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.
I'm always happy to receive e-mails from collectors or other websites related to toys. I received an e-mail from Mr. Neil McLaren last week. He had found my website, and asked if I might visit his submarine website and give my feedback. Naturally, I went to his website and was thoroughly impressed. As it turns out, Neil makes his own submarines from materials that he finds in all kinds of places.
"Welcome to Mclaren clockwork submarines, this site is for anyone who has an interest in tinplate clockwork models. All the boats on this site have been made using 100% recycled metals. They are designed and hand built by myself using only basic tools they are fully functional with custom made clockwork motors which I also construct from scrap materials . My submarines are fitted with an internal ballast system together with adjustable diving planes, this gives the boats a broad range of dive capabilities or they can sail just on the surface. For information purposes none of my models are for sale, any reference made on this site to "Sutcliffe", refers to the former Yorkshire manufacturer of pressed steel model boats and submarines."
Below are just some examples of the models that he has made. For "toys" ( although Neil, I'm sure calls them "models", they're very sophisticated, THe models come with gear sets and small cylinders that contain pressured air. The submarines can sink to the bottom of a bathroom bath, or even a small lake. The timer can be set, so that the submarine will release air and cause the submarine to rise to the surface.
Tinplate Clockwork Submarine
Length: 22" 55.88 cm
Length: 31" / 78.74 cm
Weight: 9.9 lb. / 4.5 kg
"This monster has three ballast tanks , its own compressed air system , a clockwork timer to blow the ballast and a clockwork motor turning a coaxial gearbox for its two props . The colossal weight of this submarine is due to the fact that all my boats are dry hulls , therefore the bigger they become the heavier they must be to submerge. The tandem contra rotating prop design is awesome , it efficiently deals with the huge power needed to propel the boat , its slow to start but once up to speed its quick. The compressed air tank is charged with a bicycle pump and it can stay submerged for up to an hour."
The set of 4 photos below illustrate how Neil recycles things that he finds or buys.
The clock mechanism is used as a timer for the submarine. The alarm bells were even recycled to make the compressed air tank . Notice how sophisticated the gear mechanism is!
"Does my bomb look big in this??? Whilst U35 may appear as though it should be strapped to the wing of a military aircraft , I can guarantee its nature is purely aquatic . The design is very much in line with modern "Tear Drop" hull construction. I made this because I wanted to try my latest build , a contra rotating coaxial gear box . This double in line prop system does not lend itself to the older style boats ( apart from torpedoes and a Japanese midget submarine ) hence the hull choice. What a ball ache to build though , the gearbox itself requires about 20% of the mainspring output to run so I had to build a very powerful motor to make a viable drive. Should be interesting when its finished.To ensure quality control , every model is subjected to an intense and thorough cat scan."
I didn't want to add too much information or photos. The reason is that it would be best to visit Neil's fabulous website and see for yourself the mastery that Neil has in order to build these models. It's too bad that his models are not for sale, because I'm sure there would be a few people who be interested in buying them.
So that's it for today, and I hope that you enjoy visiting Neil McLaren's website, because it most certainly is worth visiting!
Friday, August 11, 2017 Clear Skies and very hot & humid Chance of Thunderstorms 28 C 83 F
Some Beautiful 1930's Coupes
from Bertoia Auctions
I've been noticing that Bertoia Auctions had changed their written descriptions of their toys. I decided to write to Mr. Michael Bertoia, a partner, and the son of the late founder of Bertoia Auctions, and ask him what had happened. Michael wrote back, and explained to me that there were now 2 types of auctions in 2017. One type titled "Basics"is an auction that that did not contain much detailed information, such a years and locations. The more advanced type was titled Signatures". This one contains even more written descriptions as the auctions of the past. I also paid my condolences to Michael on the passing of his uncle, Mr. Rich Bertoia, who worked at Bertoia Auctions, and was a very knowledgeable person about old motorcycle toys. He even had written a book titled "Antique Motorcycle Toys".
The auction happened to have 3 auction listings, all with very nice car coupes from the 1930's.
Pair of Marx coupes made of pressed steel
Length: 8" 203 mm
Circa: Early 1930's
Set of 3 Plymouth Coupes
Length: 5" 127 mm
Cast iron with nickel-plated grill and headlights
Have rumble seats
Pair of Champion Couopes with Rumble Seats
Length: 6 1/2" 165 mm
All original cars, except for new tires on the blue coupe
Friday, August 4, 2017 Overcast with Thundershowers 79 F 26 C
An Interesting Roundabout
That Runs on Air
I was visiting the spring auction of Bertoia Auctions, when I came across the toy below.
It's a "runabout", or what I think it's also called a merry-go-round. What caught my attention, other than the beauty of the toy was how it was operated. It could run by crank (wind-up) or hot air. It was the hot air part that caught my attention. Perhaps it was a steam engine that could operate this toy.
Exquisite early roundabout monoplane, ballon, dirigible, an elegant toy
that ran either by crank or hot air motor. 13 1/2" h. Professionally restored.
Naturally, I was inquisitive, so I decided to do a search for "hot air engine", and came across the American Stirling Company. I went to their website, and sure enough found all kinds of hot air engines. But what caught my attention most was an engine that could from the heat of your hands. I don't know if the American Stirling Engine below could run the above toy, but it certainly was most interesting! This engine can also run with sunlight or the heat from a stove (do not place the engine directly on the oven!). What I don't see on the large engine gear (like the one on the toy)is an indentation for a cord that could connect directly to the circular gear of the toy.
If you visit their website, they have a small video of watching how the engine runs by the heat of your hands. This was surely quite novel and interesting!