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The first cast iron toy to be patented in the U.S. was known as “Hall’s Excelsior Bank” named after the inventor of this toy, John D. Hall, in 1869. Today, many collectors look for company names such as, Carpenter, Welker Crosby, and Wilkins, that produced many of the now collectible cast iron toys in the 1880’s and 1890’s. Many of these cast iron toys reflected life in America; horse drawn carriages, animals, and trolleys were the norm.
Mikey was feeling a bit overweight so he paid a visit to his doctor. The doctor told him, “Well, Mikey following these directions and I guarantee you will lose at least 5 pounds by the next time I see you.” Mikey was very enthusiastic, “Sure Doc, anything, anything just tell me.” So the doctor told him, “I want you to eat regularly for two days then skip a day. Repeat this procedure for two weeks and then come back and see me.”
Bakelite is a generic term for the scientific compound phenolic resin, which was invented by the Belgian born Dr. Leo Baekeland. This material that was popularly used in the early 20’s through the 40’s is made of carbolic acid and formaldehyde and is generally known as an early plastic that was non-flammable. Bakelite can be found in a wide range of early products including, automobile insulators, jewelry, flatware handles, phones and aviator goggles. The compound was first patented by the Catalin Corp in 1927 and is responsible for nearly 70% of bakelite that exists today.
One of our very own subscribers is having an estate sale this weekend to liquidate some of his most valuable possessions as he prepares to leave town. He will be selling hundreds of antiques and collectibles that he obtained over the past 25 years. The sale will be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 9 & 10, 2005 from 8 am until noon in Centerville, Virginia.
He has quite a bit of historical, political, military, household, sports, movie and TV items. Also included are many autographs, newspapers, medals, toys, tools and books. You can preview some of the items he will have for sale by visiting the “collectibles” listings on craigslist.org for July 5, 2005. He has checked prices on eBay and the Internet for his collection and has priced the items below the going price. Help out one of your own, stop by this estate sale this weekend.
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In 1850 the American Waltham Watch Company opened its doors in Roxbury Massachusetts. Although it has been through much change of hands and many names, the company was started originally started by the trio of Edward Howard, David Davis and Aaron Dennison. They initially called the company the American Horologue Company. This company was one of the first companies in the U.S. to mass produce watches as well as producing some of the most varied types of watches. It is said that this company produced more than 35 million watches during its history.
If you are a collector of pocket watches you may come across watches that may be marked differently, yet can still be from the Waltham Watch Company. The original 17 prototype watches had the movements engraved with “Howard, Davis & Dennison.” Other markings may include, “Warren,” from when the company was changed to the Boston Watch Company in 1854, “Appleton, Tracy & Company” when the company was purchased by Royal Robbins, “The American Watch Company,” after a merger with Waltham Improvement Company. Finally in the 1860’s the watches bore the name “Waltham,” after the company changed its name to the American Waltham Watch Company.
How can you tell if its real bakelite? Bakelite is usually lighter than Lucite and normally lacks mold lines. It is rich in color, in general, yellow, mustard, greens and brown. One test most collectors use is the rub test. Rub the piece of bakelite with your thumb until your thumb gets hot. Quickly smell the bakelite, the odd smell should be like burning wire insulation or nail polish remover. Others use the 409 test. Using the cleaner, Formula 409, swab a small amount on the bakelite. The swab should turn a yellowish color regardless of the color of the bakelite.
Once America moved to power driven automobiles and aircraft, so did the cast iron toys. One of the best known cast iron toy collectors was a man name F.H. Griffith, whose collection was sold at Sotheby’s in 2000. His collection of 126 lots of cast iron toys brought in more than $600,000.
So off Mikey goes and follows the doctor’s direction. When he returns in two weeks he has lost an astonishing 20 pounds. “That’s amazing,” says the doctor, “Did you follow my instructions?” Mikey says, “yeah Doc, but on the third day I thought I was going to die.” “From hunger?” asks the doctor. “No,” says Mikey, “From all the skipping.”