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,
Stacey
toysearcher@gmail.com
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.
Stacey

toysearcher@gmail.com
please feel free to write to me anytime