Monday, August 4, 2014

The Tri-Motor Airplane Toys-Part I

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
                    Sunny and hot

The Tri-Motor Airplane Toys
Part I

   I remember  when the first Boeing 747, nick-named the Jumbo first flew over out house in 1970 in the Montreal suburb of Ville Saint Laurent. It was huge, and majestic,and it seemed to move to slowly, that you thought it would drop down to earth - but it didn't.  For weeks at a time, the whole family would be sitting outdoors in the summer, and we would watch the immense-sized jet passenger airplanes land at Dorval Airport. The airport is now renamed Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport in honour of one of our 20th century prime ministers.

   I had seen a nice tri-motor airplane on Liveauctioneers, and so decided to investigate further just to see how many companies had made this particular type of aircraft. As it turned out, plenty of companies had made this airplane. Because of it's interesting design of having 3 motors, I'm sure this airplane (later 1920's - pre WWII) must have certainly attracted lots of airplane aficionados at the time. I'm sure that's what inspired so many different companies to manufacture this unique airplane, and also to create so many different designs on the exterior of the toy.

  Because so many companies made this toy, I decided to create a 3-part mini-series presenting 3 different fine auctioneers and their sold tri-motor airplane toys. Bertoia Auctions is the first.

I'm not sure if the Ford Motor Company made the first tri-motor airplane, but there are lots of references to them. The first plane was made in 1925, and continued to be produced until 1933. As such, the extreme contradiction of having some cast iron toys ( a very old process) made of such a modern airplane is exceptional, One has only to realize how so close in time the Wright Brothers had flown the first successful airplane that was on December 17, 1907, a mere "blink of an eye" in time  at 18 years earlier from the Ford production time.

Below are 2 fine examples of Japanese  quality of tri-motor toys. I remember in the 1950's when "Made in Japan" was synonymous with low-quality, but when you look at the pre and post WWII quality of all merchandise, I realize now that this simply must have been  a myth against the fact that Japan had in fact started the Pacific War and entered into WWII.

Of course, the Americans also had their fine expertise in toy-making, and many of the American companies produced this fine airplane. The Bertoia Auctions photos below present that famous patented wind-up mechanism that was seen all of of the Kingsbury motor-driven toys.

I've never heard of the Aero toy company, but this model certainly is most impressive.
A wingspan of 37" (940 mm) certainly has to be investigated!

All of these different interpretations of the tri-motor airplane reminds me of a design contest for a new automobile, bridge, or a building. The engineers and architects all are given a set of rules by which to design the structure or product, and the final one is selected by the contest committee.

I would have an extremely hard time selecting a winner. All of these toys are stupendous, but the difficult part, for me, would be to stop playing with the toys, and selecting a winner! With many of these toys, there was a mechanism that allowed all 3 propellers to rotate together - now that certainly was an engineering feat for toy-making!

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


Bob Walden said...

Feels kind of weird with a picture of the plane nose crashing into the ground.

toysearcher said...

Hi Bob,

The toys were supported by plastic transparent shapes,but I like to remove them. I could have removed all of the shadows, and infer that the toys are "flying".

Thanks for viewing,