Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Metalcraft 1930's Trucks

Sunday, October 25, 2015
Overcast and raining, seasonally cold

The 1930's Metalcraft Trucks

   Bertoia Auctions is having a nice auction on November 14, 2015. There's a diversified collection of toys, but what caught my attention was a small grouping of Metalcraft toys, and specifically, the 1930's line of trucks. The lengths of the trucks range from 11 1'2 - 14 1/2"  (  290 mm - 368 mm). 

  What most interesting is that the styling of the trucks is "Art Deco" with oversized and rounded fenders and wheel wells.  Also,  the trucks are almost similar in design and can easily be recognized. Some however are more sophisticated and have battery-operated front headlights.

IN the truck above and the one below, you can see the beautifully contoured wheel wells and side fenders. The  Meadow Gold Butter truck has battery-operated lighting. Also notice the small vertical stop or "lip" in the back of the open back of the truck. This is a small deviation from the other trucks, and wass most probably designed to hold "cases" of cargo. The lip would prevent the cargo from spilling out.

The truck below is similar in design and construction to the ones above. 

The difference is in the flatbed portion in the back of the truck. BOth trucks have battery-operated lighting, but the second one below is missing its' headlights.

The oil carrier toy truck below must have been quite popular in the 1930's. I base my statement on the fact that this truck was reproduced by 2 different people in modern times. It certainly had lots of features and additions to make it attractive to children in the 1930's.

 What you notice below is how the Bertoia  Auctions company is quite knowledgeable about toys. 
Now I know that  Mr. Al Korte was the chief Metalcraft designer in the 1930's. As well, this particular toy will most probably be bidder up highly, since this was a prototype, and was never manufactured. I like how the rounded lines are well integrated into the front and back portions of the 2 parts of the truck. Even the dumpster has a nicely-rounded lip. This was done for both aesthetic and for safety reason for young children.  It's to bad the toy never went into production, because it would have been lots of fun to play in the sandbox with this sleek toy.

So that's it for a dull and rainy day up here in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It's not winter yet, but the leaves are falling and it's windy as well. So writing a post today is fine, since I don't have to go out.

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

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Magnificent Toy Comes to Market

Saturday, October 24, 2015
     Seasonally cooler with partial sun

A Magnificent Toy 
Comes to Market

   I've been trying to return to writing, but it's slow. However, I always am encouraged by the wonderful toys of old that I see, especially from Bertoia Auctions. For some reason, I notice lots of things wherever I go.I guess it's the ATD (Attention to Detail) as a photographer.  So when I saw this toy, I absolutely and positively had to post and write about it.

   It was made in 1893,and I thought I 'd add what was happening in 1893 to put the toy into perspective in the USA, since the toy is American.

1.The American Flag has 44 stars representing 44 states.
2. On March 4, 1893, Grover Cleveland becomes the American President
3. 1893 is a mere 25 years after the American Civil War
4. A serious depression in the stock market began in this year
5.The Gilded Age (1870's-1900), a term invented by the great American satirist and writer, 
Mr. Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was happening.  
5. The "Progressive Era", a period of social activism and political reform 
was happening at this time.*

What's fascinating about this toy, is of course the detail. ANd with all that detail, there is a lexicon of language to identify all those parts.  I have absolutely no idea what the parts are called, except (please excuse my ignorance) the reins, the cart, horse, wheels, lanterns, blinders, hooves,and a few other terms). Of course if you are a horse person, you're probably rattling off all of the terms for the harness that this fine horse has on her/him.

About 2 decades ago (boy how time flies!), my wife Heidi and I went to Washington and of course had to visit the Smithsonian. We stayed 3 days in Washington, but I could have stayed 3 days in one of their museums, the title of which escapes me. It's the one where there is lots of "Americana". Examples included at the time how a lead pencil was made, and a cross section of the Brooklyn humongous support cable for the bridge.  Of course, with the Smithsonian having so many different buildings, we only visited this one for a few hours. 

The photo below is great because you can see the nice detail and casting of the horse and cart.

I like how cargo would be hidden in the space below where people were seated. Of course, if you were a child, you'd "hide" your most dear "mementos". 

For a toy that's 122 years old, I should only look so good if I ever reach that age!
Of course, I'm dreaming in Technicolor, 
but that's what toys are all about - placing and imagining.

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

Stacey Bindman

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cast Iron Doorstops

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
               Partly sunny and mild

Cast Iron Doorstops

   Our Canadian election is finally over. The Conservative Prime Minister, Mr Stephen Harper decided to call the election 79 days ago - a record for an election campaign. Whatever strategy he had obviously didn't work as a new Liberal Prime Minister buy the name of Mr. Justin Trudeau won the election with a clear majority. Mr.Trudeauis the son of the famous late P.M. Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and I'm 99.999% sure that the father-son Prime Ministership is a first in Canadian Politics.

   However, I digressed, and so back to toys, which is again another digression (that doesn't sound too good, since the word "digression" is usually associated with doing something wrong -a sin),for my blog, as I decided to write about cast iron doorstops. 

   Foundries that produced cast iron merchandise for the growing American public produced more than just toys. I've written innumerable times about cast iron toys, which are one of my favourite toy categories. However, the foundries also produced lots of tother fine merchandise such as hardware for the home. This included door hinges, locks and keys, butterfly latches to hold in screened and glass windows and lots of other items.

   I have written ever-so-briefly on cast iron doorstops, but decided to give these magnificent items their own post. The upcoming Bertoia Auctions auction on November  14, 2015, and titled Holiday Surprises Auction 2 features lots of nice cast iron toys and of course today's subject - doorstops.

  The houses  of yesteryear  weren't made the same as today's homes. Foundations might be large stones from the field, walls weren't as well-built as today, and doors weren't finished  to the level of today either. As a result, most homes in olden times would move, just as today. As a result, doors would tend to tilt and wouldn't remain open.  So with every problem there is a solution, and the doorstop was invented probably thousands of years ago, but in the form of a rock. 

   What's interesting about doorstops is that there were so many different models and different categories to choose from. And of cords, there were all of the cast iron toy companies and hardware manufacturers making these interesting items. While I was writing and assembling the photos with their respective data, I "discovered" that in fact, some of these door stoppers were actually small, compared with what I had originally thought they would have been.  I'm quite sure though, that if someone had a smaller door, they wouldn't need a large doorstop, and if the reverse was true, or the door was quite heavy and didbnlt hold its' place, a larger doorstop was called for.

    So without further adieu ( a French term for more talking), lets' get to these fine items.

What I like of doorstops is the craftsmanship that went into making the mild and of course the design and content itself. It's like taking artwork and adding the third dimension of depth into the doorstop. The colours were of course hand painted, and  so one can imagine all of the workers who worked for long hours painting the many different doorstops.

My mother loved China, and had a nice collection of Royal Doulton, Helmsley, Rosenthal, and Lladro. The item below of the Southern Belle lady reminds me of a fine porcelain figurine.

I would think that the rabbit with the overalls (below) would have been selected for a child's door. So imagine iof a house was exceptionally tilting, and was a very large house, how many doorstops there might have been!

Being a photographer and nature person, you have to adore the fine pair of quail below. 

And the same for this magnificent peacock with its plumage in full show to attract, of course, 
the peahen!

THe Turkey, whci is most likely a "Tom", the name for a male turkey is my favourite for its exceptional carving, skill, and detail. If you select slide-view mode for Blogger (this blog by Google), you will bye able to see all photos off this post and others in a magnified mode. There the detail of this Tom Turkey will stand out!

I like detail. I don't know why, but perhaps it's being a photographer and needing to see detail and  pay attention to detail when doing portraits, taking landscapes, or photographing products.  Also, I seem to retain lots on information. Sometimes, I am even surprised at the answers I get when I watch the American TV Quiz show - Jeopardy. Of course, if I ever went on the show, I would "freeze up" like a deer caught in the headlights of a car, and wouldn't be able to answer the questions.

What I learned from the Bertoia Auctions description below of the doorstop of the house (below) is that it has a resemblance to a saltbox.  I never heard of a saltbox before, and now I know. I would also assume, that people must have had a large supply of salt, especially if they lived in remote places throughout any country, in this case being America, so a larger-sized container would have been used.

So that's it for today. The leaves are already falling off the trees, so the fall season is already underway. It snowed earlier in the week, this the freeze caused the leaf stems to break away from the trees. 

Lots of work to do around the house, but still some time to write.

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

Stacey Bindman

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Famous Collector and Auctioneer's Mechanical Banks Come to Bertoia Auctions

Sunday,October 18,2015
Sunny, seasonally very cold

A Famous Collector & Auctioneer's Mechanical Banks
Come to Bertoia Auctions

   Yesterday, I decided to write and post, and today again decided to write one again. I had discovered a fabulous collection of mechanical banks that had gone to auction through the  internatiopnally-renowned antique toy auctioneer - Bertoia Auctions.  The famous collector and auctioneer is Mr. Clive  Devenish of Clive Devenish Antiques in Incline Village, Nevada, USA.

   When I saw the fabulous mechanical bank below, I decided to check out the live Devenish Antiques website. I was very surprised and delighted to visit, and naturally I had to write the company and ask for permission to write about them and their fabulous collector - Mr. Clive Devenish. I'm not going to write much about them , but you have to visit their site. Not only do they have lots of fine merchandise up for auction, but they write detailed information about each listing,and add some fine historical narration to each item, and especially toys.

"Kyser & Rex Mfg., Philadelphia PA, cast iron, circa 1880
 Considered one of the finest examples known, an extraordinary feat in casting design, the oval ring contains five figures in varied poses with a multi-colored back drop depicting the skating tender, rarely found with all original paint and figures, the grey area is in phenomenal preserved condition, a highlight for any collector. Coin is placed on roof of bank, pressing the lever allows the two front skaters to seemingly skate around from the front to rear of the rink where the little girl skater is met by a man who presents a wreath for her. 
Provenance: FH Griffith, Steven Steckbeck Collection. 
(Near Mint Cond.)"

* Description courtesy of Bertoia Auctions

For such a rare item, I decided to give it exclusivity and add it by itself. Because of its' fine condition and rarity, the item achieved a 6-digit final bid, and was well-worth the cost to the bidder. I have a reproduction mechanical bank, and have lots of fun with it when young children or adults come to visit. These banks were once very popular at the turn of the 20th century and well into the 1930's. However, like everything else, times and values change, and the cast iron banks defined in popularity. Also shipping costs went up, alternate manufacturing and materials replaced cast iron, and "the rest is history".

What was great about these banks is that they not only had children have fun with the toy, but they actually had children save money. At that time, a penny could in fact buy you lots of things. Today, at least in Canada and Great Britain, the penny has been relegated to a footnote in history - 
it is no more. Our government decided the penny was superfluous (obsolete) and too costly to manufacture. Of course, I didml;t think so, and talk about frivolity, one just has to read how governments easily waste our hard0-earned money that we pay taxes to the government.

If you ever happen to find a mechanical aback,it most likely will still be working (they made toys last back then), your kids and yourself will have lots of fun, and most importantly, your children will learn the value of money and saving. 

Mind you, you'll have to use dollar coins (Loonies and Toonies in Canada) as coinage in order for your "kids" to buy the latest IPhone6 . You'll also have to empty the bank vault compartment about 10 times. Back in the 1900's 20 pennies (cents) could buy you a lot of things, especially toys.  Today, you can't even buy a gum ball - that's called progress and inflation!

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

Please feel free to write to me anytime at:

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A New Auctioneer Helps Out

Saturday, October 17, 2015
             Raining and cold, 
        with some snow to boot!

A New Auctioneer Helps Out

  This week, I had a reader write to me about my April 30, 2011 post. Phew, that certainly seems so long ago. The reader commented that one of the toys that I was comparing was not what I said it was. Naturally, I thanked the reader and will have to do a search to corroborate (confirm) her keen observations. I did a cursory check, and she's correct.

   I had ventured over to Liveauctioneers because that website is great for viewing all toys from many different auctioneers. In doing so, I found some nice toys from Stanton Auctions. Their recognizable toy listings usually have an accompanying aluminum can of Coca-Cola, and I'm sure I've written as bout them before. However, I could not find their name on my computer, so I wrote to them. I got their permission, and hence this post today.

   What I liked about Stanton Auction's auction which is set for next Saturday, October 24, 2015 @ 07:00 A.M. EST (Eastern Standard Time) is that they have non-toy listings as well. If I had 8 more lives like a cat, I'd be writing 8 more blogs. Antiques are a marvellous realm into our history, and what we were 50, 100, 1000 years ago.  It tells us about ourselves, and sometimes, old is in fact better than new.  

 As an example, I  met a new acquaintance named Mike who is an early-morning riser (4-5 A.M.) at Tim Horton's that Canadian icon for fast food. One of his hobbies still (he's in his early 50's) is models.  Todays' kids want fancier toys - a.k.a. cell phones, tablets, computers, and for myself, the loss of chemistry kits, Radio Shack electronic parts (making a radio), or toy models is a big loss for today's generation. Having hand-eye coordination, skills in interpreting plans, and dexterity with painting are important in developing our next generation of people. I'm sure the counter argument would be that new technology or new toys (e.g. drones) do just as well.  I would agree up to a point, and as an example here's one. Several years ago, I read that children who grew up with game consoles were more adept and faster learners with  arthroscopic surgery than older doctors who did not grow up "playing games" on game consoles.

  The  first item that I selected for today's presentation is a Hornby Meccano speedboat. Meccano was the catalyst that led me to start to write this blog. If you go to my first post, you can read up on how I started. I had a Meccano set when I was young, as did most kids. It was great to assemble, but I would have needed more kits to create the mega projects such as a Ferris wheel! SInce I also had the Minibrix kit, a chemistry kit, the Lionel train set, and a few other toys, I wasn't going to get a second Meccano set. Also, with all the other toys, I didn't have the time. And, of course,being from parents (mostly my mother and grandmother) who liked the house to be tidy (there were 4 children in all) I didn't have the "luxury"of keeping my projects on the floor. THey had to be dismantled and reboxed!

Antique Mecanno Hornby speedboat "Viking" 
with original paint & decals 
Length x Height: 18"  x 5"  458 mm x 127

Carpenter is one of the classic American brands of cast iron companies who existed in the early 20th century America. THe only other country that ever made cast iron toys was Sweden,and perhaps even Canada.  Cast iron toys were inexpensive to make compared to the more advanced lithographed tin toys of Europe , especially Germany. Also transportation was very inexpensive at the time in America. The government wanted the vast areas of the country to be developed, and so the railroads had been given great "leeway" in building the railroad and charging lower fees to move people to the new states.  In  fact, some of the American states did not enter "the Union"until the early 20th century. Oklahoma (1907),  New Mexico (1912), Arizona (1912) are 3 examples.

  I had never heard of an "automaton" until I started to write about antique toys.  An automaton is a mechanized toy that goes through a series of movement. Built into the interior of the toy or figure are a series of chains or strings. When wound, the automation will move through the series of movements. Many of the European automatons are quite "real-looking" relative to people, and were carefully handcrafted. Some of them receive high bids at auctions. THese toys are a "special" category of antique toys unto themselves, and this one by Stanton Auctions is in excellent condition.

   The late Malcolm Forbes was a big collector of toys, especially mechanical models of ships.  THese toys were mostly made in Europe, and are exceptional in detail, size, and movement.  The toys were actually able to float and would be placed in park ponds and lakes to move. I haven;t heard of the name Faulk", so this listing from Stanton Auctions will give me impetus (incentive) to write a future blog on this name of mechanical ship toys.

  If you look at the written description, you will see the name of Mr. Dick Claus.  Mr. Claus was a collector of exceptional rare and antique toys. His toy collection was sold by the esteemed toy auctioneer Bertoia Auctions, and now some toys are being resold from collectors who purchased them years ago.  

   I wrote about the Bertoia Auction/Dick Claus auction several times. However, what is even more interesting are all of the different toys that were made from the real-life speed machines of the time. In the 1920's-1930's land, sea, and air speed records were being achieved every 6 months, and the British were quite avid sportspeople.  SIr Malcolm Campbell was one of Britain's great land and sea speedsters who achieved innumerable records racing cars and boats in the 1920's and 1930's. 

  There is no date attributed to this toy in the description. However, I would opine (guess) that this toy is from the early both century.  Both the style of toy, modelled after the real train, as well as using "live steam" to move the train helps me date the toy. I've always been amazed that steam toys would be around at the time. Steam is in fact safe when under a parent or parents' supervision,but it can be dangerous both from the fire source to create the stem, and well as the tremendous heat to propel the machine.

  I haven't written a post in a long time, so this was both enjoyable ( I like to write) and also helped me see if I still know how to use Blogger (a Google product) as well as to use my skills in Photoshop.
I was a bit "rusty", but both sets of skills came back very fast.

  I was also happy to have  has Roxanne from Stanton Auctions return my e-mail so fast. I'm sure I've written about Stanton Auctions before, since that "trademark" reference (the Coca-Cola aluminum can) is very hard not to remember. I'll have to have  do a better search on my computer or through Blogger and past postings.

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