Friday, November 30, 2012

Toy Farm Machines of the Breadbasket of America

Friday, November 30, 2012
         (Sunny, Cold, and Calm)

Toy Farm Machines of
The Breadbasket of America

A Bit of History From a Personal Perspective 
   By the time the American Civil War had ended, the millions of buffalos had been butchered, and the Indian Wars had stopped,  and vast areas of the midwest were ready to expand for both farming and raising cattle. I once read that there were so many buffalo in the early 1800's, that if stood in 1 place, it would take the vast herds 3 days (72 hours straight) for all of the herd to pass you.  But when the Native Indians of the Americas were placed on reservations , and the vast herds of buffalo were long gone, the country looked to use those large areas.

   America searched for immigrants in Europe and Scandinavia to farm the vast areas, and in about 40 years, her wish was granted. By the late 1890's - 1920's America became the "Breadbasket to the World". Unimaginable tonnage of grains and corn were exported around the world. 

   To produce such vast amounts,  the genius of America also spread into agriculture. Machines were invented to plant and harvest the crop. And as gas-powerd machines were invented, developed, and modernized, so the horses and oxen were replaced by huge machines of the time.

   I was fortunate to get permission to use someone's photos for today, but the person wished to remain anonymous. I worked in Photoshop to bring out the detail of today's toys, but I've added the copyright symbol and note for anyone wanting to use the photos. I've added my name just for record, even though the photos belong to someone else. However, I will contact the owner if anyone wishes, to ask for his permission.

   Today's toys are not the oldest, but they are wonderful models of the real farm machinery. As I was doing some research, I realized that  people who are employed in all kinds of professions and industry, like to collect their respective models and toys that they work with. And farmers are no different. There are amazingly many toy companies or model makers who make fantastic machines, with of course license form the major "real" manufacturers. In the near future, if I get permission, I am going to write about  the fantastic toys (models) of transportation and excavation and mining machines. 

My Brief Encounters with Farming

    If you've been  following this blog, you'll know that as a child, my family and I , used to go to Mississquoi Bay in the summertime. My father, Carl, used to go fishing in the 1930's and made friends with Mr. Gordon Roy and his family, Later,my father and family would rent summer cottages from Gordon. Mr. Roy started to change his profession and eventually became an outfitter for fishing. He'd build boats in the wintertime, and in the summer he'd rent them out along with motors. He'd also sell bait (minnows and worms).

    Being young kids in the early 50's (my sister and brother), we'd visit the barn, play in the  barn rafters, and  look at the horses and cows. One time I was daring enough to  try and milk a cow (just 1 squeeze of a teat). At 10 years old,I wasn't so brave, and an 800 pound cow or whatever size it was, was not my idea of being close to. Mr. Roy,of course had horses and a hay cutter, and so we'd see the machinery. However,by late august we'd be back to the city (Montreal) and I can't recall if I ever say the harvest of hay for the cows.

   When I was grown up, and later married, we'd travel to Burlington, Vermont or Plattsburgh, New York for a day and buy some groceries. We'd see the occasional machine harvesting corn, and the odd time, we'd stop and get freshly-picked corn. However, I've never really seen a thresher, combine, or corn cutter (wrong term I'm sure). 

    When I was 13, my parents purchased a house in Ville Saint Laurent, and we moved from the triplex on Dollard Avenue in Outremont. Both of these cities are in Montreal and are now part of the larger city called Montreal,although they have some independence.

   So in the spring of 1964, at 14, I decided to plant carrots in the back of our house, where there was a large empty lot. I didn't know anything about "farming" at the time, not that I know much more now.  I dug a small patch of ground in the back, removed the rocks, and planted the carrots in the shadows ( I didn't know!) of a deserted construction shed. The shack was directly behind my house, so I could watch any of those "carrot  thieves" if they were to take my hard-rasied crop.

   Of course, there never were any carrot thieves, and as for my 10 carrots that actually grew,they were those "special" tiny variety - my way of saying that they never grew!

  So without any more writing, here are today's toys.

The  above machine was custom made

    I hope you didn't mind reading my stories today.  Sometimes I like to include some narrative material to go along with the toy post of the day.

So thanks for dropping by today,
ad have a great morning,
 afternoon, or evening, wherever you may be.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Salesman Sample

Thursday, November 29, 2012
    (Cloudy, Cold, and Slippery Sidewalks & Roads)Veering off Topic - but Ingteresting

The Salesman's Sample


   This is my second blog post for today. My other one was about a "super" toy. That one was manufactured by Ruehl, and it is called the Cedar Rapids Stone Crusher. I've often seen tat one, and recently I've even mistaken it for a "Salesman's sample". A salesman's sample was an authentic and real working model of a a working item. Examples were cast-iron stoves, and for today - farm machinery, circa late 1890's-1920's. 

  When I think of toys, I like to place them in their historical timeframe and perspective to the progress of man. What's interesting about the "samples" is that they were carried by salesmen on trains at the time period that I previously mentioned. In North America ( Canada and the  U.S.A.), major historical events had passed. I'll speak mostly about the U.SA.,but Canada had it's  moments.

   1869 saw the completion of the USA's transcontinental Railroad, 4 years after the civil war had ended, and the Native American Wars were soon to be over. With the completion of the RR system, the west was opened up to new immigrants both in Canada (Prairie Provinces) and the USA (the Great West). Both countries were eager to settle and expand the territory, so farmers were offered huge tracts of land to settle. Of course, with the land, machinery was needed to grow crops and grains, and raise cattle.

   The only means of communication for the most part was the telegraph and mail. All merchandise travelling a great distance was shipped by freight on board a train. To sell large-sized merchandise such as farm machinery that was operated by oxen or horses, you needed to have salesmen to carry small authentic models orr samples with them to sell to farmers out west.

A "Slight" Veering Off-Topic, but Very Interesting

   There's an interesting Canadian TV series called the Murdoch Mysteries on our national television network - the CBC. I'm not usually a fan of Canadian TV, but this program I like a lot!
The series is about a detective in the Toronto Police Force at the end of the 1890's and I assume into the early 1900's. 

  What's interesting are the  props, clothing and hairstyles of that time period. What's also more interesting is that for some reason famous people of the time are  on the program, being involved in intrique and murders, although they never are the "culprits". One week Tesla, the brilliant inventor was on,and a few weeks later, Henry Ford , the inventor of the Model T and the assembly line) was on.

    One more point also is noteworthy. I always think of large-siezed Canadian and American cites of the time (late 1890's) having paved roads and concrete sidewalks.However, in most movies that I've seen, the roads are of dirt, and the sidewalks are wooden. In the Toronto period for the Murdoch Mysteries, there are lots of telegraph wires all over, and the roads are dirt. I can't remember what kind of sidewalks there are as the people are always seen walking on the road!

(please press on the address above to be redirected to the James D. Julia website).

     I've intentionally left the information and dimensions  out of today's blog, as I'd you you, the reader, to go to the Julia site. You can look for their toy division, and then "past auctions", then migrate down on that page to the June 26, 2009 auction.

There are many other fine toy photos and toys that were part of this auction, so take your time to look at a great part of history.

And to the Julia company and family, I would again like to thank them for being privileged to be able to use their fine toy photos.

Thanks for dropping by,
and have a great morning, afternoon, or evening 
wherever you may be.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Cedar Rapids Rock Crusher

Thursday, November 29, 2012
                       (My Birthday)

The Cedar Rapids Rock Crusher 
(Toy or Salesmans's Copy)

     This toy, has always been in the back of my mind.  I've purchased and sold a few Doepke sand movers and loaders, and I'm fascinated by the moving parts, and the complexity of the toy. However, this Reuhl  toy is unbelievable. It's length is 19" (485mm . It  is also called "The Pitmaster", and was originally made in 1944.

     From what I've read, the "real" life-size machine was made by the Cedar Rapids Manufacturing Company and was used in WWII to help create runways for airplanes overseas. Both the "real" machine and this "item" are truly wonderful.

     There is a company in Olivet, South Dakota  that sells parts for some Reuhl toys, and I think that they also sell some new toy models. The website seems to be new, so I will be contacting the company for more information. 

You can have a look at their website and even ask them questions if you like:

(Please press on the address above to be redirected to this seller's site)

(Please press on the address above to be redirected to this fine seller's site)

    As usual, I was looking around the Net,when I remembered this great toy. So I did some searching. The thing is that I kept getting Ruehl instead of Reuhl, which is the name of the toy company. So I changed the search words around, and eventually found what I wanted. I wrote a few people for permission to use their photos, and Denny & Barb Erikson from Jackson, Minnesota wrote back, giving me the "OK". Their toy store is called Redwagonantiques. They had sold 2 of these great toys, so I asked for permission to use all of their photos.

The Fine-Quality Photos of the First Toy

The Fine-Quality Photos of the Second Toy 
(All 3 above)

  I didn't want to add other toys to this post for  such a unique and fine toy. However, I did offer Denny and Barb to write me a narrative, and of course I'd ask for permission to use their fine photos. They have lots of great toys, but I was narrowly-focused on this particular one. You got to be when you see one of these "beauts"!

Thanks for Dropping by.

As always, have a great part of the morning, noon,or evening wherever you may be.


Old Serial Movies and Toys

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
               Clear, Sunny, Cool, and Calm

Old Serial Movies and Toys

     If you're in your sixties as I am, you probably went to see those serial movies every Saturday or Sunday. As a child between 7-11, I'd go every on Sunday to watch Zorro, Flash Gordon, and other "heroes" in the latest instalment of those serials. A serial simply meant that there were be continuing episodes from week to week.

    I remember seeing the cord holding the Flash Gordon rocket or was it Buck rogers as it "flew" through space. It also spewed smoke from a small hole in the rear of the rocket that moved about 1 mile per hour! Of course, we didn't care back then , as long as the hero saved the planet form the invading aliens.

    I think I had one of those guns that spewed sparks as you pulled a wind-up mechanism, but for sure I can't remember the "hero" of whose gun I had.

So today's instalment is a sampling of the toys from those long-ago serials  which were of course in B & W.

     I don't think that  you really "grow up" if you were a kid who went to those serials way back then. I saw some of the Star War movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the other Harrison Ford Movies, and a slew of others.

    Lately, being almost 64 (my birthday is tomorrow), I have to take my wife with me, so that I look normal among all of the current batch of kids and their parents. The problem there is that she doesn't like to go see those movies. Consequently, we have to barter. I have to go see 5 mushy tear-jerker movies for 1 adventure movie.

   I guess one never really grows up at heart!

Thanks for visiting this blog,
and as always, 
have a great part of the day or night, 
wherever you may be.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Opamerica - Post # 2

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
                   (Post # 2 of the day)

Opamerica - Post # 2

    I wrote about Opamerica  a few days ago. At that point,I wanted to add more photos from the nice site,but the problem was with Blogger (Google). It turned out that I couldn't download photos above 3 MB. Blogger decided to resize any large file to a small size,and the nice composites on Opamerica's site on E-Bay were compromised! I eventually figured out that I could "cut up" the composites into small portions, then upload them to this blog. But by then, I was tiring out,and so decided to wait for another day. So today, the day, to add more of Opamerica's nice toys and photos.

Opamerica's Design on E-Bay

The toy above is called a "Sandy Andy Caterpillar Tractor"
It measures 10" (L" x 4 1/2" (W) or 254 mm (L) x89 mm (w)
(Manufactured by the Wolverine Manufacturing & Supply Company  (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Established 1903)
For a more thorough toy description, please visit Opamerica's site. 

The toy above is  a Buddy "L" Scarab # 711 toy.
It measures 10" x 4 1/4" x 3 1/2" or 254 mm  x 115 mm x 89mm (LxWxH)
For a more thorough toy description, please visit Opamerica's site. 

I like these round-type old cars. They remind me of those B & W 
serial movie gangster cars form those 1930's-1940's movies.

The toy above is an Elenee brand toy "Speed Racer #20).
(New York, New York)

It has self-propulsion through a wormscrew and a spring.

I've never seen this type of wind-up or propulsion before!

It measures 12" (L") x 4 1/4" (W) or 315 mm (L) x 83 mm (w)
For a more thorough toy description, please visit Opamerica's site. 

     It's great when a seller, collector, or auctioneer has fine-quality and large-sized photos of their salable items. It makes viewing them so much better. Also having the ability to look at the detail is great. I like the way I can look at the detail of that red Buddy "L" wind-up mechanism , and compare it with the Elenee one.

This finishes my second blog for today, 
and by 08:20 A.M. in the morning (EST).

Thanks for dropping by, and have a great 
morning, afternoomn, or evening,
wherever you may be.


A Girard Pierce Arrow Car Revisited

Tuesday, November 27,2012
   (Originally Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012)
                   4:30 A.M. EST -4 C or  24 F
                       Overcast and Cold

A Girard Pierce-Arrow Toy Car

14 1/2" (L) x 5 1/2" (W) x 5" (H)
368 mm x 140 mm x 128mm
3 pounds 5.9 ounces
1.528 kg

    When I found the patent for the Wyandotte car yesterday, I had also found the patent for today's post.  I already have written up this fine car. I have nice photos on the June 27, 2012 post because I had purchased that toy and then photographed it for resale. It's a battery-operated  car for the front headlights, and is a mechanical clockwork (Wind-up) toy (if the 2 terms are synonymous). So I'm only going to add 2 photos, and you can revisit the original posting for the other photos.

     I like the design of these old patents, and there are a few people who reproduce them form the U.S. Patent Office site and sell them. I'm going to have to check if these images are "in the public domain". That simply means that anyone can have access to use them. However, for now, I add my usual cautionary notes in red (Copyright 2012....).

To visit the U.S. Patent Office, you need to first go to:


* You may need to decode the page with some program*
I've been able to open the page with SnagIt (my screen catprue program)

This is a wonderful toy car

  The lights operate on a size D battery that you can just see under the car in the top photo. The movement of the car is from a wind-up mechanism at the back. There is a small 1/2 bell that you can see, and this "clangs" as the rear axle rotates. The clanking is from a small piece or u-shaped metal wire that is hit buy a small projection on the rear axle. You can see this if you enlarge the photo.

Marx toys (Louis Marx) purchased the Girard Manufacturing Company in 1935. As a result, you will see the almost exact same toy but with the Marx label on it. 

My day started early today, as I went to bed early. I caught 1 2-4 day flu of some sort, and am now recovering.

Thanks for dropping by,
and have a great part of the  day wherever you may be
(of course if you're in a warm climate so much the better!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Finally! A Match Between the Patent and An Old Toy

Monday, November 26, 2012
                 Cold, Clear, & Sunny
                  Block # 2 of the Day

A Match Between the Patent and an Old Toy

     When I find something of interest such as information, I need to dig and dig,till I find what I want. And so it was with trying to match up a patent of an old toy and the old toy itself. For myself, the U.S. Patent Office is a very complicated place to move around.However, today, I was digging some more, and got a bit closer.

    When you consider just how many things are patented, then you better understand just what the Patent Office is so complex.   Every item has to be classified,and then sub-classified.  I thought  that
Carl Linneus and his Systema Naturae which came out in 1735 was complex. What Linneus did was to create a hierarchal structure that sorted out all plant (flora) and animals (Fauna). The system was based on common and diverse characteristics of everything living that allowed for every unique living entity to be classified.

     Returning to the topic of toys, the U.S. Patent Office devised a system to be able to similarly classify  all inventions (patents).  I haven't figured out how to find a specific toy, but I now understand the Patent Office website better.

Here's an example (made up on my own):

Item: Toy 

Type: Car, truck, doll, airplane

Material: Plastic, rubber, metal, cast iron, ....

Moving: Battery-operated,  electrical, mechanical wind-up

Paint: lithography, spray painted, hand painted

And the system goes on and on with a myriad of classes, subclasses, sub-sub-classes and so forth.

   Now I can better understand the reasoning behind the complex system at the U.S. Patent Office. 
You also have to understand that every unique invention  and part of an invention has to be patented. When I was teaching pro photography, I would try and show students why photographing a product had to be so carefully thought out. When the Gillette razor company first came out with their triple blade, I went to the U.S. Patent Office site, and downloaded the patent.  The download must have been 10-15 pages long!  At the time (early 1980's or earlier), the cost to produce the 
3-bladed razor was close to $ 400,000,000.00 - a huge amount of money anytime,even for that time.

And There is the Patent for a Wyandotte
by Arnold J. Decker

I can't download the images and writing in the normal manner,  
because they won't open on my computer.
On the U.S. Patent Office site, they recommended a few  suggestions to resolve the issue.
I tried one and it works.

I open all of my U.S> Patent Office downloads through my screencapture and scrolling capture program called  "SnagIt".

Every Patent has several parts to it.
One part is the diagrams, and the other is the written component.

Here is part oof the written component.

Once I finally had a recognizable toy, I could now search among my sources.
I've seen this Wyandotte car many times, so it's not so unique.

I decide to do a search on Live Auctioneers / Morphy Auctions /Wyandotte Car

I found the lot number and the date of the auction on Live Auctioneers.

I then went to Dan Morphy's website with the AUction Date and the Lot Number.

And here is the car!
This one has small lightbulbs for headlights, so it's a variation of the original patent.

At the patent office, I'm not even close to matching the patent to the toy.

Of course, there's always another day.......

Thanks for dropping by,
as always,
have a great part of the day, wherever you may be.