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.
The above image is a screen-capture from the U.S.PAtent Office website. The address in the
rectangle where you type addresses shows a more-specific address for searching. What you have to do is to search. I got the patent number from an excellent resource book on these cast ironmechanical banks from a book titled "A History of Antique Mechanical Toy Banks", by Al Davidson. The publisher is Long's America, and the book was published in 1987.
The red arrow is pointing to where you have to enter the patent number. Since this toy was patented in 1897, you have to add another number at the beginning - a "0" (zero). The U.S. Patent Office requires a minimum of 7 numbers for a numerical search.
Below, you can see the added "0" that I added to the search.
The image below is the result of the search.
This has brought up a new window, and from here,
you can search for an image (where the blue arrow is pointing).
Below is the result of the search.
This helps to verify that this toy was in fact
made in the U.S.A.
However*, if you were at a flea market, you might come across a
modern-day reproduction of this toy. There is no worry by bidding either on
Liveauctioneers or Bertoia Auctions. Both are very highly reputable.
The screen-capture below if from p.119 of the
Al Davidson book published by Long's America.
Mr. Davidson'w was quite thorough in explaining how the toy worked, as well
as providing information to authenticate the "real toy".
Finally below are 3 excellent photos of the
actual cast iron mechanical bank for sale.
The name of this toy is "I always did 'spise' a mule".
So this is the last post for 2017. I want to wish everyone a healthy and Happy New Year.
I hope everybody is having a great Christmas Day and is enjoying a fine Christmas
meal, and resting for tomorrow (Boxing day). Auction houses plan their auctions months in advance. The time is needed to organize the toys, photography them, and to catalogue them into an order. As well, the toys are being authenticated as to what manufacturer, when they were made, what characteristics they have, and any damage if any.
I've focussed Bertoia Auctions cast iron and pressed steel toys. However there are many fine toys that are available for those who might like to see other toys.
Many of the cast iron banks are from America. I've seen the odd bank from another country, but these banks were mostly made in the USA. They were made in the 1880's-1930's. They are called mechanical banks because they usually had a spring-activated way of cocking the spring. A coin would be placed somewhere on the toy, and when a trigger released the spring, the coin would drop into the inside of the bank. When the bank was full, a screwdriver would unscrew a screw that held a trap in place, so that the coins would not fall out from the bank. Some of the mechanical banks are quite valuable and garner 4-5 digit prices at auction!
Below is an early cast iron and steel Kingsbury Fire Pumper.It was made most likely in the 1910's-early 1920's. This is what fire trucks looked like a few years after the horse-drawn wagons started to become obsolete.
Structo was an American company that made moveable toys such as the one that appears here.
THe one here is a wind-up toy, that even has a large vertical brake handle on its' right side.
It's made of pressed steel, and either die-cast or cast iron wheels.
Walt Disney's most famous characters are Micky and Minny Mouse. In the 1920's, when these 2 comic characters were very, very popular, there was a huge demand for toys of Minny and Mickey.
As such, many American companies asked for licenses to produce toys based on these 2 characters. Lionel , a famous American model railroad company, even got involved and produced this fine toy.
The Chein company produced lots of toys in the 1920's-1930's and later on. They were usually made from pressed metal sheets that were cut into smaller pieces that were assembled by assembly lines of people. The "Dan-Dee Dump Truck" has a wind-up mechanism with a hand break. When the brake is released, the toy moves forward.
Have a look either at Bertoia Auctions website or liveauctioneers website with Bertoia Auctions.
There are lots of toys in this auction, and many are quite interesting to see. Already,
people have bid on some of the toys in the auction!
Sunday, December 24, 2017 Sunny with Cloudy Periods -6 C 21.2 F
Another Division of Morphy Auctions
Automobilia, Petrolina & Automobile Division)
I thought that I would would change the nature of the post today from toys to another division of Morphy Auctions. So today's post is about their Automobila, & Petrolina,division. Although the The title refers to anything other than cars. This includes neon and porcelain signs from the past, and car accessories such as cans of oil.
Morphy Auctions through the ownership of Mr. Dan Morphy has
expanded greatly under his.excellent guidance .
The sampling of listed items (below) are from December 2, 2017 auction/
Washington Chief Gasoline Porcelain Station Identification Sign
Final price: $ 34, 440.00 U.S.
Lot of 5: Canadian Double Ten Gallon Visible Gas Pump with Accessories
Final Price: $ 32,4 00.00 U.S.
Height 120" 3.06 M
Richfield Gasoline Neon Die-Cut Porcelain Sign
Final Price: $ 31, 200.00 US
Dimensions: Height x Width x Depth:
156" x 96" x 12" 3.97 M x 2.44 M x .35 M
Complete Pontiac with Full Leather Porcelain Neon Sign
Final Price: $ 17, 220.00 U.S.
Height x Width x Depth:
144" x 50" x 18" 3.66M x 1.27M x.458 M
Shell Gasoline Porcelain Sign with Porcelain Aviation Wings
Final Price: $ 25, 200.00 U.S.
Width x Height
205" x 48" 5.28 M x 1.22M
Very Rare Westland Gas Service Station Porcelain Neon Sign with Buffalo Graphic
Final Price: $ 15, 600.00 U.S.
Diameter x Depth:
66" x 10" 1.68 M x .254 M
* aAl final prices include the buyer's premium fee*
When you visit thewebsite, the photography not only is excellent, but the file sizes are very large. This allows you to view the smaller details if you need to do so. I haven't written much more, because I leave it up to you to see the wonderful items that were sold. This is just one division of many When you see one division, you will be tempted to visit all of the others.
I was surprised this past Wednesday to receive an e-mail from Mr. Tom Sanders. For those who don't know who this great craftsperson is, please do a search on this blog for Mr. Tom Sanders, and you should be able to find several posts on this man.
In Tom's Own Words:
" I can give a little more info on the Beech 18 conversion. The challenge actually began when a past client asked me to convert one into a DC-3 which was not intense as all I did was change the single fin to one similar to The Douglas DC-3 (Canuck or "DAK") and replace the props. In doing so I started a parallel speculative project taking the same toy airplane and creating a Lockheed 12 (similar to the one in the movie Casablanca). If actually finished that one and accepted an offer for it."
"The toy should up in some blogs and websites with a number of inquiries trickling in about modifying the toy into other famous types. One in particular was this request to re-configure the toy into the Beech 18 "Twin Beech"
First stage was to recreate the tail assembly and put it into the correct location higher on the fuselage. I added a fairing so that the fuselage and stabilizer had a smooth transition. In addition, I also tapered the wings to fit the scale outline. Generally the toy would have been an easy modification for Wyandotte to convert into the B-18."
Next came filling in the underside of the wings where the nacelle would have been.
This was accomplished by epoxying two large tapered wood dowels in place
and using a combination of JB Weld and plastic filler to make the appropriate contours.
" also cut and soldered belly pans on the bottom of the fuselage to add to the 3D appearance.
The toy took on a completely different appearance compared to the stock Wyandotte Toy."
"Once the new landing gear was created and installed, I moved to creating a better set of engine
cowlings which were copper end plugs for plumbing. These get center bored first.
With the wood dowel now inside the engine cowling, I had many options for configuring the prop assemblies.
In the end, it was decided to hand make the props from sheet aluminum stamped into a camber to connect the model to its roots as a toy. II also added those decals I printed of a Pratt and Whitney wasp "Junior"."
"The client did request cargo doors on the port side. Wisely he understood that the added surgery
would be quite costly and if the airplane was to be hung "airborne" the doors would not be open.
Instead we opted to at least add the outlines as that was still a unique feature on the airplane he flew."
And as they say, "a picture is worth a 1000 words. You can see how much
detail Tom puts into designing and creating his fantastic creations.
I received several e-mails today, but today's post is about the one that gave me a big surprise.
The writing below is the surprise that I received. I've had the pleasure to write about these 2 fine auction houses over the last 6 years. Both Morphy Auctions and James D. Julia are 2 exceptional auction companies that gave me their permission to write about them and I am very grateful for that. I've had the pleasure to learn about toys through these 2 fine people.
Below is the notice that I received in the mail:
I am excited to share the news with you that effective December 14, 2017, Morphy Auctions of Denver, PA and Las Vegas, NV has successfully merged with the renowned international auction company of James D. Julia, Inc. of Fairfield, ME and Woburn, MA. James D. Julia, Inc. will become a division of Morphy Auctions. Joining forces creates a synergistic team of passionate staff members to better serve customers and strengthens the antiques and collectibles industry.
Morphy Auctions realized annual sales of $35 million dollars within the last year. Within this same time, Julia’s generated $43 million dollars in annual sales; for a combined gross of $78 million dollars. With this combined total of potential annual sales, Morphy Auctions is poised to become the one of the largest antique auction houses in North America.
Please see the attached press release and leadership photographs for more information.
I have always been impressed with Mr. James D. Julia's fine website. He too is a highly-successful businessman. His toy division was sold off to Mr. Morphy about 2 years ago. What impressed me most about his website was the exceptional research into each item that wen to auction. Also, his photography was superb!
In the photo below, Mr. Dan Morphy on the left is shaking hands with Mr. James D. Julia on the right. Total sales for James D. Julia, Inc. were $ 45,000,000 million dollars, while total sales for Morphy auctions were $ 35,000,000 dollars.
I'm quite confident that with the 2 companies having merged, their success will continue, and
within a few years will hit stratospheric sales approaching $ 100,000,000 dollars (US).
I wish them both success and happiness in the New Year,
under the banner of Morphy Auctions .
In closing, I want to wish all my readers and the companies and owners that I
Born in Brooklyn, New York, to AustrianJewish parents, Marx graduated from high school at age 15 and started his career working for Ferdinand Strauss, a manufacturer of mechanical toys. By 1916, Marx was managing Strauss' plant inEast Rutherford, New Jersey. But within a year, Marx was fired by Strauss' board of directors over a disagreement about sales practices.
Marx then entered the United States Army as a private and attained the rank of sergeant before returning to civilian life in 1918. Marx's passion for the Army was reflected throughout his life; most of Marx's military toys represented Army equipment, and Marx would later make a practice of befriending generals and naming his sons after them.
Following military service, Marx then went to work selling for a Vermont-based manufacturer of wood toys, redesigned the product line, and increased the company's sales tenfold.[
In 1919 Marx and his brother David incorporated, founding the company that bore his name. Initially working as a middle man, Marx was soon able to purchase tooling to manufacture toys himself. When Strauss fell on hard financial times, Marx was able to buy the dies for two Strauss toys and turn them into best-sellers. By age 26, three years after founding his company, Marx was a millionaire.
By utilizing techniques of mass production and reusing old designs as much as possible – Marx utilized some of his toy train tooling developed in the early 1930s until 1972 – Marx was able to sell a broad line of inexpensive toys. All US-made toy trains would come from a plant in Girard, Pennsylvania which produced millions of lithographed tin, and plastic toy trains.[
By 1951, the Marx company had 12 factories worldwide, and for much of the 1950s it was the largest toy manufacturer in the world, with much of the success coming from Sears, Roebuck, & Company catalog sales and the many the med play sets available. As World War II drew to a close, Marx had toured Europe and acted as a consultant on how toy manufacturing could aid reconstruction efforts. Marx used the contacts he made in this manner to forge partnerships and open factories in Europe and Japan Marx was featured on the cover of Time magazine on December 12, 1955, with his portrait eclipsing an image of Santa Claus, while examples of his toys swirl in the background.
Most of the Marx toys above range in date from the 1930's - 1940's.
They were manufactured from thin-gauge pressed steel, and lithographed for their colour.
At one time (1951), as the article from Wikipedia indicates, Marx was the largest producer of toys in the world. Eventually, after WWII, Japan, during its' comeback years started to make toys for the world market. This had a large effect on the Marx company manufacturing. By the 1960's and later, toys were being produced around the world in countries with low-paying jobs. Mr. Marx sold the company to Quaker Oats for $ 58 million dollars at the age of 76. After that the toy company was faced with too much competition from around the world. Quaker sold its struggling Marx division to the British conglomerate Dunbee-Combex-Marx, who had bought the former Marx UK subsidiary in 1967. By 1980, the last Marx toy factory in the US closed, the Marx brand disappeared and the company Dunbee-Combex-Marx filed for bankruptcy.