Monday, January 28, 2013

Liberty (Toy Company) - Wooden Ships

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Liberty (Toy  Company)
Wooden Ships


I was searching out some toys yesterday, when I came across a wooden boat with the title "Liberty" in it. The first thing that came to mind was the fleet of U.S. ships that President Roosevelt and the US Government ordered built to help Great Britain in WWII. The Germans were besieging  Great Britain with the Blitzkrieg and daily aerial bombardment by the Luftwaffe.  Americans were in no mood to enter WWII, but decided to help Britain by sending armaments and food. The German U-boats prowled the  Atlantic and were even off the U.S. coats. THey torpedoes several ships off the U.S. coast killing many merchant marine sailors.

   Anyway, I had trouble finding other of these ships, so I decided to look for auctioneers on icollector and LiveAuctioneers. Sure enough, I struck gold with a past auction from James D. Bertoia. However, it took a lot longer to find anything about the Liberty toy company. I remembered that I had my trustworthy copy of Karen O'Brien's  12th Edition of "Collecting Toys - A Collector's Identification and Value Guide". I looked on page 4 for company histories,  and there was "Liberty Playthings" on page 511.

    Liberty Playthings turned out to be a company that existed from the late 1920's - early 1930's, and was located, in of all places - Niagara Falls (USA). Don't forget that we have a Niagara Falls (Canada)-eh! The company manufactured all of their toys from wood and metal, and always identified them by their name "Liberty".  There was a bit more information about the actual toys that they made, but that I'll show below. I tried to look some more on the Net, but drew a blank (nothing).

   What I did find and present to you today are very fine looking ships made often from mahogany. And of course,as usual,the toys were superbly photographed by the pro photographers at Bertoia Auctions. Fortunately, Bertoia had almost the whole fleet of ships up for auction on April 9, 2006. Thhe images can be found at LiveAuctioneers on their website.

The Toys

This particular ship reminds me of the ships that I see moving in Montreal when I bicycle along the St. Lawrence Seaway. I know someone who is a  retired electrical engineer who maintained electrical machines on boats, land oil wells, and of course, ocean oil platforms.

He told me an interesting story about the owner of Canada Steamship Lines - Mr. Paul Martin, Senior. Mr.Paul Martin Junior now is in charge of the company. He was Prime Minister for about 1 1/2 years after he won a minority election. The government was defeated on a vote, and he had to dissolve Parliament and call for an election.

Coming back to Mr. Paul Martin, Senior, a sailor on 1 of the Canada Steamship Line Ships  told the retired engineer, that he once saw Mr. Martin Senior on a ship and he sailed on it for the duration of the trip.  I guess he liked sailing on the larger "toys", but the story is interesting to hear about the owner of a worldwide shipping company taking a ride on one of his ships.

What I like about these ships (boats) is their simple but elegant design. 

If anyone out there ever finds any information on Liberty Playthings, 
would you please send me a note.

Thanks for dropping by, 
have a great part of the day or night, 
wherever you may be.



JerryW. said...

I was lucky enough to find a Liberty toy boat at the Clarence N.Y. flea market a number of years ago.
It remains one of my favourite toys. In fact, I am displaying it at the June mtg. of the Canadian Toy Collectors Society, where I am a member.
Jerry Whitaker

toysearcher said...

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for the e-mail.
I replied to you at your email address.

Stacey Bindman
Blogwriter for this blog