Monday, June 15, 2015

A Fine Grouping of Cast Iron Wreckers

Monday, June 15, 2015
Cloud and rain with mild temperatures

A Fine Grouping of Cast Iron Wreckers

   I haven't been writing much this year because no matter what I try to do, the readership hasn't increased. I joined LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to no avail. I keep getting e-mails from web designers and companies wanting to place me in the higher ranks of Google, for a fee of course. However, since I write for interest and a hobby, I don't want to incur costs. Google keeps trying to suing me up to their Adsense, but  that won't  make much money (if at all). With about 100,000 
page-views a year, the numbers just aren't there. And most people do not click on ads to be sent somewhere else from my website.

  I also have been busier this year trying to manage my own retirement funds on a self-directed buy/sell Internet site. So far, it's been up and down. I'll probably return to my former site (pad management with my direction) and forget about getting rich fast or even getting ahead. It's harder than increasing readership to my blog!

Last week, I went over to Liveauctioneers, and found a great  auction of all kinds of toys, some of which I hadn't seen before. Today's grouping of cast iron wreckers I've seen, but never so many being sold in one auction. I wrote to American Antique Auctions, and received a reply from Mr. Vince Sarchese. He politely mentioned that I had written about American Antique Auctions before, and of course I could use their photos. I write back and apologized. It's a good thing I wasn't using a computer with Skype. Vince would have seen me change 6 shades to a red-faced embarrassing person! 

  What I like to see from a toy auctioneer are nice photos with several photos and a decent size for viewing.  Of course, if you've visited me in the last year, you'll have noticed that I have been placing toys against a white background.  Vince's American Antique Auctions has all 3 criteria. All I had to do is adjust the white levels (white, black, and mid-tones), and the toys beautifully popped out against the white.

   For those who don't know, the term "wrecker' was the precursor to the better-sounding term 
tow-truck. With not many roads in the early years of the automobile, I'm sure whenever an accident occurred, the cars were "wrecked" badly and had to be towed. Cars today, of course are built better (except for the "recalls"), and with a cell phone you can easily find a tow truck quite fast. For myself, I started to drive in 1970, when my parents purchased for me a car for me to travel out of town . The drive was about 30 miles (50 km) and several teachers and I car-pooled, alternating cases week-to-week.  I can't ever recall ever needing a tow truck.  I should have used one though. One winter I was stuck on ice and burnt a transmission going back and forth. That was a hard lesson to learn, costing me about $ 700.00 at the time!

   What's interesting about these toys is that they have lasted almost in original condition for so long. When I originally started to write about old and antique toys, I would buy, photograph, and re-sell the toys back to buyers on ebay. I never really made any money (I probably lost money), but I was able to keep taking photos, both as a pro-photo teacher and photographer. Eventually, I stopped buying and selling and asked people and companies around the world for permission to use their photos.

   If you have ever held a cast iron toy in your hands, their is something "mystical" about it. It's heavy and cold, and solid. Also, mostly in the U.S.A. were there these toys. Some cast iron toys were made in Sweden, but for some reason cast iron toys were made mostly in America. 

  Most of the cast iron toys were made in two symmetrical halves (left and right),. They would be  made into one unit by an iron bolt  with a rounded head at one end and a  cut-off end at the other end. This end was slightly longer and would be carefully hammered with a peen hammer (rounded hammer head) to form a slight flattened end to hold the two halved together. I once bought a cast iron toy in two halves, and purchased a cast iron rod to join the parts together. I sweated so much, I though I'd rust the toy, but the toy parts held together, and I was able to repaint and resell the toy.  I'm sure the experienced factory workers at the time would have laughed heartedly at my work!

  Have a look at the written descriptions and the photos. What I especially like is the nickel-plated parts of some of the toys. As well,  some of the wheels are made of wood and are still intact. Even the rubber tires are original in some cases.

That wound wire was meant to hold the dual spare tires to each side of the truck. Several different manufacturers used this ingenious technique to hold different parts of their toy trucks or cars together.

I have most of the old cast iron catalogues that I purchased from the Interent and especially on ebay. I'll try and remember to cross-reference some the toys so that I can specify exactly what they are. 

For the toy below, notice the nice grille that is nickel-plated, It's a beauty!
THe handle is also nickel.  I just noticed that I misspelled the word 
(I wrote" tasker" below in the description.

What's nice below is to see a pair of toys from a similar timeframe. 
The "rumble seat" is especially interesting.

Below, nickel-plating is used both for thew wheels , the wind-up and the tow hook. I remember when a nickel (a 5 cent piece) was in fact made from nickel, and a penny was made entirely from copper. Now a nickel is steel and in canada there are no longer any pennies in circulation. The Canadian government decided to remove it. So when you pay for an item , it's "rounded off" to the nearest 5 cent or 10 cent value.

Here again is a nice pair of toys coming to auction.  WHile I was loping at the couple, I noticed the trunk at the rear end. It's the first time in 66 years that I immediately associated the term "trunk" that we associate with today's cars, with the original "trunk" from way back and log ago. I canl;t believe it took me so long to figure this out!

Once again, you can see the use of nickel-plating on the nice grille. Both toys have nice wooden rims with rubber tires.

The coupe reminds me of the Tootsietoys. These are small-sized  metal alloy-poured American toys.
THese are my favourite small-sized toys (3"-4"/ 76 mm - 102 mm)
 although they are no longer made. 

Finally a pair of very small cast iron toys.  
I can't remember ever seeing such a small cast iron toy. Back then, toys were quite inexpensive, and to produce such a small cast iron toy, to me, is an anomaly. Of course, back then  a cent (penny) was a  lot of money and five cents was even more.

I'll have to remember to see if I can find out why Arcade and Hubley would make toys so small.

In the world of old toys, there's always something new to be found and to wrote about!

You can find this particular set of toys at Liveauctioneers.

Thanks for visiting,
and as always,
have a great part of the day or night,
wherever you may be.
Stacey Bindman

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