Monday, August 29, 2011

Toys and Flight

August 29, 2011
Toys and Flight

   It didn't take very long before toy companies started to manufacture toy airplanes. Since I had a limited budget, and limited knowledge of toys, I  had decided early on to "focus" on a select group of manufacturers. he companies are Hubley, Wyandotte, Tootsietoy, and Marx. The oldest airplane that I purchased was most likely from the late 1930's. Otherwise most of my purchases which I later resold were from the 1940's and forward.

3 Tootsietoy Airplanes

The same 3 Tootsietoys but with nicer composition 
and a Canadian penny placed as a size reference.

More Tootsietoys
For a while, my office was a huge mess.
One day as I was reaching for some printouts, I forgotthe mess, and I stepped on the middle plane-!
It's a 1940's or earlier Ford Trimotor. I felt like a giant stepping on a plane, but unfortunately, I broke it.
I was able to sell it and luckily the break was on a spot which could be welded. Needless to say, I lost money on the re-sale, and I learned an important lesson that day!

This is the same green Tootsietoy as above.
However this is how it arrived. The photo of the green one above had its' propeller replaced.

I must have had 2 of these airplanes.
What I wanted to show here though is what a slight turn of the airplane did for the photo.
The bottom photo is much better, as it shows all of the plane's features. 
The top photo has the cockpit merging with the tail!

I can't recall the  manufacturer's name, but I'll find it and then edit this.
I had originally thought that any "old cast iron" toy that used screws to hold it together
was a "fake". Luckily, some more knowledgeable toy dealer, corrected me.
There were 2 companies,  Dent and another that I can;t recall, that did use screws.

Another cast iron airplane.

Aha - A screw - Is it "real" or a "fake"?

A nice pane from the late 1930's.
As usual, it's missing parts like planes from that time (Tail fin and propeller).
However, those wooden wheels still managed to survive!

Wyandotte  WWII Military Transport

Most of the airplane toys from the 1930's and on were pressed steel.
They're produced by a very heavy press bearing down on a piece of sheet metal that is going to be pressed on a heavy and hard metal form.

The Marx airplanes usually have a thicker-gauge steel than the Wyandotte airplanes.

When I first started with toys, I photographed them in my laundry room on the Formica shelf.
You just have to white-balance" your camera for fluorescent lighting. Once done, the soft lighting does a nice job.
Later on, I got "fancy" and bought a light table and some spot lights. I really didn't need them, but they do a nicer job for lighting items. You get more highlights on the surfaces, and you can add depth with shadows.

Wyandotte photographed under fluorescent lighting.
Parts of airplanes seem to always go missing. Luckily you have the Thomas Toys Antique Toy Parts Company and the Classic Tin Toy companies for missing or replacement parts. When I started with toys about 8 months ago,  I thought toys would sell better if they were complete, so I purchased replacement or missing parts.
Toys will sell faster. but you don't really make a larger profit. Later on, I decided to stop buying parts. It's not worth the cost!

Marx WWII Military Transport
A "cute" Wyandotte  with a tape measure for size reference.

A Wyandotte "mini" China Clipper"

A Wyandotte that I repainted. that I have bought and sold.
Thankfully, there are collectors who do collect such toys!

Detailed Photos of the Wyandotte Plane.

This is a Wyandotte Stratocruiser. It's the largest you airplane that I have bought and sold.
Its' wingspan measures about 14" across, the length is about 11", and it's about 54 inches at the tail in terms of height.
I also repainted this one.

Wyandotte Military Airplane

It's a real "beauty", with the propeller pushing the plane from their aft (rear) position.
It's missing its' rear wheel, and the front ones are made of wood.
During WWII, wheels on toys were largely made of wood, as rubber was needed for the war effort.
Before the war, rubber had come from the far east countries.

The Wyandotte China Clipper
I already wrote an instalment of this airplane.
This plane was modelled after the Boeing China Clipper Built for Pan-Am during the later 1930's.
The Pan Am plane crossed the Pacific from San Francisco as an airmail service, delivering mail to Guam,  and some other islands in the remote far off Pacific American protectorates.

There are about 4-5 variations on this Wyandotte airplane.
When the toy market was stronger about 5 months ago, I was able to buy and re-sell these toys regularly. However, right now, the market is "the pits", and prices have dropped in the sector on average by about 40%. Very rare and more -expensive toys seem to have fared better during this recession that doesn't seem to have ended from 2008!

This is a P-38 from the Hubley Toy Company.
I also wrote an instalment about this toy.
The "real" plane saw action in the PAcific during WWII, and was a very successful fighter.

There are about 4-5 variations of this toy.
When I find the other variations on my hard drives, I'll add them

A Hubley American Fighter.
The toy was produced in the early 1960's.
The toy has spring-action landing gear and wheels that can turn inward into the body of the plane.
Parts are available form Classic Tin Toys and Thomas Toys Antique Toy Parts Company.

A photo showing replacement propellers that I bought to "restore the toy.
The Hubley in the back was a toy that I shouldn't have purchased. It's missing more parts than the toy is worth restored!  and resold! Live and learn, as the expression goes!

Nice Detailed Photos of a Complete Hubley Airplane.

Another Trio of Hubleys.

Belly-up Photos of the Hubley Airplanes.

A Close-Up View.

2 Different Hubleys- 1 a Fighter and 1 a Civilian Aircraft.

A Close-up of a Hubley P-40

 A Hubley Needing Extensive Restoration!

Another Hubley model. It's missing the seat and canopy.
I forgot to mention the nice folding-winf feature of this plane.

I'm unsure of the make, but the 15 cent price tag is still there! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Era of Cast Iron Toys

August 25, 2011


Hello Everyone. 

1. First of all, I'd like to thank all of you who have dropped by to see what I've written. This makes my effort all the more worthwhile.

2. Secondly, I have a new blog:

I taught professional photography for 32 years, and I used to write books and handouts for students. I'll be using some of the "older" material, and start adding new material as I progress.

You're all invited to visit, and as always (although I haven't heard yet from anyone), you're invited to provide me with corrections, feedback, or even to suggest articles that might interest you (if I can do that).

The American Era of Cast Iron Toys

     The toy manufacture time span between the late 1890's and the 1950's went through several changes. The main change would be in how the toys were made. Early on (18090-1935), the toys were mostly made by the cast iron process.  The cast iron process involves melting iron along with some other metals. It's then poured into a mold (cast), allowed to cool, and then the cooled part is separated from the mold.  The  earlier models were made in 2 parts - a left and right. The parts are them aligned together, and a heavy-duty steel pin is pushed through the 2 parts via holes. Each end is them carefully hammered tightly to have the 2 parts joint together. One way of knowing that a cast iron toy is "fake" or reproduction is that the 2 halves are screwed together with a screw, rather than a pin hammered on both sides.

Looking to see if there is a screw holding a cast iron toy together to determine if the toy is an original or a reproduction is good clue, but it is not absolute. I can think of two manufacturers that routinely used screws in the assembly of their toys. That would be Welker & Crosby, and Dent. If it is a Phillips head screw, then is is definately a reproduction (unless someone replaced the screw). Phillips head screws were not invented until the early 1930s.


* I'd like to thank John for helping me correct what I had written. 
It's always great to have someone more knowledgeable that I, to lend a hand.

    Many of the cast iron toys were called "pull toys" as they were meant to be towed along behind the child with a string attached to a hole at the front of the toy.

Arcade Cast Iron Gasoline Truck

Hubley Cast Iron Bus
Model 2234B

A bus modelled after a Faegol design
The Faegol was a new design for busses to prevent them from turning over at sharp corners of the street.

Hubley Cast Iron Milk & Cream Truck
Circa 1930's
This particular toy is interesting as it has 2 colours, whereas most toys of the era have only 1.

Another Arcade ? Cast Iron Gasoline Truck

 A later-model Hubley.
It's made of 1 piece of casting and it now has wooden rims and rubber tires.

Here's a nice Arcade Sedan.
It also has rubber tires, but on an iron rim.
The name arcade is embossed on the top part of the chassis between the 2 wheels.
On the bottom is the number 1204.
Not all Arcade toys have the name punched into the metal.

Another nice Hubley
The metal stakes on the sides in back might be nickel-plated.
This toy is about 6 inches long.

Another nice cast iron Hubley truck.
 I've had difficulty selling it  so I've ordered 
steel axles rods, with wooden rims and white rubber tires.

A "fake" Cast Iron Toy -
Notice the screw and the Phillips head 

Another Hubley Stake truck with the axles showing.

A Small Cast Iron Hubley.
This item is about 3 inches long
A Hubley Sulkey from 1903
The round metal hole below the left hoof is where the cord or string 
would be attached to for purposes of the "pull toy".

A Pair of Hubley Sulkeys

1 More Sulkey in the Hubley Series

You can see the 2 halves in the casting of the horses, the wagon, and the man.
Both the horses and the man have the steel pin running through them to join the 2 halves.