Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Newly Acquired Distler Catalogue

Thursday, November 17, 2016
Cloudy with sunny breaks
9 Celsius  48 Fahrenheit

A Newly Acquired 
Distler Catalogue

A few days ago, I acquired a new Distler toy catalogue. I found this catalogue on the Internet at a store called La Librairie du Jouets.  The owner is Mr. Patrick Pasky who lives in France. He's quite dedicated to toys and he's very busy. First, Patrick is working on a huge database of old and antique toys. Then, he's collecting old toy catalogues. And finally, he buys and sell toy books, as well as scanning old catalogues and selling them. He sells these catalogues as Adobe PDF files.The Internet is truly amazing.

First I found Patrick's website. Then I noticed he sells toy catalogues as digital downloads. And then I paid and received the download all in the same day. Try that just a mere 40 years ago - Nada!

The Distler catalogue is 100 pages, and the first thing that I noticed is that the catalogue is in 4 languages- German, English, French,  and Spanish. The descend thing that you notice is just how many different toys the Distler manufactured in 1928, the year the catalogue was published.

Immediately below are screen captures of 2 pages. The pages have both trains, an automobile, and an airplane. Back in the 1920's trains must have been very big sellers, since this catalogue has 43 pages dedicated to trains!

 By 1928, the year this catalogue came out, the automobile was already well-established and many companies were manufacturing automobiles. Distler naturally produced lots of cars in 3 different categories. There were the  regular-sized wind-up cars , the regular-sized battery-operated  headlight cars, and the inexpensive cars with the title "cheap toys". I like that! I wonder of the translator made an error, or "cheap" wasn't a derogatory word at the time.

The second category as I mentioned before were regular-sized cars. There are 33 pages dedicated to cars, trucks, airplanes, and farm vehicles, with cars being the most prominent group. Below, the topmost and to the right car is a yellow taxi, which by the late 1920's was the most numerous taxi in the united states. In every large city, you'd find yellow taxis, that were of course painted yellow.

Below is the start of the cars and truck with electric lights
These toys of course, were powered by batteries.  Notice the top left car. It has 3 lights! Two headlights, and a  rear brake light. I've never seen that before in a toy. The movement is a wind-up mechanized movement. Interestingly, there are even battery-operated toys that had headlights, and even a battery-operated movement mechanism. I'm sure those who owned these toys went through lots and lots of batteries!

There were also animal and insect wind-up toys. When you wound up the toy, the animal or insect would have different movements. Not only did the toy move,but the legs or head would move and open and close.

Below are toy characters that are also wind-up toys. 
In one case, the character moves and turns its' head, in 2 other toys, they rotate

And finally, the "cheap toysA". I laugh every time I see this page with the word "cheap".
These toys do not have the wind-up mechanism, and the number of "cheap toys" is small. 
On a more serious note, back in 1928, the world economies were not in great shape. As week, wages were very low compared to today. To buy an electric car at the time probably would cost a parent  who had a laborious job probably a week's worth of wages! So "cheap toys" were a fact of life for the children of low-paying wage-earners!

I didn't provide any dimensions of the toys because the dimensions on the pages are for the size and weight of the carton rather than the individual toy itself.

The Distler toys were mostly made of tin and had lithographed printing on them. What i'm also fascinated with is the fact that I rarely see Distler toys anywhere. I'll be visiting some of the European ebay stores to see if I can find Distler toys. I'l start with Germany because that tis where the Distler company was located.

Who knows, maybe I'll find lots of Distler toys for future posts!

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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