This blog discusses old toys from the early 1920's to the end of the 1950's. All kinds of topics are discussed.
The time span was the greatest period for "hands-on" toys, where a young child could actually go outside and play for hours at a time.
You can see the elegance but simple design of these toys. It was a time when huge machines, and people made and finished toys by hand.
The era has long passed, but many of the toys are still around, and that is what I would like to share.
Monday, January 28, 2013
There's Nothing Like a Wood Toy Part I
Monday, January 28, 2013 weather: good news / bad news -6 C or 22 F / Snowing
There's Nothing Like a Wood Toy!
I was looking and looking, and there it was - a beautiful toy. So I read the description, and it said that the toy was made of wood with some metal parts. And that's how I got today's idea. Of course, by the time I finished, I decided that there would be enough material to write 3-4 posts. I have my eyes on American "folklore" toys, and so I'll see what's to be found in this category.
I decided to go with the "traditional" wood toys such as boats, cars, and trucks, with a few more ornate and rarer items. I also decided to present them against a white background, and this took lots of work in Photoshop. The good news, is that I'm learning lots of Photoshop skills along the way, and cutting my time in half for certain groups of Photoshop skills
I can remember when I was a kid, I had the "YoYo", a Bollo-Bat", a carpentry set (to cut wood), and a wooden slingshot (more of a target practise skill set than a toy per se). I don't have the answer as to why more wooden toys were made, However, I have all kinds of answers that might be correct or incorrect.
Metal lasted longer but then again who kept their toys once you grew up? However, as you can see below, many toys did last! Metal toys could be mass-produced faster and with less effort and expense than wood. The more-illustrative wooden toys below seemed to use paper lithography that was glued on to the wood. Maybe it was harder to print on wood, while metal was easier. Except for WWII, where there were restrictions and bans on metal products, I don't know why more wood wasn't used. Oh ,and I just remembered 1 final toy,that every kid on my street had - the coloured wooden dowels with the 12-holed wheels. You could attach the dowels to the wheels and create all kinds of structures. The problem with that is that your parents always got you the small set with 50 pieces, and all of the "neat" toy designs required 4 of the more advanced sets and 300 pieces!
(Please click on the above link to be redircted to the fine Bertoia Auctions site)
I like to give all of my sources equal posts, and I jut remembered 2 fine auction houses, that I 'll need to use for upcoming posts. Anyway, I went to the Bertoia Auctions sit, and had to figure out what words to use to find wood toys. I tried antique wood toys, wooden toys, and simply wood toys. I think "wooden toys" worked best.
However, the search results weren't all that "cut and dry". The results presented wood-grained lithography on metal, metal toys with wood, wood toys with lithographed paper, and so forth. So I went through the list and chose 28 images - a new "record" for a post. There were just too many nice toys, and I kept hearing in my head "please don't leave me out, keep me, keep me! Of course, I'm kidding!
So here is today's post of wooden toys - there's nothing like a wood toy!
When I was "younger", there used to be different cartoons in the newspapers than there are today. Some of the more-popular characters would be licensed for toys to be made.The same thing still happens today. I think I remember seeing this cartoon character on TV when I was young, and of course the cartoon was an oldie form the 1930's in black and white, and in some cases with no sound, and lots of scratching on the film.
Companies like Marklin (Germany) manufactured unbelievable toys that were to be collected by people like Mr. Dick Claus (Bertoia Auctions) and and Malcolm Forbes (Sotheby's). I placed Bertois and Sotheby's in brackets,as they were the auctioneers for these 2 fabulous collections.
I like wood. Which kid didn't make a bow and arrow, or whittled a piece of wood with a pocket knife? I remember when I was going to photography school in Providence, Rhode Island, a church had been demolished. I can't remember if it had been through a fire. However, there were single massive wood beams stretching at least 50 feet in length, and measuring 12" x 12" ( 16 m x 3-5 mm x 305 mm. In "Old Montreal", you can go into old buildings from the 1800's that have been modernized. Above you the old beams are still there, roughly cut and axed, and tongue and grooved!
Imagine, buildings were made with large-sized single pieces of lumber!
At least 113 years old, and still around! What I like about more interesting wood furniture and home design, is ehat you can do with wood. The above example (the roof bend) typifies what I'm talking about. Then again, I remember in the 1960's when Stan Mikita (Chicago Black Hawks) was the first person to take his hockey stick and put a bend into it. He did it with steam. Back then , I could buy a wood stick for $ 8.00, and that was a really good one.Nowadays, a "good one" is made of all kinds of synthetic materials, and cost $ 145.00.
There are small slots in the wood base where the horse and rider'r feet (hooves) can be placed.
The simplicity, yet complication movements of the parts, make for an interesting toy. I would assume that a young child might have several of these toys so as to not get "bored" from playing with just one!
Above is another example of an old popular cartoon character that was licensed for toy production. I never remembered his name, but in reading the research, it tunred out that his name was "Ignatz" - go figure!
A "Clever" Toy - I don't want to use the wrong word here and be sued by Apple!
I'd be curious to find out what the antique market does with puzzles. I guess puzzles fall into some other category, but there again, everyone had puzzles. The problem was when you lost some of the pieces! The reason that I mention puzzles, is that the image was printed on paper, glued to a thick cardboard pr pressed paper, and then cut with a jigsaw by a "real person". Nowadays, robots do the same job.
You got to "love" that rigid smoke plume bellowing out at the rear of the ship!
Well this is certainly a unique toy. I've never seem a toy car so thin!
I decided at the last moment to divide this post into 2 parts - Part I and Part II. It's easier on some people who might not want to look at so many wood toys at 1 time. I'll be publishing many more posts later. The good news for this week is followed by bad news as far as the weather goes. The cold snap has been broken and it' snowing now (13:54 P.M. EST). By Wednesday, of this week it will rain, then by Saturday, back to the minus double digit temperatures. The weather is just like looking for toys.Even with all of the meteorologists (weather men and weather women)) you never know what the weather will be like until you wake up in the morning!