Thursday, April 24, 2014

Is It or Isn't It?

Thursday, April 24, 2014
            (Sunny and Very Cold)

Is It or Isn't It?

   I sometimes get a question akin if a particular toy is authentic or a reproduction. My first reply is to ask for photos so that I can search out the "real" toys,and then try to make an educated guess. I'm not an expert, but I try to compare. Also, I like to post this question, because I'd like readers to help out if they can.

   Betty Watkins wrote to me yesterday asking about a cast iron Kenton Ice Truck. Betty mentioned that the truck had screws in it. Most of the time,  cast iron toys have bolts. One end is rounded, and the other was moved through the left and right sides of the cast iron parts. When the 2 halves were tight, the factory worker would take a pean hammer (round headed) and hammer the flat end flat to attach the 2 halves together. The newly-flattend end would tighten the side its on, and keep the entire toy together. In "rare" cases, I have seen nuts and bolts or even threaded bolts with nuts attached, but this is extremely rare, and I've only seen a driver or a truck secured in his seat with a nit and bolt.

  I wrote Betty back and asked for large-sized photos with lots of different camera angles and the underside. Many cast iron companies of the case iron era would hammer their name into the underside and sometimes even added numbers.

  when I awoke today, I had plenty of photos, and after my usual Tim Horton's Coffee and low-fat muffin, I came home. I searched for a "real" Kenton Ice Truck on Liveauctioneers, but only found one that I have permission to use. It was from Bertoia Auctions.  I saw another image on a search engine showing a image, but I don't have their permission to use their mirages.

I'm going to have you, the reader look at the Bertoia authentic Kenton items and Betty Watkin's presentation (reproduction) and compare the two.

How many differences did you notice?

The very apparent differences:

1. Betty's truck had painted wheels rather than nickel-plated wheels.

2. Betty's wheels are spokes, while the Bertoia wheels are solid and disks.

3. The Bertoia trailer has a rest underneath so that when the trailer is detached 
from the truck,it can rest on the ground.

4. There are no threaded screws on the Bertoia item.

5. Bertoia's  trailer hook had flat surfaces, while Betty's are round.

6. The paint on the authentic Bertoia's item is solid, whereas Betty's item
had black brush strokes underneath the colours to "age" the toy.

7.  Bertoia's item was better cast with smooth surfaces and no filing marks.

8. Bertoia's item again is smooth without any dents or chips.

9. Bertoia's   truck is painted red, while Betty's is a deeper purplish/mauve colour.

There are a few other differences, but I think I've covered enough of them 
for you to see the major differences.

  I'm 99.99% sure Betty's item is a reproduction, and she even wrote today that she also felt that it was. Her other question today was when might have her "reproduction" been made and who made itI can't answer her for sure, but I'd say probably anywhere from the 1980's-2000's. If anyone reading this post has the answer or a similar "reproduction" please feel free to write me. Also, if you have an "authentic" Kenton truck and tandem trailer, would you please send me lots of additional photos, so that I may add them to this post.

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Casual Visit to Opamerica finds 2 beautiful cast iron toys

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Casual Visit to Opamerica
Finds 2 Beautiful Cast Iron toys

  Having lots of people, companies, and collectors help me with my blog allows me to relax and take my time when looking for the next post. Opamerica is one of those companies who have helped me out. They're a very successful company selling on ebay, but for myself it's their well-written descriptions, and their excellent photography that helps me out. A third asset to Opamerica is their nice inventory of all kinds of toys.

Antique Ives Cast Iron Runabout Toy w/ Cast Iron Driver*

I am pleased to offer this Antique Ives Cast Iron Horseless Carriage Runabout Toy! This piece is a great example of early 20th century toys!  It is solid cast iron with a single seam design, and is modeled after the very first automobiles, which were called horseless carriages back in their day.  The carriage retains its original dark green paint with yellow painted seat/trim, and nickeled iron wheels.  The runabout comes with an antique Cast Iron Driver figure, which retains most of its original paint.  This driver is scale to the carriage and fits well, however it is believed to be a an antique replacement and is not original.
This antique Cast Iron Runabout is in good condition for its age, showing some moderate scratching and loss to the original paint.  There is light visible oxidation is some areas of paint loss, near the seat, and on the wheels.  There are no cracks or breaks seen to the cast iron, and the carriage rolls well on the original wheels.
Fantastic antique display value for any collection!

Measures approximately
Length x Width x Height 
6-1/8"  x 4"  x 5-5/8"  w/ driver
550 mm x 102 mm x 143 mm

* Description Courtesy of Opamerica

I had just written about these early "cars" called runabouts in a recent post (April 20, 2014).
So when I was browsing through Opamerica's ebay store, I found this beautiful  Ives toy.
What I like about cast iron toys is their feel - heavy, cold, and form. What I also like is that these toys were produced by hand! Cast by hand, assembled by hand, and painted by hand.

Antique Wilkins Iron & Steel Wind Up Fire Pumper 11" L*

I am pleased to offer this Antique Wilkins Wind Up Fire Pumper Toy!  This is a very early example of the fire pumper, which is constructed of steel, cast iron, and even wood!  The wheels, driver, and steering wheel are cast iron; the chassis and tank are steel, and the the center pieces are wood.  The yellow paint looks to be original, however the silver and gold looks to be re-touched.  The pieces shows signs it may have been partially restored.  The front of the pumper has a old style wind up clockwork mechanism that propels the pumper forward, and the back has a bell that is struck as the pumper moves.
This Antique Fire Pumper is in good condition for its age, showing some moderate paint loss and mild scratching from display.  The yellow paint is very brittle, and easily flakes off.  The wheels have the original rubber which shows light cracking, and the front right wheels is missing large sections of rubber (see photos).  The wind up mechanism was tested and propels the pumper forward, however the bell arm needs to be adjusted so it rings (currently does not).

Measures approximately
Length x width x height
11"  x 4-1/2"  x 7-1/4" 
279 mm x 114 mm x 84 mm

* Description Courtesy of Opamerica

I never tire of looking at toy photos, especially the cast iron toys. 
What I always like is the fact that the companies of the late 19th and early 20th century all seemed to be able to manufacture similar toys and stay in business. Each company might have subtle nuances that would have people buy a particular brand over another.

This particular  Wilkins toy is quite interesting. First of all, the company was to be purchased later in history by the Kingsbury to company. The reason that I know this is from experience, but mores to the patented Wilkens, then Kingsbury wind-up mechanism that is marked "patented" on the bottom.
Throughout most of the time that this windup mechanism was invented and patented, it was used by Wilkens, and then Kingsbury.

What's also interesting about this toy is that it is made of 3 different materials:
wood, steel,and cast iron.But what's even more interesting to this particular toy is that it had a bell ring as it moved,and of course the movement from the windup mechanism.

I never cease to be amazed that I can always find something new about old toys!

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