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Miniatures from a century ago

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David H
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  I often glance up from my Forum 43 to look at the little bitty gems this forum so often presents.  But today it dawned on me that in my "old toys" collection, I also have some "1:64 and smaller."  So here's a look into another era.

   In 1893, Dowst and Company of Chicago,IL, publishers of a trade journal and a variety of laundry supplies, purchased a new machine, the Line-o-Type.  Then they realized that the machine could produce not only lines of type but also collar buttons.  Another relatively new firm, producers of Cracker Jacks, were avidly seeking novelties to add to their flavored popcorn mixture.  Soon Dowst was making what they termed "metal novelties," leading to the 1910 production of the French Bleriot aeroplane in the sizes - small, smaller, and smallest.  It was a sales hit, and in 1911 Dowst issued their first car, the LIMOUSINE.

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  The second Dowst car followed in 1914, and this one was based on a real car, Ford's Model T.  Larger than the LIMOUSINE, the Model T was at times defined as 1/48 in scale.  Production of the LIMOUSINE continued, and the Model T, sometimes referred to as the FLIVVER, had an even longer production life, lasting at least into the mid-1920s.  The Model T was joined in 1916 by a Model T Pickup in the same size, 77mm.  Both had fine sales in the dime stores of America and, soon after, elsewhere in the world.  Here are two un-restored examples from my shelves.

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  So I congratulate the 1:64 & Smaller Scales for your fine pictures and posts.  I enjoy them, just as I also enjoy these somewhat older versions.   

         David H. . . . Nerd  

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This topic was modified 1 year ago by David H

   
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David Green
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What a wonderful collection of tiny old toys David. Thanks for a very informative post.


   
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Ed Davis
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I agree with David, and I do not remember seeing these.  I am curious how and when you obtained these models.  Obviously, you did not buy them when new.

Ed Davis
Inverness, Illinois, USA


   
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David H
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@ed-davis    Hi Ed, I have been collecting older toys, most often toy cars, for over thirty years.  Attending old toy shows was rather good pastime for me, and since my brother was also a collector, we enjoyed going together.  There are also independent dealers who have sales separate from these shows.  As eBay grew, older toys became more and more a staple of their offerings, and this was also true, to a lesser extent, of other similar sites.  At one time, flea markets and even garage sales were possible sites of purchases, but Public Television's ANTIQUE ROAD SHOW pretty much wiped out those.   I could go on further, but I think you get the idea.  I also have my non-car favorites as well.  Better not get me started on those!   

             Regards, David Holcombe


   
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Ed Davis
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@d-m-holcombe 

Thanks for your collecting summary.  I have been building or collecting models since I was about 7 in the late 1950's.  Originally, I was building plastic model airplanes, cars, and military vehicles.  In the early 1990's I started collecting S scale (1/64) model trains, followed by 1/64 scale cars and trucks to go with the trains.  In the late 1990's I started purchasing diecast 1/72 and 1/48 scale airplanes. At this time I saw some Brooklin model cars in a local hobby shop.  They looked interesting, but I did not purchase any.  Finally, in 2015 I purchased my first 1/43 scale white metal model, a Brooklin 1957 Oldsmobile convertible.  I liked it so much I bought another, then another, etc.

Ed Davis
Inverness, Illinois, USA


   
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David H
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@ed-davis   Good response, Ed.  Today I'm mostly building my accumulation of 1/43 scale kits.   Right now I'm working on a 1914 Ford hearse by Pirates, an English firm.  Good fun!

David


   
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David H
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About a month ago, I wrote of the earliest Tootsietoy cars and trucks, so early that they were produced by the Dowst Company before "Tootsietoy" or "Tootsie Toy" was introduced.  From these first three ( 1911, 1914, 1916), Dowst made and sold only these three, along with many other small toys, until 1921.  Than new models slowly came into the line, along with a slow acceptance by Dowst of the "Tootsietoy" name.

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  The 1923 car did not have a name, only the number 4629.  Collectors often call it the "Yellow Cab," but Dowst called it simply "Sedan," and it was offered in not only yellow but also green, red, and blue. It was the first Dowst car to have a detailed grill, and its other features made it an instant hit in the dime stores.  4629 stayed in production through 1933 and was inspired numerous diecast and slushmold copies.

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   1924 brought a quickly-conceived companion Coupe to join Sedan, even though they were sold seperately.  It resembled a series 50 Buick (first picture below), some thought, and it is often referred to as a Buick by collectors. For 1924, the Coupe looked more modern and sporty than any of the other cars and trucks.  Like the Sedan, the Coupe stayed in production through 1933.

1924 buick doctor coupe
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   The company favorite of 1924 was the Delivery Van, bearing enough resemblance to the Federal trucks of that era to be commonly called "Federal." (A 1:1 Federal truck is the last picture below.)  Dowst did not use the name of another company at that time.  The Delivery Van was issued in six different versions: Grocery, Bakery, Market, Laundry, Milk, and Florist.  The grill of the Delivery Van is similar to that of the Coupe, but the styling around the doors and windows was definitely classy for that era.  A number of special issues of the Delivery Van were made by Dowst as store vans to be distributed only by the companies that ordered them.  Nine such special issues have been identified, and nearly that many others may have been produced.  Here is mine, the most common of them all.

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download

  1925 brought one new company issue, the number 4641 Touring Car, probably influenced by the Buick of that year.  The Touring Car was originally planned and announced as having a separate interior casting with a contrasting color, but this never happened.  Instead it was a single casting that included the "one-man top" and even had visible exterior door handles.  It was often regarded as a fine representation of a modern automobile, and, not surprisingly, was widely copied by other manufacturers.   The Touring Car remained in production through 1933.  

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  All these hints may suggest that 1933 had some changes coming for Tootsietoy, but that's a tale for another time.   Enjoy!

 

 

 

This post was modified 1 year ago 2 times by David H

   
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David Green
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This is a really interesting series of posts David. My early background is in Britain so I missed a lot of the 'lore' of early American toys. Thank you!

This a excellent starting point for more study on these early toy vehicles.


   
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David H
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   David, the best source is TOOTSIE TOYS: WORLD'S FIRST DIECAST MODELS by James Wieland & Edward Force.   It's about 30 years old but still generally available, especially through web sites.  I like the second edition with its good (b & w) photos.   Happy reading!     David H


   
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David Green
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@d-m-holcombe 

Thanks David. I just checked my models bookshelf and surfer to me, I have it. Mine is the 1980 issue. I'm not sure which issue it is but it has lots of b&w images. It does not look previously read so I had better get busy. Thanks for the tip. For those interested, here is the cover of the book that David recommends.

 

51B4YWRT+CL. SL500

   
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David H
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  In 1932 Tootsie Toys brought out the Funnies Set of six vehicles, each one based on one or more characters in the most popular newspaper comic strips of that time.  Before television, the daily newspaper comic strips were centers of youthful daily interest.  The same characters continued for years, sometimes also in comic books and other venues. Tootsie Toys designed these six small toys in two series, the deluxe set having bright, multiple colors and eccentric cams on their axles to provide some action; and the individually sold six with the same basic design but with simpler colors and little action.  I have all six vehicles, but only one is from that deluxe set.  Recently I saw such a complete deluxe set offered for sale at over a thousand dollars.   

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It was a large undertaking by Tootsie Toys in the depths of the Depression, and sales did not justify continuation.  Today these are rarely seen.  They are cherished by those lucky enough to have them.

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Enjoy!    David H

This post was modified 1 year ago by David H

   
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David Green
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Fantastic David. Love the old character models and the classic comics that go along with them. Great post. Thanks.

Your models are in wonderful condition.


   
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