Friday, August 15, 2014

A Tale of Two Hubleys (With Apologies to Mr. Charles Dickens)

Monday, August 18, 2014
  Finally - Sunny with cloudy periods

A Tale of Two Hubleys
(With apologies to Mr. Charles Dickens)

  I never know how many people will view a post, so sometimes I try and add a "catchy title". The term "catchy" simply means attention-getting. I modified the famous title of Mr. Charles Dickens book - A Tale of Two Cities", which is of  course one of the "classic" books of English and World literature.  

  The fall season (oh, how that hurts to write!) is approaching fast, and many of the auction companies are already adding their lineup of auctions to their websites and on Liveauctioneers.  Fontaine's Auction Gallery is a long-established (1960) auction gallery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (USA), and of course they are getting ready for the fall season.

   Fontaine's has lots of interesting items, but what caught my eye was 2 separate listings for the famous pair of Hubley "animated" racers. The exceptional Hubley toy designer, Mr. J.E. Burbaker created these 2 exceptional toys and filed for their patents in the early 1930's. What makes them unique is how work.  

A Brief Explanation as to how the Hubley Animated Racer Works

The front axle is purposely bent into an S-shape, and is attached to 2 long rods. These rods have projections (in red) that poke through the top of the engine or hood. They are meant to simulate the "explosions" of the engine pistons as the spark plugs ignited the fuel in the cylinders. As the car was pushed or pulled (as a pull toy), the  s-shaped front axle would alternately hit each of these 2 rods, and cause each rod to poke through the line of holes on each side of the hood. 

This is a very unique and clever solution to the design, and certainly deserved the patent for its exceptional design and solution to a clever idea that eventually came to fruition through production.

Of course, there was an exceptional toy designer or inventor at Hubley, and his name was
Mr. J.E. Brubaker.

Below are the actual plans that were submitted to the U.S. Patent  and Trademark Office
on May 26, 1930, with the patent issued May 5, 1931.

The Hubley Animated toy below is the smaller of the 2 version. Nevertheless, it's beautiful. I was very lucky to have caught sight of the  listing by Fontaine's Auction Gallery. Their photographer certainly took an excellent grouping of photographs to present the 2 models in their best views.

Whaen you look closely at the photos (it's best to view Blogger's images in the slide mode), there is so much detail to be seen. It's certainly one if the nicest race car toy designs (in my opinion) of  cast iron toys. I even had purchased the larger one and wrote about it (but that was probably a "reproduction".

The  top photo of this quartet of images shows you the s-shaped front axle, with the 2 moving rods a. In the 3rd photo of the series, you can clearly see that the "fire" from the exploding pistons are out-of-synchronization. with 1 side higher than the other - clever!

Notice also the wood wheels that have white rubber tires mounted on them. 

I like the small raised "bumps" on the side of the car. 
I am assuming that they were meant to be rivets.

Once again you can see the excellent photography by Fontaine's Auction Gallery's photographer.
The model below is the larger of the 2 "animated" racers. It came with beautiful spike wheels with black rubber tires. There are 12 cylinders to this model, compared with 8 cylinders on the smaller model. What is interesting for this upcoming auction is to find 2 similarly-coloured models.  The models came in yellow, orange, white, and green at the time of production. 

You can see the Hubley decal above. What I always wonder is how the tires on these old tires remained in such great condition after so many years. Also, the paint is great. There must have been some special properties to adding lead to paint to allow it to adhere to all kinds of surfaces. Of course, today, lead paint has been banished forever, and even oil-based paints are slowly disappearing!

The shine or patina as the term applies has that wonderful lustre from having been handles over and over for so many years.

I'm wondering if some lucky child had the opportunity to get both Hubley toys for his/her birthday or Christmas that many years ago?  Of course, I'm probably "dreaming", but being a blog writer, you have that" poetic license" to imagine!

No comments: