Saturday, October 18, 2014

Welker & Crosby - Part I

Saturday, October 18, 2014
Overcast with light rain

Welker & Crosby

  I've seen the name Welker & Crosby just once, when `I was writing my early posts. However, earlier in the week, I came  across a few nice examples, and checked my blog to see if I had added more than just on e photo. I couldn't find their name, so I decided to add 2 posts from 2 different fine American auctioneers.

   THe Welker & Crosby company was established in Brooklyn, New York (USA) in  1889 and remained in business for only a short period - from 1880-1898. The company closed down, and Crosby was bird by the Pratt and Letchworth Company, which made similar cast iron toys of that era.

Like most cast iron companies of the time, Welker and ~Crosby manufactured toy trains. As electricity had not been invented on a massive scale `(e.g. for cities), toy trains were made with wind-up mechanisms, rather than being run by electricity.

One of the ways to distinguish `"fake" or reproduction cast iron toys from authentic antiques is the finish. Antique cast iron toys were made with very fine sand and excellent craftsmanship. Most workers had come from `Europe, and borough their excellent skills with them. The workmanship, combined with the fine sand allowed for fine details to be reproduced from the mould to the iron.

The goat's horned rings, his or her musculature, and the pocked dimples on the red seat exemplify the fine detail that was capable of being reproduced.

The term "japanned" refers to using usually a blackened varnish or shellac over a finish to create an aged and shiny look. The original technique was invented in India the carried to Europe and Great Britain. The effect on the superbly cast pair of oxen enhances the fine casting (mould) on the musculature of the animals.

The toy below is most colourful. But what's most interesting is knowing that the wagon below is called a "dray".  Since cars and trucks were not yet invented at the time, toys were made that were modelled after horse-driven "vehicles". If you look at enough old antique horse-drawn toys, you can easily learn a whole new lexicon of antiquated words that are no longer used in the English language!

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