Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Determining a toy's Age from its' Design and Characteristics-Part III

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Overcast, windy and cold

Determining a Toy's Age from it's
Design and Characteristics
(Part III)

   This is the third instalment on a continuing topic. Today's subject - the trolley changed with the advent of safe and reliable electricity on a mass scale through cities. As such, the age of the horse-drawn trolley that was used to move people around towns and cities started to modernize to the electric trolley. Electrical wires were hung above the trolley's route and suspended by poles on either side of the road. A flexible contact rod with a wheel at the end would be used to bring the live electricity to the motor of the trolley. As such, trolleys could be larger and heavier, and could thus carry more people. The day of the horse would eventually stop by the latest in the 1920's and perhaps slightly later in the smaller cities. What I also discovered is that there were alternative horse-replacement methods before electricity such as steam and cables. Also in some cities, steel tracks were laid in the streets to better keep the trollies "on track" - please excuse the pun. 

 Mr. Tim Striker, a member of the Kenton Toy Collectors Club and the Hardin County Historical Museums  has been very helpful in helping me on my blog. I've been able to purchase some excellent scans of original  Kenton toy catalogues and of course, make very good use of them.

Below is the actual toy that matches the 1906 catalogue illustration in the second row.

Of course, the size of this trolley is exaggerated to a micro size, and was produced later on.
It was a licensed toy from a common newspaper cartoon series of the time.

The first actual electric trolley appeared in North America in 1882 
on Michigan Street, in South Bend Indiana 

What's of interest in the toy below is that this is the first toy powered by a cast iron flywheel. The flywheel was a rotating wheel that you would push on the sidewalk or road to build up power. When you had enough, you'd release the toy, and the turning wheel had the power to move the toy.However, this type of mechanism as you read the description was new. What made this method of movement all the more better was that a toy could move uphill, hence the name hillclimber. The flywheel had enough torque (twisting power) to move a toy at a moderately steep angle.

What's also noteworthy are the brightly-coloured passengers in the windows.
Below is a nice grouping of tin toy trolleys,
Although the dates are not presented, I'm sure that these toys were from the early 1910's 
or into the early 1920's.

The 1920's Kingsbury Trolley car below is quite large as a toy, and I'm sure the original real trolley as well.  Even the design is different, as I can remember in 1958 a similar design of passengers leaving on the side of the trolley. However our trolleys were shorter on length.

The projection at the top is the windup key and not the rod.
Personally, I'd like to have seen the contact roof rod as a part of the toy.

The trolley would continue into the 1930's and even later,but its time would also pass like the horse-drawn trolley. There are some exceptions such as in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) and  mostly in Europe where the electric trolley still exists. I've rode on the Toronto Trolley, and it  is smooth. However it feels as though it is 2x as heavy as a bus! 

As I'm writing, I just remembered that the trolley had steel tracks in the road.  99.9% of the old tracks were removed when the gas-powered bus replaced the trolley.However, once in a while , I think in N.D.G. (Notre Dame De Grace), there are still a few tracks buried on Grand Boulevard. One of these days, they'll remove them finally. But if you're old enough to remember a trolley, the embedded steel rail tracks are a good memory to remind you of those times.

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

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