Monday, August 12, 2013
Road Rollers (Steam Rollers)
Monday, August 12, 2013
When one thinks at how much asphalt and stone have been laid down in the last 100-125 years, I'm sure it must boggle the mind. Even in WWII, the Nazis got boggled down in Russia, in the fall trying to move towards Stalingrad. They never made it. The fall and winter weather and the lack of enough paved roads did they in, in the end.
As far as America went, by the early 1900's, America good or bad, was set for unprecedented growth. The last of the great Native Indian Battles had long since been finished. Millions of immigrants were wanted in the USA to expand the country, and millions from Europe replied. If you look at many of the major and even minor cities in the early 1900's there were very few paved roads. Transportation was by and far via the railroad,and who travelled anyway but the very wealthy. Most everyone else was busy surviving on the small wages that they were paid at the time. Eventually, the country prospered, the car became a mass-produced item, and even trucks began to replace the horse and wagon.
Eventually, dirt and gravel roads would not suffice for the automobile and trucks of the time, and so roads began to be built, locally, statewide, and eventually across the vast expanse of the USA. Of course, men and machines were needed, and so pavers, trucks, and of course, the pavers were all needed. Back then pavers were called road rollers or steam rollers.
Like most toys back then (1900's-1940's) manufacturers would create toys based on limited numbers or designs of "real" machines such as cars, trucks, steam shovels, and others. What I have always mentioned and find fascinating is that all of the companies seems to get along without lawsuits being created over design copying!
The early road rollers were steam powered via boilers. As well they had corrugated metal roofs to shade their drivers form the sun.
I included this European (German) toy as an example to compare to American-made road rollers. Steam-powered toys were always more popular in Europe and Great Britain that inNorth America.
Interestingly enough, the above Bing toy did not receive a high final auction price. It runs on (I assume - alcohol) to heat up the boiler, which then powers the piston to transfer power to the toy. In this case, the toy, actually mimics the "real" roller in function design, and movement.
Above are some more European road rollers.
The two Hubley Huber rollers are similar to one another as you can see, There are subtle differences if you look closely. I actually was able to buy an orange model when I was photographing them for my early posts on this blog. They're not as in demand or obtain high final action prices, as some of the other models, but they are "substantial" in look, feel, and design.
This Hoge model certainly deviates from "the norm". It's made of lithographed tin.
By now, you can readily see how most of the different companies toys all look quite similar.
A variation of the previous Arcade rollers. If you are ever interested in "real" actual antique or old machines, you can easily find then on the Web, and especially in the USA. DO they ever scrap anything in the USA?
Of course, children were given colour choices at the time.
This particular listing received the highest price of all the rollers presented today. Th extensive nickel-plating, the additional scraper,and of course, the original box all helped to move the toy to garner that final highest price!
Here's an exceptional piece from the late Mr. Donald Kaufman's collection. It's in superb condition, had extensive nickel-plating,is quite large, and has that additional feature (the scraper) at the back of the machine. Interestingly enough, this item was passed over for bidding at the time.
This toy still has its original ball and cord for being pulled in back of the child who would have played with it.
If you follow my blog, I like to give exclusivity to one person, collector, guest, or auction house at a time. Consequently, I don't always have every model or every example from every manufacturer.
What's interesting about these Structo Toys is that they came as kits to be assembled. If you enlarge this image, you'll see the nuts and bolts .
This is the Kingsbury Company's entry into the road roller toy market.
I mentioned above that the Arcade roller with its scraper was the highest-priced item.
Actually, this set of 4 toys was! Of course, this set has 4 different items inexcellent condition in their original box. Personally, I'd prefer the Arcade!
Of course, what would any presenttion of a specific toy be without a Mr. Marx toy!
I decided to close off this post with another Mr. Donald Kaufman's toys. I've purchased and sold distant" cousin's of the Hubley that you see above. However, this one is most rare. It has extensive nickel-plated parts, and the "typical" rosette designed front and rear wheels. However, what separates this toy from the others is the hand-painted driver, the rear water tank, and the mechanical wind-up clockwork movement.
Donald Lewis Kaufman certainly knew his toys, and searched far and wide for the the less-rare, and the most rare. Thanks to collectors like him, and may I also say - his wife,we are able to see fabulous toys that most of use would never have ever seen!
Thanks for dropping by,
and have a great part of the day or night,
wherever you happen to be.