Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The W.S.Reed Toy Company

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The W. S. Reed Toy Company

   The W.S. Reed Toy Company was founded in 1875 in  Leominster, Massachusetts (USA). The main reason that I'm writing about this company is that they produced toys in a similar style and nature as yesterday's post - Bliss toys. The toys were produced of lithographed paper on wood, and some also were pull toys. Consequently, you may find a Reed toy ship or boat  named as a Bliss toy, and vice-versa. The company produced many fine toys until the early 1900's.

The paddleboat above is my favourite.  It's too bad you can;t see all of the small detail in the lithography because of the limited size of the image from my screen-capture. Historically, there were 1000's and thousand's of such boats on the major American rivers in the 1800's. They moved most of the commercial and food goods up and down and across the great country. Eventually trains and other types of ships replaced them.

This  "volunteer" fishing vessel is my second favourite.  The wooden masts were replaced, and the flags were copied from a copier and placed on the ropes. I have no idea as to why the ship is called a "volunteer" vessel. I like the design, and the lithography on the side of the ship. The ship also reminds me of a sort of sad event. When Jacques Cartier, an explorer came to Canada in the late 1490's, he found so many cod fish that he stated that his ship couldn't move, and that you could catch the fish with large buckets dropped by rope. Today, the codfish are no longer. A combination of poor mismanagement by the Canadian government, and overfishing  by both Canadian, and international fishermen (fishers) killed the industry! 

Of course, not to end on a sad note, there still are fish on our Atlantic coast. However, they remaining species are also dwindling. Hopefully, the government will do something soon!

Thanks for visiting,
and as always, have a fgreat part of the day,
wherever you may be.

Is that a Bliss Ship?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Is that a Bliss Ship?

    Yesterday's post was all about the  R. Bliss Manufacturing Company. I hypothesized that one could "easily" identify a Bliss ship just from looking at enough of them on the Net. So if you were ever at a flea market, garage sale (Canada), yard sale (USA), or antique bazaar, and you saw one going for a "real steal", then you could buy it right away! 

   I rarely provide the identifying characteristics of any toy, but mostly write about the toy companies, and  their many toys. Yesterday however, I thought about the "identifying characteristics" of a Bliss ship. So today, I'm going to present to you 9 ships, and try and see if you can identify the common characteristics, that make these ships what they are.  At the end of this post, I'll tell you what I see.

Common Characteristics of a Bliss Ship

1.  Most of their boats have "painted waves" at the bottom side of their ships. However, Reed Ships also have the painted waves on their ships!
2.   Flags
3.   All are lithographed paper on wood. 
4.  Most were made of wood, butI did find one ship made of metal, 
    but I can't find the website now- ugh!
4.  Wooden wheels
5.  Since they have wooden wheels, they would be classified as "pull toys", 
     and originally would have come with a piece of cord attached to the toy.
6. The ship sizes are quite long for a toy.

   I'm posting late again today, as I was still doing my seasonal lawn chores. I'm finished for now, until a cubic yard of topsoil arrives ( 1 yard x 1 yard x 1 yard or .926M x .926M x .926M). I learned a hard lesson about 25 years ago,when I ordered 3 yards of topsoil. It took me 3 weeks to place it all over my lawn. Unlike most "lessons" that take me 3-4 times to learn, this one was learned fast!

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

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The R. Bliss Manufacturing Company

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The R. Bliss Manufacturing Company

   I found more toys that were made of lithographed paper on wood. As it turned out, the R. Bliss Manufacturing Company turns out to not only have lots of history that can easily be found, but it was one of the largest producers of those lithographed paper on wood toys through the late 1890's-early 1900's.

  It also happened to have been located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island - the smallest state in the U.S. I studied my profession of photography in the capital of Rhode Island - Providence.  The school was called the Rhode Island School of Photography, which I believe is no longer there..  The state may be the smallest,but its' people have the biggest hearts. It's small so it was easy to drive around and see the many different parts and cities. 

  There was a restaurant called Custy's that came back after being closed for many years .I took my parents,  brother and sister there when they had come to visit me in 1971 or 1972. The restaurant was an all you can eat place which included lobster and shrimp. However, aside from excellent food, I always remember a sign at the entrance to the restaurant that was written something like this:  "Please ladies, do not make us embarrass you by having to ask you to open up your purses". I assume, there were one too many lady diners who had attempted to pilfer those crustaceans by placing them in their purses. I'm sure their husbands were also in on the "grand theft".

   Returning to the R.Bliss Manufacturing Company,  the company had a great history, Among the things that they had made were wooden screws that you might have found on wooden clamps that you'd have seem when gluing large pieces of wood together. Among the other things that they are renowned for by antique collectors, is their finely-crwafted wood houses with lithographed paper on the outside.

    What fascinated me  in terms of this genre of toys (lithographed paper on wood), is the fact that they're  still around in mostly good-excellent condition, after more than 100 years old! Also, I like the old style of design on some of the toys. 

   What I also like is the design of the "waves" on the side of the 2 ships that I presented today. I can't be 100% certain, but I would think that might be a company design that was used for all of their boats and ships.  If you ever found one of these ships, you might be able to know that the Bliss Company had made it. That, my readers, just be be a future blog to write about. There was also another common characteristic to their ships as well - American flags from that era.

   So that's my 401st post, and I hope to continue many more. I've mentioned that if anyone has any ideas for a post, or would like to be a guest,by all mean,  please feel free to e-mail me.

   I've posted late today, as I was busy adding fertilizer, lime, and peat moss to my lawn for the last 2 days. I'm the lawn-maintenance guy,while my wife tends to the flowers, grafted hydrangea trees, and our shaded hosta plants. Naturally, as things always happen, my wife was listening to a garden show on the radio, and the expert said that one should apply slow-release fertilizer (after I had just bough the regular fertilizer. So I go back and but the slow-release. The first 2 bags yesterday were OK,but today I bought another brand. My lawn smells like a pig farm! Even our retired neighbour - a gardener and landscaper asked my wife what I had put on the lawn. Hopefully the smell will go away from the sun, the wind, or the rain. I hope slow release doesn't also include that smell which will linger for the next month! 

You just got to laugh it off sometime!

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


Friday, April 26, 2013

The Chad Valley Co. Ltd. Toy Company

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Chad Valley Co. Ltd. Toy Company


     Two days ago, I wrote about the EmeraldCityToys company. It's a great old toy seller, and I found the website to be superbly designed and engineered. As well, there were plenty of interesting old toys that I had not seen before. One of the toy companies was the Chad Valley Co. Ltd. from Great Britain. Needless to say, I did a search on Liveauctioneers, and found lots of nice toys from them.

     The history of the company goes back to 1860 having started with other companies. However,flash forward to 1920 and a merger occurs between 3 toy companies, and the name of Chad Valley is used. The name derives from a local a local brook (small stream) in Wellington (Salop) , Great Britain. The company ket acquiring other toy companies along the way. Interestingly, in 1938, the company was granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment - Toymakers to Her Majesty the Queen.  I assume that receiving this is a fine commendation as to the quality of the company at the time. However, I do remember seeing plenty of such labels on many foods to be seen in gourmet shops in the late 1950's-1960's.  There were fancy jams, and other foods such as smoked salmon and so forth. I always wondered if the Royal British family got all of those foods, clothing, and so forth freely.

    For today, I'm only concentrating on the lithographed tin toys that  the  Chad Valley Co. Ltd. manufactured in the 1930's-1940's. They also made outstanding bears, and games. Eventually, in 1988, the company was acquired by the Woolworth (USA) company, and that's where my history of the company stops.*



Obviously, I screen-captured and Photoshopped identical toys. However,I decided to leave the 2 items in the post. 
What's interesting to see are 2 things:

1. How 2 toys ended up being photographed under different lighting. 
As a consequence, 1 is more yellow than the other.

2. Notice also, how an important feature is missing from the first set of photos - the ticket taker.
I'm sure most of the bidders didn't miss the photo, but collector "purists" would have studied this  particular listing to see if this was an important toy that might have been missing from their collection!

I just adore the lithographed bus passengers.

1. The lady with the bunny rabbit!
2. The pipe smoker on the bus!
3. Everyone is wearing a hat!

The third feature would help a collector narrow in on the possible time that the toy was made.
Of course, the "lithographed tin" further helps to narrow in on the date the toy was made. I don't ever remember seeing these outstanding biscuit containers/toys in Canada. I do remember soda crackers coming in tin cans, and there raisin cookies that were paper-boxed in a lion cage.

Oh, oh, I duplicated the toys again. The interesting thing here is that true collecotrs like to have the original box that the toy came in. So if you compare the 2 boxes in the top and bottom sets of photos, I would imagine that the bottom one fared better at auction. Of course, there are always plenty of other factors that decide the final price at auction.

Notice the words " By Appointment Toy Makers To H.M. The Queen". What I especially like about the many Chad Valley is all the detail!  I especially like the 4 red gas containers on the side.
In this toy, the rear door also opens to reload the biscuits, although,I'm sure children and parents would load the inside of the toy with smaller toys. 

This toy is similar to the red bus with the lady with the rabbit.
I wonder which of the two (red or blue) was rarer? 


As you are able to see, the Chad Valley company  must have been a successful company at the time. They certainly made very interesting and current toys modelled after the types of vehicles of the time.

I decided to end this post with the trio of toys shown above. Here are 3 biscuit containers that parents could place their biscuits in.  Of course, the question would have been (in a British accent) - "Mamma, or mommy, can you please tell me in which can are the ginger cookies?"

I laughed to myself when I wrote that last sentence. I hope you also got a "chuckle".

Thanks for dropping by, 

and as always,
have a great part of the day, 
and a nice weekend, 
wherever you may be.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mr. Philippe De Lespinay - Collecteur Extraordinaire

Thursday, April 25, 2013
    (The nice weather is coming!)

Monsieur Philippe de Lespinay
"Collecteur Extraordinaire"
(Mister Philippe de Lespinay
Extraordinary Collector)

  Two Days ago,I had the pleasure to have Mr. Philippe de Lespinay edit my many mistakes in having written a post about Tootsietoys - the marvellous small die cast toys (USA) from the early 1930's and later). I said that I would write about Mr. Lespinay again, and so today is the day. Coincidentally, this is my 400th post on this blog, and so what better way to post, than having an exceptional collector, with an exceptional knowledge of the subject.

   I hope Philippe won't mind that I added the title of this post in French. Although, I live in Quebec, Canada, a bilingual province in Canada, French is the predominant language, with a majority of its population speaking French. Of course, I checked an English-French dictionary on the Net to be sure I spelled everything correctly,since I didn't want to incorrectly add to my Tootsietoy errors!

  Because of the warmer weather, readership usually will start to diminish. As for myself, I have been working outdoors and raking the lawn. So far, 10 bags of leaves, broken branches and grass, and in about 20 minutes, I have to repair the fence.

  It's still relatively cold here in Montreal (11C or 52F).

Berlin               19C       66F
Istanbul           23C       73F
London             9C       49F
Mexico City    18C       64F
Montreal        11C       52F
Moscow           4C       39F
Rome             24C       74F
Warsaw        17C        63F
Washington  13C       56F

   I added the temperatures of most of the countries from where people view my blog. So Montreal, doesn't look to be too bad, relative to the other cities and countries.

Mr. Philippe de Lespinay

(please click on the address above to be redirected to Mr. Lespinay's excellent website)

   I won't make any excuses for sometimes making mistakes in writing about toys, but I will  apologize to all of you for having make some errors in information, as you know. Thanks to excellent sellers, collectors, and auction houses, I have been able to learn a lot about toys.  and thanks to Philippe de Lespinay, I have learned a lot more about Tootsietoys! What Philippe has learned is most difficult to find in any book,especially when there are so many old, antique, and modern toys out in the world.

This is 1 of the showcases that Philippe has for his Tootsietoy Collection

What amazes me is that Philippe has been very patient , and I'm sure has spent a lot of time over the years in getting such a wonderful collection of toys that are in such great shape. You'll see larger-sized images below. You also have to have a lot of patience in order to be able to wait for the right item in the right condition.

When I first saw this  particular car (above) on the Net, I though it was a repaint. 
The lustre and colour appeared like the 1950's-1960's candy-apple colours of the  real muscle cars from that era. For those who don't know what a "muscle car" is, it's a car that had a lot of horsepower, and has been modified even further to go very fast. 

Collectors like to collect items in their original packaging.
Above are 2 boxed sets of toys in great condition.
What I like about original packaging is how the design and font of the time 
dates to a certain time frame. 

 * I'm going to write more to this post later today or tomorrow when I have more time.
I also noticed that I have some spelling errors which I also will have to correct.

In the meantime, please have a look at Philippe de Lespinay's website. If you like excellent photography, old toys in excellent condition, and a great narrative,  with interesting stories, then this is the site to go to!

To everyone today, I want to extend to everyone a special thank you for having come to my blog to read about the wonderful stories that myself and my "guests" such as Philippe Lespinay have  been able to share. If I thought 2 1/2 years that I'd still been writing about toys, I would never jhave believed that. You have to be dedicated, and have a positive outlook, since not everyone is willing to  be so generous or take the time too help out.

As always, have a great day,
wherever you may be.