Saturday, May 31, 2014

Watrous Bell Toys of Wood

Saturday, May 31, 2014
                 Sunny and warm

Watrous Bell Toys of Wood

   Earlier this week, I  received an e-mail from a viewer. He had a 1922 Gong Bell toy and wanted to know it's rarity and value. As I'm not an expert in most toys, I wrote to someone who knows a lot about these toys - he's actually a distant relative of the Watrous Bell toy company founders. His name is Mr. Robert Watrous. He wrote back to say that the toy was not that rare, and provided information that I forwarded to the reader.

  Robert Watrous has an excellent web site with Gong Bell toys, and other brands. Most of the Gong Bell toys were pull toys that "pinged" or "chimed" when they were pulled. I've written about the early all-metal Gong toys, but here the reader had asked about a combination metal and wood. That gave me an idea to write about the wood and metal Gong toys for today.

Bob's Logo on his website

All of the toys presented today are  made of metal with lithographed paper glued on to wood cutout designs. They also all chime!

The one above is all metal. If you go to my previous post on Bob's  fine toys, you'll see an entire post just on the all-metal versions of his famous relatives. It's great to see how Bob has been able to collect so many fine toys, and to share them with us.

Please click here to visit my previous post on Bob Watrous and his great collection

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Pitcairn DK Airplane

Friday, May  30, 2014
             Cloud with rain

A Pitcairn DK Airplane

   At the beginning of the week, I was "fooling around" with Bing's search engine. I was entering ridiculous word combinations to see what I might find. I use Google most of the time because it it the best, as do many other people, but I occasionally use Bing.  I  was using the word "Pitcairn" on Bing, then decided to go to ebay. Lo and behold, under my search for toys, I saw this majestic toy that was made in Japan in the 1930's. The history of the real "Pitcairn" is just as interesting as the toy.

"The Pitcairn PCA-2 was an autogyro developed in the United States in the early 1930s Harold F. Pitcairn's first autogyro design to sell in quantity. It had a conventional design for its day – an airplane-like fuselage with two open cockpits in tandem and an engine mounted tractor-fashion in the nose. The lift by the four-blade main rotor was augmented by stubby low-set monoplane wings that also carried the control surfaces."*


   This most-interesting airplane never succeeded for a number of reasons. There was the timing of the invention and introduction (the 1930's and the Depression). Also, several companies were more interested in developing helicopters at the time, and "stole" Mr. Pitcairn's inventions. It wasn't until   the mid-1960's and finally on July 23, 1977, that the Supreme Court of the United States declared that in fact Mr. Pitcairn was the developer of the and creator of the rotary wing industry. He posthumously was awarded a huge amount of money for damages suffered from the theft of his inventions. Every helicopter that the U.S. government had purchased up to that time had in fact been based on Harold Pitcairn's invention.  I won't tell you the sad story, but you can find the story of Mr. Pitcairn at the link below:

"This can be best described as a project or parts Toy or even a fantasy item. I bought this years ago. It has had extensive work done to it as the photos reflect. the wings are mostly repainted as is the tail elevator and helicopter propeller. to its credit the fuselage looks to be mostly original as do the front propeller, the wheels and the wind up which works. also I believe the rudder is original, but otherwise helicopter propeller is completely remade and there is solder on the tabs underneath the wings. the toy does work and it is fun to watch. the rotor turns as well as the propeller on the front and the wheels. however as the photos reflect the toy has had huge restoration and paint work and the paid t is flaking in spots. to its credit though it is still a very interesting looking Toy. It is the large size 10 inches long with an 11 inch wingspan. it is colorful it has all the correct Pitcairn, CK made in Japan neat lithographed engine detail and separate driver and steering wheel. this neat parts toy, fantasy piece or heavily restored large size Pitcairn CK made in Japan tin wind up toy airplane helicopter toy will still make a great addition to any conversation piece or neat airplane related rin wind up 1930s Japanese made tin or plane collection."*

Description Courtesy of Atomic_Cheeseball

Length x Wingspan
10" x 11"    254 mm x 279 mm
Circa 1930's

   Sometimes you find the most interesting toys when you're least expecting them!

Thanks for dropping by,
and have great part of the day or night
wherever you may be,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Skoglund & Olsen - Swedish Cast Iron Toys

Thursday, May 29, 2014
  Sunny with clear skys and warmer

Skoglund & Olsen- 
Swedish Cast Iron Toys

   When I first started to write about toys, I thought that only America had produced cast iron toys in   the 1890-s-1930's. So you can imagine how surprised I was when I came across a Swedish cast iron toy that was made by Skoglund & Olsen. I've presented a "smidgen" of these nice toys while I introduced several of the fine American auctioneers and sellers on my blog. However, I don't think that I ever presented just  the Skoglund & Olsen toys by themselves. So for today, I'm presenting a nice small grouping from Bertoia Auctions.

 I like the added  texture on the hood and the side of this racer. I also like the disc wheels. 
You can see the same disc wheels on the firetruck below, and through all of th toys presented today.

These cast iron toys certainly are quite nice.
If any of my Swedish readers or anyone else has a Skuglund & Olsen  catalogue, might you send me a copy. I'll gladly improve the images, and present them to everyone. 

It's a great day out, and I now have to go and mow the lawn!

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

More Great Toys in an Upcoming June Auction at James D. Julia Inc.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
                  Cold and Raining

More Great toys in an Upcoming
June Auction at James D. Julia Inc.

   In the last couple of posts, I presented samples of some very nice Steiff toys and of douse my favourites - Salesman Samples.  Today though is the finishing touches or the icing on the cake - toys! James D. Julia Inc. is an outstanding auctioneer. I sometimes look at their many different divisions because the photo quality and the items are just superb. I'm not a gun aficionado, but the items that come to action are historic and beautiful to look at.

   I only selected 5 items for today, so that you'd go to their website to look other items. Their site is better to view toys as they present very large-sized images, and on some special toys they have a 360 degree rotating platform to view the toy all around.

I like this early version of afire pumper because it looks so simple as naive art. Also, the disproportionate size of the rider to the pumper and horses adds a bit of  whimsy to the toy.

It must be nice to actually see the motion of the 2 horses as they are pulled along.
The black horse reminds me of the horses that you see carved on ancient Greek vases.

I've always been amazed at the large-sized European toy ships of the late 19th and early 20th century. First of all is my amazement that they survived in such nice condition for such a long time. My second amazement is that such toys existed for those who could afford them. Of course, there always was, and will be toys or anything else for that matter that has an extremely broad price range.

These boats or ships were carefully hand-crafted to ensure that they were watertight.
You'll have to search through my blog to see some other examples of these ships and how they were soldered together.

The only paper-backed toy that I fever had were puzzles (if you can call them toys). Therefore, I always am amazed that paper toys such as this existed and again, could last for so long.

If  you've been to my blog or are a regular visitor, you would have seen the Hubley motorcycles before. However, you absolutely, positively have to venture to the James D. Julia website to see these toys in the large sizes that are present there. Sometimes, I will talk about "fakes" or reproductions", and these 2 toys are great examples how Hubley manufactured exceptional castings for their cast iron toys. Modern "fakes" or reproductions" either cannot produce such quality, or the cost is too high to produce. 

That red -armoured motorcycle is amazing. The bends band the the rivets of the armour plating , and the strapping on the 2 policemen is exceptional! 

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Exceptional World of Salesmen's Samples

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
             Rainy and Cold

The Exceptional World 
of Salesmen's Samples

   James D. Julia is having their upcoming "Advertising, Toy, and  Doll Auction" on June 14, 2014.
Hidden within their wonderful action are one of my favourite items - the salesmen's samples. These are not "really" toys, but for sure their collectible. These are fantastic models that were hand built by model makers for salesmen to travel the American country with their wares.  Many of the actual items were very large, so salesmen had to gravel by train with these miniatures around the country. They mostly travelled by railroad, and the highway system in the USA wasn't very well developed at the beginning the 20th century, and even earlier.



Patented April 23, 1878 by E.J. Marsters and R.A. Fisher #202,737. Complete with original patent tag (worn and stained). Well constructed wood and brass undercarriage framework with six iron wheels. 
SIZE: 12″ l x 7″ w x 3″ h.
304 mm x 178 mm x 76 mm

                                                      PATENT MODEL TRAIN CAR COUPLING.

Patented August 30, 1887 by M.J. Lorraine and C.T. Aubin #369,195. No tag but accompanied by copy of the USPTO illustration and spec sheet. Heavy brass spring loaded coupler mounted to wooden display unit. Affixed with metal plaque reading “J.F. Mallinckrodt & Bro, Model Pattern and Instrument Makers St. Louis, MO”. 
                                                                        SIZE: 12-1/2″ l. 
                                                                          317 mm – Lot 3636



Patented February 23,1915 by William Judd #1,129,102. No patent tag but copy of USPTO illustration and spec sheet identifying model. Multi-faceted brass barrel on a geared framework set within a wooden housing with intake chute on one side and what appears to be a discharge chute on the other. Hand crank rotates mixing barrel. Lever on side controls discharge. Accompanied by original wooden carrying case. 
SIZE: 15″ l x 9-1/2″ h x 12-1/2″ d. 
381 mm x 242 mm x317 mm

                                                     LOT OF THREE SALESMAN SAMPLES.

Lot includes two seeders including one from LR Forney patented June 6, 1876. Consisting of a wooden hopper between two cast iron wheels. When pulled along, gear mechanism distributes product. Also includes wood model with iron spoke wheels with gear mechanism that shakes central seed hopper. Third model is a jointed wooden four runner sled with steel hardware.  
CONDITION: Overall very good. Second seeder’s tow bar is detached but present. Sled has a couple small wood splits. 
SIZE: Varies. Largest is 18-1/2″ l.
470 mm3641

                                             LOT OF EIGHT WAREHOUSE SALESMAN SAMPLES

 Lot of miniature wood, nickel and steel carts, dollies, hand trucks and racks. One dolly retains plaque from Lewis-Shepard Co. Boston, Mass. and Crawfordsville, Indiana. 
SIZE: Varies. Largest is 12-1/2″ l. 
 317 mm
CONDITION: Overall very good to excellent with some wear and scratches. 



Nearly matched pair of galvanized steel windmills on derrick type bases. One is marked on the tail fin “Aermotor Water Systems Since 1888 Conway, Arkansas” on both sides. The other is unmarked and has a ladder attached to the framework. 
SIZE: Each is 17″ h.
432 mm

These salesman samples are certainly historic and collectible.
Since most collectors cant' collect the life-sized items, these models are the next best thing.
What's more, they're beautifully made!

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

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Sunday, May 25, 2014
   A Beautiful Late Spring Day
             Sunny & Warm

   I always find coincidences "interesting" for lack of a better word (for now). I received an e-mail yesterday from Mr. John Armstrong. He's a fine toy builder who is on Etsy. For those who don't know, Etsy is a very interesting website for artists and craftspeople who make things with their hands.  Sometimes they even have antique toys for sale. In the case of John, he builds wood toys for children.

  The coincidence was that John wrote to comment about how I was as I wasn't blogging quite so often recently, while  at he same time, my wife and I were having to figure out what to do with out staircase that leads from our sunroom to the patio.  Both are hands-on work working with wood.

 The staircase is one of my spring projects, and I've probably replaced almost 80% of  it. The problem is that living in Quebec, the weather is extreme. Consequently even with cedar, pressure-treated wood, and high-quality paint, the wood will rot! Also, since the staircase was built when wood dimensions were exact (e.g. a 2" x 4" x 10' was exactly 2" x 4" x 10') as recently as 1992, my "repairs" have made the staircase totally out of proportion. Treads and risers are all sizes, and the staircase tilts.  A 2" x 4" x 10' now is really a 1 3/4" x 3 3/4" x 10'.

  And so, I decided that "this was it", and I'd be hiring a carpenter to do the work! I had removed 2 entire steps and supports, bought lots of wood, and the "final straw" was when a 2" x 8" x 10' pressure-treated piece of wood smashed my windshield, after I closed the trunk of my car. That wasn't yet the end. The top of the staircase had carpenter ants or flying ants. So my wife changed her mind several times. Replace some steps, rebuild the entire staircase, remove the entire staircase, and back again to just replace some steps.  The even bigger problem is our sunroom - a huge project! 

  So when John wrote, I know I had an introduction for today's post. When I went to visit Aero1Toys on Etsy, I was very pleasantly surprised.  The cars and engines now have nice decals that John prints out, and then seals them with a water-based poly to protect the toys and decals from scratches.

#5205 GOLIATH locomotive

Inspired by the HUGE steam locomotives of the 1940s, at the end of the steam-powered era, GOLIATH is my largest and most powerful locomotive. This engine is all business, and with a smooth, crisp, Art Deco look.

The GOLIATH is painted with the markings of the A.B.C. & X.Y.Z. Railroad. The A.B.C. & X.Y.Z. of course being the Atlanta, Burlington, Chicago and Xenia, Youngstown, Zanesville Railroad.

The body of the engine is 6 ½ inches long and the body of the tender is 3 ½ inches long. Total length of the set (including fasteners) is 11 inches long. The wheels for GOLIATH are specially chosen for their dark, smoky look. As large as it is, GOLIATH will still interact nicely with all my other train cars.

Part of a line of traditional floor trains. These trains are slightly larger than, and do not interact with foreign manufactured train sets, such as Thomas and Brio, that require wooden tracks. The cars are connected with a hook and loop system. This permits longer trains to be made up and when played with can make a pleasant “clicking” sound, reminiscent of real railroad cars.

WARNING: Choking Hazard, small parts. Not for children under three years of age.

Like all trains of this size and type, these trains are not recommended for children under three years of age due to the use of small parts, which may pose a choking hazard. Any finishes used are lead free.

I decided to select the Goliath # 5205 locomotive  description and present that as a representative example for the description of most of John's railway engines and cars.

John takes lots of nice photographs of his merchandise. In keeping with my recent presentations, I removed John's coloured backgrounds and placed the toys on white.

The 5141 Ice Cream Car
Total length (4" including the fastener).
The actual car length is 3" long x 2 1/8" tall  (76 mm x 54 mm)

I like the bright selection of colours for these toys.

# 5101 Coal Car
Total length with fastener or metal eyelet:   4"  102mm
 Length x Height:  3" x  1 5/8"  ( 76 mm x 42 mm)

#592 Open Box Car
Total length with fastener or metal eyelet:   4"  102mm
The actual car length is 3" long x 2 1/8" tall  (76 mm x 54 mm)

# 5223 Soybean Car
Total length (4" including the fastener).
The actual car length is 3" long x 2 1/8" tall  (76 mm x 54 mm)

 # 5113 Egg Car
Total length (4" including the fastener).
The actual car length is 3" long x 2 1/8" tall  (76 mm x 54 mm)

# 5124 Water Car
Total length (4" including the fastener).
The actual car length is 3" long x 2 " tall  (76 mm x 51 mm)

# 5232 Orange Car
Total length (4" including the fastener).
The actual car length is 3" long x 2 1/8" tall  (76 mm x 54 mm)

# 5118 Oil Tank Car
Total length (4" including the fastener).
The actual car length is 3" long x 2 " tall  (76 mm x 51 mm)

#5122 Livestock Car
Total length (4" including the fastener).
The actual car length is 3" long x 2 1/8" tall  (76 mm x 54 mm)

John's most recent toys are still the same shape, but now they have more decals that present the many different variety of cars that one sees if you live near a railroad track.

Now if I might just invite John up here to Montreal to work on those steps!
My steps are just a "bit" larger than these fine toys, aren't they?
And I have some fence work to redo also!

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