Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Fine Handcrafted Wooden Set Comes on the Resale Market

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Fine Handcrafted Wooden Set
Comes on the Resale Market

   I was checking my e-mail Thursday, when I received an e-mail from Mr. John Armstrong. I had (shamefully) forgotten his name, even though I had written bout his beautiful toys a mere month ago! I had to write back a second time and apologize! John Armstrong sells beautiful handcrafted wooden toys  on Etsy under the store name of  Aero1 Toys. John had written to me to inform me that one of his sets of toys was for sale on ebay, and that I should check it out. That particular set had not been on Etsy when I had initially discovered  Aero1 Toys on Etsy. So, I wrote to the lister of the  ebay item, and Mr. Nick Ross wrote back.

   I explained how I came upon this listing, and that John had crafted this particular set. Nick Ross gave me the "OK", and I was able to download the photos. I explained to Nick that I would like to remove some of the distractions in the photo to better emphasize this great set of toys. He again gave me the permission. As it turns out,  Nick Ross goes by the name of nickross1963 on E-Bay. There, he sells many different kinds of interesting items. As well, he has a "The We List Store" in Des Moines, Iowa (USA), "where we have high end furniture, accessories, collectibles, we sell on  ebay , as well as the store". He also is on facebook .

The We -List Store
(Des Moines Iowa)

   What's interesting about a store such as The We-List Store is that you never know what you will find there on any given day. So if you visit the store regularly, you will find different items for sale on any given day.

    The set by John is 84 pieces and represent the two sides in the American Civil War. The toys are made of wood and the soldiers specifically from wooden clothespins (pegs). I like the small wagon and horses,and the several ladies among the setting.

    The set certainly is very interesting, and to see items so relatively new on the resale market is interesting. I've seen some other  newer toys from other companies on the resale market, and tit's interesting how the toys move around. I guess that is what's  great about old and new toys. There will hopefully always be someone who would like to play with them or pass them on to their children.

   By the way, the original post about John Armstrong is below:

Thanks for dropping by,
and have a great long Labour Day Holiday.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The N.N. Hill Brass Company

Friday, August 30, 2013

The N.N.Hill Brass Company

   I started to purchase more toy catalogues again. They're interesting to collect and then try to match catalogue drawings or photos with the original toy. I received the catalogue below today, and will write about its history later tonight. I though that it would be quite easy to match original toys with the "season of 1905" catalogue (a reproduction). However, it was not easy, and I  my usual sources did not have many past and sold items.  As well, from my observations, it seems that the N.N.Hill Brass Company of East Hampton, Connecticut (USA) had changed their 1905 models from the previous times, such as the 1895 models. Some became shorter, and some had the wheels changed. I'll mention that as the toys appears with their catalogue drawings. I know that there had photography it 1905 and even later, but the recent Hubley Cast Iron catalogue  of about 1920, and this  N.N.Hill Brass Company Catalogue of 1905 have their toys hand-drawn. I could research that to find out why, but I have enough just writing a blog per day.

*The link that you arrive at is Bertoia Auctions finished  auction site throgh a company called  Auctionflex. It's a software company that allows auctioneers to  place all of their sold inventory items online and have visitors search out merchandise (e.g. antique toys). Bertoia Auctions actual website is:

The 3 maple seedlings are my watermark. Although the catalogue is in the "public dominion", since the company closed down long ago, there are some people who earn a living reproducing and reselling the catalogue. I purchased the copy,but added the watermark. If you ever want to use the photo, just e-mail me, and I'll gladly oblige.

If you read the description of these 2 items, you'l see that the toys are actually small, and were  sold by the gross (144). Since the U.S.A. was rapidly expanding to populate the country, the railway was an inexpensive way to ship.As such, cast iron toys in the USA were made more than in Europe.

The Bertoia   Auctionflex website   only goes back so many years. As such, I screen-captued this image of Bertoia's from Liveauctioneers. As such, it is small .

The rabbit is missing. So there are 2 possibilities. Either the rabbit is missing from the toy, or it is in the hidden position when the photographer took the photo. As the toy is pulled, the rabbit will appear and disappear, while the bell chimes. Again, there weren't too many N.N.Hill Images from Bertoia, or other auctioneers that I am able to work with.

I've made the catalogue photos very large for you to look at. 
You'll need to view Blogger in its slide mode.

Many of these toys are animated. As such not only do they chime as the toy is pulled, but they move. In this case, the elephant's trunk moves up and down as the toy is pulled.  You can barely see a metal rod that is partly visible in the top photo of the elephant's leg.  As the toy is pulled, a gear would move the rod up and don, and the trunk would correspondingly move.

This toy is the 1895 version. It's larger than the 1905 catalogue, and the wheels are more ornate.
This toy is rare and in great condition, and yielded a handsome price at auction!

The above toy is from a person by the name of Mr. Bob Watrous that I met yesterday on the Net, and who I've have been corresponding with.He's actually a distant relative of the Watrous Manufacturing family who also were involved with the N.N.Hill Brass Company. I had mistakenly added a J.E.Stevens toy similar to this, and Bob kindly mentioned that I had made a  mistake. I use his photo  from his website. I'm going to be writing about him and his fabulous toys in the near future. His website is below:

If I could afford one of these, I would buy it. Once upon a time, I used to fish, and  so Iwould really want one of these for my fish collection. My entire bathroom downstairs in our house is full of fish artifacts! Nowadays, the closest fish I ever see is on my plate!

Thanks for dropping by,
and have a great long Labour Day Holiday.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Some Nice Arcade Toys Beautifully Presented

Thursday,  August 29, 2013
               (Blog # 2 of the day)

Some Nice Arcade Toys
Beautifully Presented

   I was checking out ebay yesterday, when some nicely-photographed Arcade toys caught my attention. You can see all kinds of excellent to bad photography on ebay and I really don't know if  how an item is photographed, makes the difference towards the final sale. However, for myself it does. I want to be able to see the details,and know that the person took that extra bit of time to photograph their merchandise well, as if that mattered to them in taking pride in working in their store or selling.

  So when I saw the nice photographs presented today, I had to write and ask if I might use them and write about the person, the store, and the photography. What attracted me to the photos is that the items were taken in a manner that complimented the old toys.  The background and the foundation (what the item is on) were old and weathered, had pattern and texture, were neutral in colour, and did not distract from the main item-the toy.

  When I taught pro photography and specifically taught tabletop photography, I would always set a minimum set of criteria for the photograph. One of these was not to use seamless paper. For those who don't know, seamless paper  is the long or short (roll that a person or product can be photographed on. It's used for straightforward imagery for a catalogue,and most of the time is very boring and  dull.  Naturally some students would complaint with all sorts of reasons why this was too hard. But most students, and even the "complainers" would come up with the most interesting foundations that you could think of. Naturally, as the teacher, I would have to produce set-ups that were both interesting and economical, and I did. 

   In their own Words 


I was with a friend when they were recycling cans and saw that they also bought Levi's. After buying the wrong ones, I learned what the had wanted was vintage denim. That branched out to other vintage clothes.  

I met my husband selling him vintage shoes and he taught me about antiques and other cool stuff. I've sold at antique show,and later we bought our house on ebay in Missouri. We had lived in CA (California) before, and we came out here not knowing anyone). My husband and I, started selling on ebay in the late 90's so that was our job when we got here. That's certainly a "different world". We decided to open a brick and mortar store 4 years ago, and have been doing well with that. 

We have found some rare treasures. No million dollar paintings, but lots of good stuff in the low thousand dollar range. We see the good bad and the ugly in this biz. You never know what will (or won't) walk thru my door daily. We get some"characters". 

It's a fun business. 

There's my bio, you can edit it how you see fit*.

Lisa McIntosh & John Greenwood

- tweedindeed

* I did some minor editing to this bio and arranged the writing in sentence s with spaces as you see above.

 I liked the fact that Lisa and John take the time to photograph their many different categories of merchandise in different ways.   They try to have different backgrounds and textures, both with the background and what the item rests on. AS well, the item is photographed well from the compositional aspect. Diagonals, repeating lines, are just 2 nice compositions that I found. Not only that, but the lighting is usually soft (maybe it's always cloudy in Missouri - just kidding). Soft lighting (cloudy) or in the shade reduces the contrast of bright to shadow) and allows the camera to capture the detail of items easier.  Another point that I liked, which also takes additional time is the fact that Lisa and John take many  photographs of their items, and write  very good descriptions of their items.

The above image  is how I normally present a toy.

I don't know if that small ball of white cement  was placed in front of the steam shovel bucket on purpose, but  it's fantastic!

I wrote another e-mail to Lisa to ask for her permission to present some photos of her other items for sale. As tyou can see, Lisa certainly has a talent for taking photos. But, more importantly,she likes to takes the photos and present her nice items in the best manner possible.

Above is a photos of Lisa and John's store in Brookfield, Missouri (USA).
I like how they've placed all of the merchandise neatly and easily to see.

Now where are those old toys!

Thanks for dropping by to visit,

and as always, 
have a great part of the day,
wherever you may be.


Identifying an Old Toy Isn't as Easy as it Seems!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Identifying an Old Toy 
Isn't as easy as it Seems!

   I purchased a reprinted Hubley Catalogue from an Arizona Bookstore who deals in old books.  I scanned the pages for future use,and thought that I'd look for a few old toys and match them up with the catalogue photos.  That seemed quite simple enough,and then the trouble (small) began. First of all, the catalogue had no date as to when it was printed, nor were the toys identified as to their dates. So I searched  on the Net for "Hubley Patent # 1956342" and found 2 sites. One is Google, and the other is a company that helps people with patents. I'm presenting Google's image of the patents since they (I assume) don't mind if I use them. I sent an e-mail to the other company asking for their permission. I usually go to the United Stated Patent Office, but it's very hard to find anything there-easily!

The  above image is page 20 of the catalogue

Since the catalogue  didn't have a printing date on or, nor the production year of the toys,  I know that it would be hard to match up catalogue photos with sold toys! The reason is that Hubley and other companies were in business for a long time. Also, they made new models of cars, as newer "real" cars came out. Also, they patented and invented newer designs that were also more interesting such as take-apart toys.

Below are 3 screen-captures of the actual patent.
Since the toy was actually processed and accepted for a patent in 1934, I would then assume that that would be the year that the toy actually started being produced. Of course, the toy could have been made earlier, with the patent being petitioned for at a later date.

At this point, I decided to go to one of my many sources and search on Liveauctioneers for this toy.
Dan Morphy Auctions is a great  seller, and has sold lots of old and antique toys. So I decided to start here.

First of all, you need to read the Hubley description of the toy. cast iron toys could be repainted in different, not have nickel-plated grills, or even have metal rims, instead of  painted wooden  rims. Then of course, another company could also have produced the same car model and the toy could look very much like the Hubley. It's not like the 2012-13 Apple lawsuit against Samsung for patent infringement, where Apple also included "rounded corners" as a patent infringement on their iPhone!

The  above red toy is the correct one, but the paint job is incorrect.
The description has the chassis as black and the car body would have come in red, light blue, or orange. 

Once again, the top car is the correct Hubley. In this case it is the correct one entirely.
The bottom car is an A.C.Williams.You have to compare the 2 foir a while to see the differences,specially when there is only 1 photograph.

1. The Hubley nickel-plated grill has a projection on top
2. The Hubley had air vents on the side of the hood (facing you)
3. The Hubley has a black  trunk on the back of the car.
4. The A.C.Williams has a fine line around the window frame.

I'm not sure when the toys below were made. However right away, the colours are not from the 1934 catalogue.  I do know that these 2 toys were take-apart toys. You could buy them individually or in kits, You could take the toy apart  (notice the thin spring part on the undercarriage of the smaller car). Also, the passenger compartment is "boxier" compared with the rounder 1934 model.

You can see that with this toy,, it's not so easy to accurately identify it. Fortunately, these smaller cast iron cars are not that expensive, and even if you bought an A.C.Williams, Kenton, Dent, or Hubley, you couldn't go wrong with  your purchase. So there would be good news even if you thought you purchased a Hubley!

So this is a "short but sweet" post. I'm going to be working on another one for today just after I post this one. I missed a few days of the "dog days of summer", and I'm in a mood for 2 posts today, before I get on my road bike for a 40 km (25 mile) ride!

Thanks for visiting,
and as always, have a great part of the day,
wherever you may be.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Budget Bicycle Center Company

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Budget Bicycle Center Company

   I'd been looking at bicycles for a long time on the Net. My wife Heidi bought me a fine Specialized Allez road bike on my 60th birthday. At that time, I had looked to see what I would like and decided on this particular model. Recently, I've been looking at bicycles on E-Bay, and specifically Schwinn.
Schwinn is an old Amercan company that is now owned by a Montreal,Quebec (Canada) company called Dorel. They also own Cannondale.

   Everyone at one time or another either had a tricycle or a bicycle or rode one.  I had a tricycle or I rode my brother and sister's one. Then my father got me a bicycle with just 1 gear,and the brakes were applied by pressing the pedals backwards. Eventually I got a fancier 10 speed by the name of Torpado. 

  In the 1980's, I had lots of time because of my teaching schedule,and purchased a used Montreal brand called Marinoni.  Marinoni has a great reputation for hand-built higher-end bicycles, and even sells in the USA.That was the time when Greg LeMonde and his American cycle team were starting to get a reputation in the cycling world,and  North American television started to televise the Tour de France.

Please click here to visit their fine E-Bay store

  In the last week, I had e-mailed a few E-Bay sellers and stores to ask for permission to write about them. Eventually, I had to select another seller, as nobody replied to my requests.  The Budget Bicycle Center company on E-Bay (titled BBCBikes) caught my attention since they happen to sell vintage bicycles. I wrote to them, and had a "yes" reply within a couple of hours.

  Today's post is just an introduction to the Budget Bicycle Center. They have an ebay store and their own website. Their store is a full service bicycle shop in Madison, Wisconsin, (USA), located near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.  They have 4 different stores on street that have lots and lots of bicycles of all kinds, makes, prices, and ages. They also repair bikes, and have parts. 
Their 4 stores are: New, used, specialty, and parts that include clothing and car racks.

  I'll be writing more about bicycles and the Budget Bicycle Center in the future , but for today, I just wanted to introduce you to them,and present only 5 bicycles. If you've been reading my blog, you will already know that I like to present all items against a white background.  In the case of bicycles, the triangular and rectangular spaces between the spokes of the wheel present  more work and effort to remove the off-colour or background. I use Photoshop, but for this type of work, I find that there are other better programs. I was stubborn though, and decided to stay with Photoshop. Eventually, I'll return to my "other" program.

  In the case of bicycles, their presentation against white illustrates the pure design and engineering of the bicycle, as well as the features and colours. Since presenting them against white, and removing the floor stands that hold them in the original photos, I only have 5 photos today, but the bicycles are certainly "works of art". 

I'm thinking that you needed a high place to be able to get on to this bicycle, and a high place to get off.  Also, there doesn't seem to be a height adjustment for the seat. Yet this bicycle was popular way back, even when most of the roads were dirt and unpaved!

I accidentally left the clamp that hold the bicycles on their stands. That's the item on the stem between the seat and the pedal.

Not all of the vintage bicycles are in pristine condition.  However, there will always be collectors who specifically want items in their "as is" found state. 

Here's a nice 60+ year old bicycle for a lady.

The short description that I copied from the ebay store is quote interesting for this futuristic bicycle.
Again, I forgot to remove something in the photo. It's the yellow plastic tightening strap that kept the front wheel from spinning as the photo was taken. It's a great-looking bicycle from 1946, and it is made from fiberglass. It's quite rare, and certainly priced high. But if you're a collector, you'd certainly want to have this one in your collection!

So this is my post for this day. I'll be presenting more posts on the Bicycle Budget Center in the future. And maybe, I should get back to doing more cycling. It's going to be September in 5 days.Where has the time gone?

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


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Third Discovery of an Extremely Rare Toy

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Third Discovery of an
Extremely Rare Toy

  Three day ago, I added my first post on Pook and Pook, Inc. I started with one post, then two,then three, and now this is my fourth. Today's post is about a Niederst steam shovel toy. I had posted on June 1, 2013 about the first one of these. Supposedly there were only 2 of these to be known as of 2000 from Myra Yellin Outwater and Eric B. Outwater's Book (Cast Iron Automotive Toys - P. 231). However, upon looking at this item, Bertoia Auctions (My post on June 1, 2013) sale, and this listing by Pook and Pook, Inc., this would make this the third one to appear! What happened to all of the others would be a mystery that I'd like to know? How many were originally made? And are there any more we don't know about?

 This cast iron toy measures 18" (.457M) in length. What's great about seeing the second toy is the fact that the Pook and Pook website allows you to magnify the image. I would like the entire image to enlarge, so it would make it easier to post the close-ups that Ive attached. However, I easily worked with what they have, by screen-capturing 3 images, and them carefully assembling them together in Photoshop.

It will be interesting to return to the Pook and Pook Inc. website after the auction is over to see what this rare Niederst toy received at the final hit of the auction gavel.  It's always interesting to write about old toys, and even better when you find a very "rare" toy!

Update September 9, 2013:
 This very rare toy sold for $ 8,500.00 at auction.
Bravo to the collector who placed this toy up for auction, 
Pook and Pook - the fine auctioneer, 
and of course, to the new owner of this very rare toy. 

Thanks for dropping by,

and as always,
have a great part of the day or night,
wherever you may be.