This blog discusses old toys from the early 1920's to the end of the 1950's. All kinds of topics are discussed.
The time span was the greatest period for "hands-on" toys, where a young child could actually go outside and play for hours at a time.
You can see the elegance but simple design of these toys. It was a time when huge machines, and people made and finished toys by hand.
The era has long passed, but many of the toys are still around, and that is what I would like to share.
In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that Bertoia Auctions is a great website to research out toys from their past auctions. I wrote how to do a search, but it's always better to illustrate with photos, just how to do a search.
1. Type in Bertoia's web address
2a.When you arrive at the Bertoia website,
go to Toy Auction >> Past Auctions
2b. Click on "Past Auctions"
3. Click on any of the "past auctions"
4a. This gets you to another page
with the words "Past Auctions" appearing again.
4b. Click on "Past Auctions" once again
This screen-capture is an enlargement of step #4.
5. Clicking on "Past Auctions (Step 4b) gets you to this page.
This page shows you all of the past auctions, and from here
you can now do a search through all of the past auctions.
6. This is an enlargement of step 5.
You will enter the manufacturer's name here, or even a type of toy (e.g. "cast iron").
7. I entered "lehmann" as the manufacturer's name
7. Clicking on return gets you all of the Lehmann toys from the past auctions.
The "default" (sort by) results are from the latest auction, and going to earlier past auctions.
In this case,the last auction was on November 13, 2016.
The search results for "lehmann" found 819 lots or results.
THat certainly is a lot of Lehmann toys to search through.
8. I changed the "sort by:" entry to
"Bid Amount (high to low)"
If you like, Bertoia Auctions offers their new version of the appearance of their website.
If you don't like this newer version, you can revery back to the older one in the grey rectangle below.
The Bertoia Auctions website is not only a website for bidding on toys.
It's a great resource for searching for toys from past auctions, and seeing the results.
The Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) was a transition period whereby industry in Europe, and later North America was transformed from manpower to machine power. New methods of power were created and discovered to increase production. These included water power, and also steam power. There were abundant coal reserves in Europe which were able to produce the steam for the vast number of machines that became the replacement for manpower. These included large presses and weaving machines (looms) that were able to replace many people and produce many more goods than had ever been produced before.
Naturally, with the invention of steam engines, European toy manufacturers and later American toy manufacturers started to produce steam toys. Some steam toys were simply steam engines that illustrated how these machines operated. Other steam engines could indirectly attach to other machines that could move. THe power for the steam engines were small containers of small candles or small fuel sources to produce the heat necessary to produce the steam that ran the steam machines.
Elusive clockwork driven horse drawn steam pumper, this very scarce Early American fire engine retains all the piping and decorative appointments as viewed in the important George Brown Sketch Book: hand painted tin, boiler done in patriotic red, white, and blue colors, bell appears under frame, drawn by two horses, large cast iron spoke wheels, clockwork concealed in upright boiler. Minor re-touch to boiler, replaced wooden stack and tin pipe in rear frame, short pipe needs repair, horses re-soldered to hitch frame.
Length: 15" 380 mm
A scan (below) of the George Brown steam engine from the catalogue
suaid to have been produced between the 1860's-1870's.
Horizontal Steam Engine
Kenton, cast iron, painted in red and green, flywheel allows movement of parts, scarce.
H x L: 5" x 7 1/2" 127 mm x 190 mm
The toy below appears to be a stand-alone toy. If the large green wheel was hand cranked, all of the parts of the toy would move to simulate a steam engine. Alternatively, a "real" steam engine could be directly attached to the toy via a cord or metal cord. This would then automatically
cause the Kenton toy to go through all of its' motions.
a/ MARKLIN COMPOUND STEAM ENGINE Germany, large scale example, features dynamo, centrifuge governor, feed pump, common cylinder with low & high pressure, horizontal boiler, many nickeled parts, mounted on enameled metal base, this was expensive in its day at $1.75. Base 21 1/2" x 21 1/2" 545 mm x 545 mm
Germany, a wonderful engine, includes pressure gauge, weighted safety valve on steam dome, whistle, protected water glass, drain cock, feed water pump, a flyball governor, ladder to the catwalk around the marine style engine.
L x W x H: 18 1/4" x 20 3/4" x 24 1/4" 463 mm x 528 mm x 615 mm
#4322 w/4116 Steam engine, Germany, c.1909, exceedingly rare example, cataloged as "Bagger Machine," a fabulous entry depicting bucket dredge steam accessory toy, open hull boat able to sit into an embossed wave stand with spike for securing position, great colors comes with small boat to catch over spill from long chute protruding from deck. Toy comes with Marklin steam engine. Small boat 4 7/8" long. Engine 11" high.
The steam engine to the left could be attached to the dredging ship. When the steam engine was powered up, the energy transferred to the dredger would power the chain and small dredge "scoops" to fill with dirt. The scoops would rise and then tilt, dropping their load to the flat plate. From there, the load could drop into the smaller boat.
Hand enameled, 4-4-0 European outline live steam wind cutter style locomotive with eight wheel tender, features opening tool compartments and opening cap for access, functioning water reservoir, well detailed overall, extensive nickel apparatus. Engine and Tender 24 1/2" l
DOLL CO GANTRY CRANE Germany, hand painted grey tin crane with double crank action, can be operated manually or as a steam engine accessory, overhead shed able to move across beams. 14" w.
The above toy would have a stand-alone steam engine attached to it via a cord or metal cord.
The energy produced by the steam engine would allow the flywheel (the large wheel on a steam engine) to transfer the energy to the flywheel of the gantry crane. From there the small house hoist would move back and forth on the tracts, as well as lift an object from the ground.
A page scan from the Arcade toy company of Freeport, Illinois, USA.
A reproduction catalogue ( # 33) published by Noble House (1988)
Old Arcade Cast Iron Double Decker Yellow Coach 500 Bus & Passengers
Painted cast iron, with nickel-plated bus driver and 15 mostly-leaded passengers.
L x W x H (At passengers heads): 13 1/2" x 3 3/4" x 5" 343 mm x 95 mm x 127 mm
Christmas will be here in 2 days, and I know many of you will be travelling all over to reunite with your families. I decided to select a toy that reflected a means of transportation that was common a while back and still is, insofar as old and antique toys go.
So to everyone who has dropped by to visit my post,
When A.C. Williams, Jr. bought his father’s business, the A.C. Williams Co., in 1886, it was a leading manufacturer of hardware items in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. After fires in 1889 and 1892 destroyed the Chagrin Falls operation, Williams decided to move the company to Ravenna, Ohio. It was soon after this move that a Detroit buyer suggested that the miniature product models carried by the company salesmen would make nice toys. This suggestion led to the beginning of the A.C. Williams Company’s venture into toy and bank manufacturing.
The expansion into toy production soon increased, making the company the largest toy and still bank manufacturer in the world, bringing them well-known chain store customers like Woolworth’s. The company’s production of still banks grew rapidly, including large numbers of character, animal, transportation, and building bank types. Production boomed until the beginning of World War II, when iron was needed for military consumption. After the war, the company continued to manufacture toys until 1977, although bank production was never resumed.*
This is a take apart chassis. The 2 parts are separated
when the rear tire is removed.
Length: 8" 203 mm
1935 Ford Coupe
A.C.Williams painted cast iron coupe, with nickel-plated grill,
and rubber tires.
Length: 6 1/2" 165 mm
I've written about the fine cast iron cars and trucks that A.C.Williams made.
However, like most of the other American cast iron toy manufacturers, A.C.Williams also manufactured banks. Most of their banks were "still banks". A still bank simply allows money to be deposited through a hole in the top of the bank. The other form of bank is called a "mechanical bank". A mechanical bank has a cocking mechanism. When a coin is placed on a part of the toy, and the trigger is released, an action causes the coin to be deposited into the inside of the bank.
I didn't add any descriptions to the photos, as the descriptions are simply descriptions with the sizes of the banks. All of these banks are of the "still bank" type. These banks are less-expensive than the mechanical banks which can go into the 5 digit USD dollar values.
Cast iron toys were more of a "phenomena" in the USA than anywhere else in the world, although there were some made in Sweden. Most of the American cast iron tout manufacturers were originally hardware manufacturers. This means that they manufactured household items for the house. Examples were doorstops, locks, keys, and door handles. Most American manufacturers located in Pennsylvania due to the abundance of coal for powering the furnaces necessary to cast the toys. Sand molds would be made from sand. Before the shape was embedded in the sand, a wooden form was carved from wood for the 2 sides of the mold (left and right). The wood forms would then be pressed hard into sand to create the mild. From there, molten cast iron would be poured into the sand mood and allowed to cool. When the mild was cool enough, the toy halves were removed from the sand. Any excess iron from the pouring would be cut or hammered away, and the toy would then be buffed on a sander to smooth the form. Later on, the toy would be painted, and the other parts (e.g. car axles, metal wheels, or wooden hubs with rubber tires) would then be attached to the car.
Most of the cast iron toys made in the USA were made between the late 1800's until the 1930's.
By then, die-cast toys, pressed steel toys, and lithographed tin toys replaced the cast iron toys. THese other toys were easier to manufacturer with the newer technology necessary to manufacturer toys. As well, the increased cost of shipping toys by rail during the 1930's and later necessitated making toys that weighted less than the previous cast iron toys. As well, more complicated toys such as wind-up toys could be made.
Cast iron toys are still in demand by collectors. The topmost toy (the motorcycle) made by Hubley was one of at least 18 different models that Hubley made. THere were lots of "real" motorcycles on the roads from 1900-1930, and naturally children wanted toys made to look like the "real thing". Early cast iron toys (1880's-1920's) were naturally made to resemble moving wagons and carts that were pulled by horses. Later on, from the 1910's-1930's the toys were made in the form of automobile, trucks, and even airplanes. Interestingly, the horse-pulled wagons and carts were still being made, even as motorized vehicles were starting to get more and more popular.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 Overcast with some sun -4 C 24 F
Toys -Part 2
The term die-cast toy here refers to any toy or collectible model produced by using the die casting method. The toys are made of metal, with plastic, rubber, or glass details. Wholly plastic toys are made by a similar process of injection moulding, but the two are rarely confused. The metal used is either a lead alloy (in the first toys), or more commonly Zamak (or Mazak in the UK), an alloy of zinc with small quantities of aluminium and copper. Lead, as previously so widely used for cast metal toys, or iron are impurities that must be carefully avoided in this alloy, as they give rise to zinc pest. These alloys are also referred to casually as white metal or pot metal, although these terms are also confused with the lead toy alloys. The most common die-cast toys are scale models of automobiles, aircraft, construction equipment, and trains, although almost anything can be produced by this method.
Diecast (or die cast, or die-cast) toys were first produced early in the 20th century by manufacturers such as Meccano (Dinky Toys) in the United Kingdom, Dowst Brothers (TootsieToys) in the United States and Fonderie de précision de Nanterre (Solido) in France. The first models on the market were basic, consisting of a small car or van body with no interior. In the early days, it was common for impurities in the alloy to result in zinc pest; the casting would distort or crack for no apparent reason. As a result, diecast toys made before World War II are difficult to find in good condition. The later high-purity Zamak alloy avoided this problem.
Lesney began making diecast toys in 1947. Their popular Matchbox 1-75 series was so named because there were always 75 different vehicles in the line, each packaged in a small box designed to look like those used for matches. These toys became so popular that "Matchbox" was widely used as a generic term for any diecast toy car, regardless of who the actual manufacturer was.
The popularity of diecast toys as collectibles developed in the 1950s as their detail and quality increased. Consequently, more companies entered the field, including the Corgi brand, produced by Mettoy, which appeared in 1956 and pioneered the use of interiors in their models.
In 1968, Hot Wheels were introduced in the United States by Mattel to address the complaint that they had no line of toys for boys to balance their line of Barbie dolls for girls. Because they looked fast and were fast (they were equipped with a low-friction wheel/axle assembly), Hot Wheels quickly gained an important niche in the diecast toy market, becoming one of the world's top sellers and challenging the Matchbox 1-75 series in popularity.
Although this practice has been used by Meccano (Dinky Toys) as far as 1934, during the 1960s various companies began to use diecast vehicles as promotional items for advertising. The idea that children can play a large part in a family's decision as to what products to buy came into wide circulation. In addition, by the 1980s it was apparent that many diecast vehicles were being purchased by adults as collectibles, not as toys for children. Companies such as McDonald's, Sears Roebuck, Kodak and Texaco commissioned toymakers to produce promotional models featuring their names and logos or licensed their use. One early example was an American AirlinesLondon bus produced by Matchbox, an idea some other airlines quickly copied.*
All of the toys below are Tootsietoys - an American company manufactured them. It's name was Dowst Manufacturing Company that was located in Chicago, Illinois (USA). THese toys were manufactured in the 19209's and 1930's. Most of these toys are about 3 inches long.Becuase of their small size, the name Tootsietoy was used, with "tootsie" being used to describe something small.
I've written very many posts, but I haven't written posts about what the toys are made from, so I have decided to add a post about each of the 3 major toy materials - Tin or tinplate, cast iron, and pressed steel. As I hardly write about modern-era toys, plastic toys are not included.
A tin toy, or tin lithograph toy, is a mechanical toy made out of tinplate and colorfully painted by chromolithography to resemble primarily a character or vehicle.
Tinplate was used in the manufacture of toys beginning in the mid-19th century. The toys were made from thin sheets of steel plated with tin, hence the name tinplate. They were a cheap and durable substitute for wooden toys. The toys were originally assembled and painted by hand. Spring activated tin toys originated in Germany in the 1850s. In the late 1880s offset lithography was used to print designs on tinplate. After the colorful designs were printed on the metal, they were formed by dies and assembled with small tabs. The lightweight nature of the toys allowed them to be shipped less expensively and easier than the heavier cast iron toys.
Germany was the major producer of tin toys in the world in the early 20th century. The most famous German manufacturer of tin toys was Ernst Paul Lehmann who is said to have exported 90% of his toys. Franceand England joined the fray and it wasn't long before hundreds of thousands of these penny toys were being manufactured. Production of tin toys in the United States started earlier, but began in earnest when tin ore mines were opened in Illinois providing easily available and cheap raw materials. A number of manufactures scrambled to catch up in the beginning of the 20th century, but it wasn't until after World War I, with anti-German sentiment high, that they began to make real gains. There was a growing demand for American produced products and by the 1920s American firms had overtaken the competition. The largest and most successful firm from the 1920s to the 1960s was Louis Marx and Company. Marx produced a huge number of designs and depended on large sales volumes to keep prices down.
The production of tin toys was discontinued during World War II because of the need for raw materials in the war effort. After the war, tin toys were produced in large numbers in Japan. Under occupation and the Marshall Plan, manufacturers in Japan were granted the right to resume production. The idea was to give Japan all of the low profit; high labor manufacturing and the US companies could sell the imported product. It worked better than they had expected and Japan became a tin toy manufacturing force until the end of the 1950s. In the 1960s cheaper plastic and new government safety regulationsended the reign of tin toys. Presently, China has taken over the role of the leading tin toy manufacturing country.*
* Reference: https://en.wiki2.org/wiki/Tin_toy
Scarce 1930's JML France Pre War Triporteur Wind Up Motorcycle Trike Toy
Very large scale. The rear half of the toy uses the JML Motorcycle "Tag-0158. The
toy is designed as a Delivery Trike, as the hood can be opened to
reveal a storage compartment. The motorcycle half is brightly detailed and colourful.