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Dorfan was an American toy company based in Newark, New Jersey from 1924 to 1934.
It was founded in 1924 by Milton and Julius Forcheimer, two immigrant cousins from Nuremberg, Germany, whose family was involved in the production of Fandor trains. The Fandor brand name is an amalgam of Fannie & Dora (who were the mothers of Milton & Julius). When Milton & Julius immigrated to America, they reversed the names Dora & Fannie to create the Dorfan name. A Fandor engineer, John C. Koerber, helped to get Dorfan started.
Dorfan was the first U.S. train manufacturer to use die casting in its manufacturing process. However, Dorfan's alloys suffered from impurities, which weakened the metal and caused the trains to disintegrate over time, an early victim of zinc pest. Dorfan replaced the damaged parts, but at great expense. Dorfan was also unique in its approach of encouraging its customers to take the trains apart and learn how they worked.
At its peak, Dorfan had about 150 employees, but the Great Depression wiped out the company. It ended production in 1934, although old inventory was sold at least until 1936.
Because of the inevitable deterioration of the castings, few Dorfan trains survive today, making them among highly sought after by collectors.
Some of the Dorfan tooling was later used by Unique Art to make its tinplate trains in the early 1950s.
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