

Page 65. 193 “Petrol tankers or water tankers are unusual subjects for penny toy makers. This one is probably by Hess.”

Page 78. 235 “Although illustrated in the 1901 Bing catalog I think that the manufacturer was either Hess or less likely Issmayer. Small trains by both these makers feature in this catalog. Compare plates 308-310.”

Page 81. 245 “Early examples of this toy, which was probably made by Hess, feature transfer printing on the carriages. The design was first printed on to thin paper and then stuck on the carriage. Later versions have the design lithographed directly onto the tinplate. The two versions are difficult to distinguish in a photograph.”

Page 84. 253 “This attractive Pennsylvania Limited train was produced in other American railway company liveries and came both with and without a clockwork mechanism. It is illustrated in the 1905 Carette catalogue but was probably manufactured by Hess or Issmayer.

Page 84. 254 “Hess made many penny toy train sets in this style usually with bright lithography. It is possible that this slightly dull Great Northern Railway set was made by the firm of A Schuhmann rather than Hess.”

Page 85. 256 Probably by Hess

Page 85. 257 “A superbly lithographed and complex Central London Railway penny toy set. Made by either Issmayer or Hess.”

Page 103. 308, 309 “Both are depicted in the 1901 Bing catalogue. Bing at this period sold toys made by other manufacturers. It is impossible to state categorically that Bing did not make these toys but there is strong evidence to suggest that they were made by Hess. 310 is not in the same catalogue but is certainly from the same source.”


“Der Universal Spielwaren Katalog”  1924 / 1926  Reprinted from original German catalogs with English, German, and Spanish descriptions, Commentary by Dr. Manfred Bachmann. Published by Hobby House Press, Inc., copyright 1985

Page 87.  Full page of Hess autos, Hessmobils, trains, boats and figural toys.

Page 88. Full page of Dynamobil toys.

“Toy Trains, a History” by Pierce Carlson, Copyright 1986 Justin Knowles Publishing Group

Page 8. “German tin toys of the same period (1840-1890) tended to be elaborate constructions for the well-to-do. Germany was not yet an industrial power, and the German elite was a conservative class, which preferred toy horse-drawn carriages, dolls’ houses and tin castles with real water fountains. A few small family companies were producing the expensive tin toys, and Lutz, Rock & Graner, Mathias Hess, Gottfried Striebel and Buchner, were all well established firms by the mid 19th century. Little is known about these early German toy manufacturers, although Hess is known to have been established at Nuremberg by c.1826, when the company was making trackless, push-pull trains.”

Page 27-28 (Talking about late 19th century) “Several firms, notably Issmayer, Hess and Lehmann, had been working on lithographic printing, cheap clockwork mechanisms and new methods for assembling tin-plate toys by means of tabs and slots rather than soldering. The use of lithography meant that toys no longer had to be laboriously hand painted, instead they could have a printed finish that was cheaper but that, if care was taken with the printing and graphics, could actually look far superior to hand painted toys.”

Page 35. “In Germany during the 1890s, one other area was of major concern: motive power. In the 1870s Issmayer and Hess had developed miniature but strong, clockwork mechanisms, which could be manufactured comparatively cheaply.”

Page 37. “While Marklin and its competitors produced expensive toy trains, the lower end of the market was largely left to firms like Issmayer and Hess.”

“Die Anderen Nurnberger “ Band 7 (book 7) Copyright 1988 by Hobby Haas
Ullmann & Engelmann Section of book beginning on page 3074 (catalog from 1900)

Page 3144. At least seven different models of Hess Autos and Hessmobils on the page

Page 3155. Three different models of Dynamobils on this page.

Page 3156. Four different models of Dynamobils on this page.

Page 3157. Hess cannon with earthworks

Page 3161. Hess Saloon Boat, Warship, Flotilla (7 boats)

Page 3165. Three, possibly four models of Hess locomotives

Page 3167. Three, possibly five models of Hess trains

Page 3190. Three dynamobil accessories. Trip hammer, mill, twin drop hammers

“Die Anderen Nurnberger” Band 6 (book 6) Copyright 1981 by Hobby Haas

Preface, page 2406. “The main subjects treated in the present book will be Trix and Lehmann while the companies Fleischmann and Hess will be presented in detail in the volume No. 7. For more than one hundred years Hess played a leading part in the toy industry of Nurnberg. Therefore we have devoted special care to write the chapter about Hess and the story of this firm. By source, the daughter of Heinrich Hess living in Frankfurt; we are indebted to her for important informations and details.”

Ullmann & Engelmann Section of book beginning on page 2558 (catalog from 1900)

Page 2558. Four models of Hess locomotives with flywheel drive. One appears lithographed, the other three appear spirit varnished.

Page 2560. Three models of Hess trains. All appear lithographed. (100 size, 575 size, 1035 size)

Page 2561. Two models of Hess trains. Both appear lithographed. (575 w/clockwork, 300 with and without clockwork – cars are 13.5 cm. – 5.31 inches long)

“Art of the Tin Toy” by David Pressland, Copyright 1976 New Cavendish Books

Page 24. “’Merkur’, a late nineteenth century floor train by Hess. So well proportioned is this toy that it appears at first glance to be no bigger than a penny toy; but with a track width of 70mm and an overall length (as illustrated) of 94 cm, it is an early toy of some significance. Hess was the earliest known German toy maker of any importance. The firm began production about 1826, but unfortunately little is known of its early years other than that by the 1850s it was making trackless pull trains of this type. In the present state of our knowledge it is impossible to give an accurate date of manufacture for this train, although the style of the wheels would suggest 1890. A study of the construction of this toy is rewarding. The tinplate has been stamped, cut and bent, and the whole assembled by hand by the use of bending tags, the standard practice for cheap tin toys today. However, as offset lithography for tin printing had not been developed at this time, the carriages were gold lacquered, and thin printed paper sheets were then stuck on each side and end. So successfully has this been done that, even on close examination, the appearance is exactly that of a lithographed tin toy. The extra production steps, together with the paper’s poor durability, meant that as soon as offset lithography was available in the 1890s the production of paper covered tin toys virtually ceased. The particular example illustrated has survived in remarkably good condition. “

Page 45. “Hess carpet battleships, circa 1911. Three variants of this very ordinary little battleship are pictured here. They could be bought by themselves or with anything from two to six small gunboats in tow. Instead of being equipped with the typical Hess flywheel mechanism, these little boats were propelled across the floor by a clockwork mechanism. The box lid label is typical of that used on cheaper toys; a beautiful water colour of the whole battle fleet at sea, steam up and ready to go, scarcely prepares one for the reality within – a toy battleship which has difficulty in traversing the pile of an ordinary carpet. “

Page 72. “Certain manufacturers, however, e.g. Hess in Europe and Dayton in America, were still using flywheel drive in the 1920s.”

Page 110. “Early Hess toys were noted for their high quality of lithography and their patent flywheel mechanism. When the starting handle was cranked a lead flywheel was set in motion, and drive was applied by means of the spindle visible on the top of the front wheels.”

Page 158. “Two more cars from the Hess stable. The 21 cm long limousine on the left dates from the early 1920s and has the typical flywheel mechanism, whereas the small racing car, known as the Hess Roller (length 13cm), has a clockwork mechanism, an unusual feature for Hess. The date of production is circa 1910.”


“Pressland’s Great Book of Tin Toys” by David Pressland, Copyright 1995 text by David Pressland, Collective work, Golden Age Editions, Photography, Golden Age Editions

Page 19. “Prior to the 1890s several manufacturers had made locomotives and wagons to run on a circle of track, with Hess even making a locomotive that had an automatic reverse and ran back and forth on a straight track.”

Page 149. “Hess was one of the oldest established Nuremberg toy makers having been founded in 1826. They were one of the pioneer users of lithography in tin toy production and by the turn of the century almost all of their toys were lithographed. Hess sold their toys through wholesalers and I have never seen a Hess catalog, thus it is difficult to date their toys exactly. This particular toy dating from the 1890s is both crude in certain aspects, such as the wheels, and refined in others, such as the quality of lithography and fitments. This duality was to remain characteristic of Hess and accounts for their relatively low level of desireablility among many collectors today. However I find that they have a certain appeal. Like many later Hess cars, this one is inertia driven by a huge centrally placed cast flywheel that drives the front wheels. It was Hess’s pre-disposition for flywheel drive that resulted in their choice of solid looking lithographed wheels that detract from the visual appearance of most of their toy cars. This early car features hand painted embossed seats, very detailed lamps, brake lever and curious semi-circular flat protrusions both front and back that act as bumpers, which were very necessary in the past as this toy could get up a good turn of speed. It was robustly built and would undoubted have withstood hours of play without serious damage.”

Page 150. “Issmayer, one of the oldest Nuremberg toy manufacturers, was, like Hess, a pioneer user of lithography and the company also sold their toys through wholesalers or other manufacturers. However, while Hess usually trademarked their toy cars, Issmayer virtually never did.”

Page 185. Two sporting tinplate roadsters, the one of the left being a typical flywheel driven model by Hess and the right hand car, a clockwork powered toy based on an early Lanchester by Burnett of Birmingham and later London.”

“Toy  Autos 1890-1939”  by Peter Ottenheimer, Copyright 1984 Justin Knowles Ltd.

Page 9. “Hess must be classed with Gunthermann because of his extremely high standard of lithography. Hess cars have a very ingenious handle and flywheel mechanism. They have a unique shape. Nobody else made cars quite like Hess.”

Page 11. “Hess, founded at Nuremberg in 1826. The founder’s son, Johann Leonhart Hess, took over the firm in 1866. A unique feature of Hessmobil cars was the friction engine. Production finished in 1934.”

Page 21. “Hess Open two-seater, 22.6 cm (8.9 in.) A rare and early Hess flywheel-driven lithographed car, evocative of the heroic early road racing cars.”

Page 23. “Hess horseless carriage, c1898 22cm (8.7 in.). This unusual car is one of the earliest by this manufacturer. It has no steering but features a flywheel mechanism so favoured by Hess, in place of a clockwork motor that would have been used by most other German makers. Note the heavily embossed simulated-leather seats.”

Page 40. “Hess Saloon, 26cm (10.2 in). A very well lithographed and pressed tin Limousine by Hess, featuring the typical flywheel mechanism, two opening doors, and glass windows. Even the insides of the doors feature delightful lithography.”

Page 64. “Hess open four-seater, 24.5 cm (9.7 in). The flywheel mechanism in this Hess four-seater is wound from the front handle.”

Page 66. “Hess open two-seater and four seater, 22.5 cm and 23 cm (8.9 in and 9.1 in). Both cars feature lithographed artillery wheels, flywheel drives, and original plaster chauffeurs.

Page 66. “Hess rear entrance tonneau, 23 cm (9.1 in). A flywheel driven, steerable four seater. The driver is not original.”

Page 84. “Hess racing car, 13 cm (5.1 in). This racer is flywheel driven. The aggressive figure adds a touch of dynamism.

Page 85 “Hess racer, 20.5 cm (7.9 in). An imaginatively posed figure enhances this flywheel driven racer.”

Page 94. (Hess two-seat racing car, 16 cm (6.3 in). A middle size brightly lighographed Hess racing car featuring goggled driver and typical Hess flywheel mechanism.”

Page 95. “Hess t ruck, 25 cm (9.8 in). The driver grasps a functioning steering wheel. A flywheel provides power.”

Page 121. “b Hess open and saloon cars, 18 cm, 19.5 cm and 21.5 cm (7 in, 7.7 in and 8.5 in). The lefthand car is a two seat open tourer, that in the centre a four seat open tourer, and that on the right, a limousine. All are on the same chassis and lithographed in typical Hess fashion though less attractively than the earlier Hess cars.”

Page 121. “d Hess Saloon, 23.5 cm (9.25 in). This lithographed Hess saloon has the typical flywheel mechanism, and two opening rear doors. It is a larger limousine than usual and quite a rare piece.”

            Page 148. “Hess Saloon, 21.5 cm (8.5 in). This provides an interesting comparison with the high quality, detailed lithography of earlier Hess cars. This version is much simpler and cheaper, and does not have nearly as much charm as those of the 1920s. It features one opening door and can move at different