Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The First Company to Manufacture an Electric Train

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
   Partly cloudy and seasonal temperatures 

The First Company to Manufacturer
an Electric Train

I've been writing of toys from the first half of the 20th century lately, so "history" must have been on my mind when I found these elections today. What's interesting about Voltamp is that it was the very first company to produce an electric train. This of course coincided and is dated soon after the time that mass electricity starred to be installed all over North America.  Of course, North America chose AC (Alternating Current) 120 V. Before this time,  toy trains on tracks moved by batteries.

"Voltamp was an early American manufacturer of toy trains based in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded by Manes Fuld (1863–1929), the son of a Baltimore stove dealer, Voltamp's trains utilized the same 2-inch gauge metal track as Carlisle & Finch, the inventor of the electric toy train. It is significant for its 1907 release of the first electric toy train that operated on household alternating current; earlier electric trains had used battery power.
Voltamp released its first toy train product in 1903.
Although Voltamp outlasted Carlisle & Finch, its primary competitor, both companies were eclipsed in the marketplace by the Ives Manufacturing Company and Lionel Corporation, and Voltamp exited the market in 1922, selling its line to Boucher."*
  What's interesting about the Voltlamp toys is the fact that the electrical components and how they were manufactured at the time helps you to identify about when they were manufactured.  I think that the train is cast iron with brass components. The cast iron informs you that this is both an early train toy.

   The pair of transformers for sure informs you that this is a very early toy train accessory or power course. The sped setting has small ended metal bumps" to incrust or decrease the speed of the train. The inside of the box has lots of thicker coiled wire, and the box also has stamped out ovals to allow for the heat to dissipate. Also, take a look at the  electrical cord and plugs that would go into the wall sockets. I barely remember these cords from the 1950's. Also I've seen exterior cloth covering on very old wiring in old house basements in the ceiling beams near me in a part of Montreal called N.D.G. (Notre Dame de Grace), I last saw this wiring in the early 1990's when my wife and I were looking to phrase a house. I'm sure that by now (2014) the firemen who every several years will inspect homes here for smoke alarms would have certainly notified homeowners of the danger of such old wiring. Also, I'm 100% sure, that any real estate agent would have made the comment about the danger of such old wiring!

  Finally a beautiful street lamp. It's made from cast iron and hardwood as the base. The bulbs are "vintage", and take a look at the  lamp base. Wiring from a transformer or wall outlet would have had small c-shaped clips to connect to the brass nuts and bolts.The nuts would then be tightened to the pair of c-clips to keep the wiring ends firmly attached!

Truly "very old".

And of course, the street lamp would have been assembled by hand!

The written descriptions that came with these 3 toy accessories and parts mention "pre-war". 
THe term usually applies to WWII, but I'm wondering if this might not refer to pre-WWI<

So this is a question for anyone that can help me-
Are these very old toys and parts from pre-WWI or pre-WWII?

Thanks for dropping by to visit,
and as always,
have a great part of the day or night,
wherever you may be,
Please feel free to write to me anytime

Monday, September 29, 2014

Some More Beautiful Automatons

Monday, September 29, 2014
          Overcast, raining and back 
            to seasonal temperatures

Some More Beautiful Automatons

  I had originally hear from Mr. Igor Olho-Azul in the middle of June of this year. He had found my blog on the Net, and sent me an e-mail with a beautiful photo of an exceptional automaton.  I immediately wrote back to ask permission to post that exceptional automaton. Earlier last week, I received an other e-mail from Igor. He had more automatons coming to auction in the second week of October. I wrote back to ask how he was, and that of course, I would present these beautiful toys to everyone.

  Before I started writing this blog, I had never heard of the word "automaton". What an automaton is a mechanical toy that usually will also have music that plays a tune. The more-complex automatons have many movements and can play many tunes. The movement is usually created with a wind-up mechanism, and inside you might find a complex set of small chains and wiring that progress  as the energy of the wind-up releases. The chains have different lengths to allow for the different movements of the parts of the figure. I'm sure if you do a search or even visit YouTube, you will see what these beautiful and old toys can do.

Normally, I  place all toys against a white background. Mt reasoning os that the toy does not have any distractions such as colour or other items in the photo, and thus the focus is solely on the toy. However, the photographer photographed the items beautifully, and I decided to present his fine photography, along with my usual "white background). The only thing that I did to the original Veritas photos is adjust the colour-balance.

You can see the excellent photography below. SOft living was used to record the toy with all of its detail. Also the darker background is called a "fade-out" in photography. A large rectangular shape called a "barn door"  is placed at the back of a softbox (a diffused light source) that causes the background to go into a gradual shadow.

Notice also, hope the photographer probably added a matte silver reflector to the right side of the figure's head to add extra bright reflections on the face of the man.These are called highlights.

What is so nice about this category of toy is how natural the figures are in terms of their poses, the fine detail to the hands, and feet, and the fingers and toes. Although these "toys" would most probably have been played with by adults and older children, Im sure younger children would be oat fascinated by the music and the movements of these figures.

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

please feel free to write to me anytime

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The AC Gilbert Hudson No.8 Erector Set (History Lesson Included)

Sunday, September  28, 2014
  Continued exceptional autumn weather
             Sunny, mild winds, and hot

The AC Gilbert 
Hudson No. 8 Erector Set
(History Lesson Included)

   After I wrote the recent Marklin posts about their construction kits, I decided to see what other companies of the era had also manufactured similar items. The Marklin item were fine cars models of the era (1930's). However they were unique in the sense that they came in pieces and had to be built. Once built, the toy could be played with.  Manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and reading lessons to build the toy, and fun later!

   As I was to find out in this post, AC Gilbert built a fine Erector set, but their entry was a locomotive and tender.A tender is the train car that contains the coal for powering the steam engine locomotiveFor those who don't already know, or who haven't read my posts about Stout Auctions, the company's logo is  "America's Premier Toy train Auction Company". If you ever want to learn about toy trains, this is the place to go to, as I already know, but experienced  in today's post. Not only have they sold lots and lots of trains, but they also have an encyclopaedic knowledge to share.

What's most interesting is to read the written descriptions for the different auctions that these photos are from. By assembling them in chronological order (early to later years), I was able to present a brief history of the AC  Gilbert No. 8 Hudson Erector  Set.

There are many more sets that Stout Auctions have sold over the years, but I selected just 5 nice items to present today. What's interesting to note are the subtle changes both to the case that the toy came in, as well as subtle changes to the engine parts.

Today's post was fun to write because of the nice photography and the ability to see a toy that came with lots of detail. As well, the well-written descriptions provided me and I hope to you, my readers a nice history lesson!

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

write to me anytime at:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

More Exceptional Marklin Constructor Kit Cars

Saturday, September 27, 2014
                Sunny and very warm -
         exceptional continued weather!

More Exceptional Marklin
Constructor Car Kits

  Yesterday, I presented another fine toy from Mr. Frederick Pals - an exceptional ebay merchant. Of course, that highly motivated me to search out more of these constructor car kits. So I went to another exceptional website- the exceptional Bertoia Auctions. Bertoia Auctions, for those who have never been to my blog or read previous posts of Bertoia Auctions, is a family-operation American old and antique toy auction company. I have had the pleasure to be able to write about them and their fine toys.  Their photography is excellent, their descriptions are well-informed, and even one of them Richard (Rich) Bertoia has written an excellent book on toy motorcycles.

  I've only seen to date about 4-5 different Marklin Auto-Baukasten (Auto Modular) constructor car kits. What's "exceptional" about these toys is first and foremost their dual function. Children got hands-on experience to assemble these toys, and then of course, secondly to play with them.  Moreover, these are fairly well-sized at 14 1/4" (362 mm). Tis size allowed younger children to work with a nice size to be able to more easily assemble the kit.

You'll have to look at these toys in Blogger's slide-view mode. In this way, you'll be able to see the whole car in a much larger (magnified) view. You will be able to see all of the small and fine detail that went into the design of this toy.

What I especially like about these Marklin toys is that they were rejuvenated and  made in the late 1980's and early 1990's The one below is contemporary (modern). The significant difference is that this one has working headlights, probably from a battery.

I've only seen to date one other company that  brought back their vintage toys in modern times and that is Paya from Spain.But I haven't seen many of their old original toys, or perhaps I haven't searched hard enough! There are lots and lots of Paya contemporary toys available, and these are beautifully coloured.

 The Horch car model below is described as being one of the rarest auto toys that can be found from Marklin. It's also a beautiful car modelled after a beautiful vintage "real" car of the period.
This one that came to auction was more valuable because it came with the original box.

What's great about these old toys is that people have kept them in great condition over the years, and I'm sure they're in still playable condition.

 Now if could find some money (not go to my Tim Horton's coffee shop for 2 years, hope the car doesn't appreciate too much in the next 2 years, hope that at 67, my wife will allow me to play with toys, or maybe someone at Marklin will read this post and again have the company come out with more of these contemporary kits….

Oooh,  I was daydreaming again!

Back to reality!

I'm now going to Tim Horton's 

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

(please feel free to write to me anytime)

Friday, September 26, 2014

I Never Stop Being Amazed at This Exceptional E-Bay Seller

Friday, September 25, 2014
         Exceptional autumn weather
          Sunny, warmer than usual 

I Never Stop Being Amazed
at This Exceptional ebay Seller

   If you haven't been to my blog before, what I like to do is visit Liveauctioneers and ebay regularly in order to find old and antique toys. However, try as I may, I haven't been able to get permission from several European auctioneers to be able to write about them and of course their toys.

   However, better than that, I have been able to make friends with an exceptional ebay seller by the name of Mr. Frederick Pals. Mr. Pals goes by the name of Freek on ebay. If you do an ebay search for wind-up toys, European toys, antique European toys, or simply wind-up toys, you will definitely find Frederick and his exceptional collection of toys that he always has for sale. 

   What is more exceptional about Frederick is the fact that he takes great photographs of all his items, and lots of them as well!  And, he know his toys. Whenever he photographs his toys, he places the, against a book backdrop that will show you similar or even the identical toy in the book. And he has lots ands lots of books that he uses both as backgrounds to the toys, and to provide great descriptions and data about the toys. 

    I've written several times about Frederick and his exceptional toys, and have received permission to modify his photos, but never the toys. If you search for Frederick Pals on my blog, you will find at least 4 more posts. 

For a toy that is almost 85 years old, it is in exceptional and unbelievable condition. What I like about  some of the Maërkin toys of this period, like the one below is that a child got to not onoybuild it from a kit, but to play with it also. But even better is that these toys were engineered tough, and they were meant to be played with-rough!

I left the photo-edified photos and the description for the last part of the post.
This is an exceptional toy in excellent condition, and I had to save the best for last!
I never alter the toy itself,but I like to place in against white in order to show it best (my personal opinion). I will though, try and adjust exposure, shadow and highlight details, and colour.

This certainly is a fine toy. I like the Maerklin toys because
 they were and still are made very well and strong.

It's too bad Frederick lives across the ocean and not across my street or even across town.
I would be at his house every day, asking if I could play with, I meant "look" at his toys!

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Answer to Yesterday's Toy Mystery

Thursday, September 25, 2014
    Sunny with seasonally warm temperatures

The Answer to Yesterday's Toy Mystery

   Yesterday, I posted  a fabulous toy - a complex cast iron mechanical bank from the 1870's and later. I decided to post this post on the same day for those who follow my blog, but I will change the actual viewing tomorrow, so that for those reading it, they will actually be reading it on Wednesday. 

   I will add the answer to the "mystery" at the end of today's post. I was able to find another example of yesterday's toy from Dan Morphy, another fine American auctioneer. For this listing from Dan Morphy , there are 10 excellent photos to clearly show you the fine details of the toy.

A Big Clue to the Mystery:

Compared the branded (wood burnt) image of the toy on the box side in the two photos 
to the actual toy.

The answer to the mystery:

Yesterday's catalogue scam, and today's and yesterday's actual toys are different.
If you look at the wood burned impression on the side of the box, the illustration shows riders and sulkies and horses.  The actual toys have thoroughbreds and riders only!

I've sent an e-mail to The Mechanical Banks of America, an excellent resource for this special type of toy - the cast iron American mechanical bank.
Hopefully someone there will be able to answer my numerous question about his anomaly!

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