Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Marvelous Mobo Horse

One of the most wonderful horse ride-on toys of all time came out of a factory in Kent, England, from the 1940s through the '60s. The Mobo Bronco was made by D. Sebel & Co., which began as a metalworking firm in the 1920s, making wheels, carts, architectural elements, tank parts, steel furniture, and assorted other things.

The Mobo logo.

In the 1940s they turned their talent to toys and created the pressed metal Mobo Bronco, a new sort of rocking horse that could actually move along. As the child astride the horse pushed down and then released the flat metal "stirrup" pedals, the horse bounced up and down, and wheels hidden under the hooves propelled it forward. In the 1950s, a steering mechanism was added, and by pushing down on just one pedal, the horse could be turned in that direction. This Mobo is the steerable version, and measures 30 inches tall.


Mobo in the foreground, and an Allan Herschell coin-op horse ride in the back.

Mobo's cheery red and yellow color scheme was reportedly decided upon by children at a school near the factory. He is a very friendly looking horse!




27 comments:

  1. we just found one Mobo Bronco in our village in Belgium this 12th april ! what a coincidence !!! it was ditched by one of our neighbours... it is very rusty but what a treasure !

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    1. I just got one this very morning. It too is also rusty but still walks and has a red saddle. I love it....

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  2. That's amazing: 1 day after I found mine! How cool to think my Mobo Bronco has a cousin so far away!

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  3. Oh my, what a treasure! I've never seen one of those before. I wanted one of the plastic ride on horses with similar action when I was a child. Can't remember what those were called, but bet you can.

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  4. Ooooh: I remember those too, but the name escapes me at the moment. I'll have to research it.

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    1. Just found it, Tracy. Marvel the Galloping Mustang, made by Marx. I am sure Mobo was their point of departure.

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  5. Yep, that's it: Marx's Marvel, and I agree, Mobo was clearly its inspiration.

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  6. Wow....those are absolutely amazing!!! Tracy, you never cease to shock me with some of the terrific things you share!!!

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  7. I have MY original Mobo - unfortunately my brother glued a Zippy the Monkey hat to him & did a paint job - I've recently started a complete striping restore on him since he has absolutely no rust (was always stored in doors and never even spent a night outside) and the mechanism still works perfectly. He was bought in the '50's and has the 'steerable' mechanism. Looking for good clear pictures of the original paint (saddle blanket & the horse with out the spots) to follow as an example - my daughter in law is an artist but way to young to have ever seen mobo in his original form...

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  8. It a garage sale in Pittsburgh we found a homemade carousel. It has six Mobo horses mounted on it.Someone had taken the wheels off and screwed them to the deck of the carousel. The original paint has been painted over with the same color of paint. We just need to try to get the new paint off without ruining the original. We used your site to identify the horses- Thank you.

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  9. You're welcome! That sounds like quite a find: good luck with the de-painting!

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  10. Hi my friend just gave me a mobo and two with the spengler on the feet awesome

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  11. I have a Mobo that I bought at garage sale when I was a little girl(I'm now 42). Ive never known anything about him until today. Thank you.

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    1. You're welcome! Glad to be able to help!

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  12. Hello - I have a MOBO bronco in original condition. The paint is faded and the paper sticker is there but in rough shape. The mechanism is in good working order. Is this a horse I should let my kids play with or is it more an antique collectable now?

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    1. Hi! I play with my old toys all the time (and I've even been known to unbox MIB items) but in the case of MOBO, I wouldn't let kids play with it. The mechanism, even though its working, can still be fragile, and yes, all-original MOBOs are fairly valuable now (averaging 200-300 depending on condition.)

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  13. I just got one this very morning. It is in pretty good shape. A little rusty but still walks. I love it.....

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  14. Should I try to repaint him or clean him up. Can anyone recommend what I should use to remove the rust....

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    1. Hi! I'm afraid I didn't see your question until just now. I wouldn't recommend repainting him; repainting really devalues toys, and never seems to come out as well as one might expect. As far as the rust, I don't know...I'm not very talented in that area. Sorry!

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  15. Hello, what a great blog, I could spend hours on here! I bought what I think is a Mobo horse a few years ago; I've posted a pic of him on my blog and would be very very grateful if someone could have a quick peek at him to see if he is indeed a Mobo horse?! We found a very similar one in a toy museum a few years ago with a seat and handlebars but this one is a bit rusty and has some gaps where there are parts missing. Again I saw a very similar one on American Restoration, and thought about having him restored but I quite like him the way he is!

    http://www.ascarletdreamer.com/2013/01/the-gentle-art-of-domesticity.html?m=1

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    1. Hi! Yes, your horse is a Mobo. He originally had a sulky carriage attached, and he was made in the 1950s. Your horse is harder to find than the regular, ride-on Mobo. Great find!

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  16. Just purchased a mint condition MOBO spotted steering horse.
    Complete with decal, bridal and one tiny sratch but minimal.

    Paid $50 to a lady who was given it new as a child and her parents wouldn't let her 'ride' in the house because they were afraid it might scatch the wood floor! She didn't. It was wrapped in a blanket and stored since the '50's. The lady is about my age -- 65 or so.
    What a deal.

    What is this mint condition children's horse really worth? I asked if she had the box it came in, she laughed. No.

    Jim

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    1. You got a really good deal! Minty MOBOs sell between $150-300 now.

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  17. Hi Tracy, we have a very nice MOBO that we bought back in England 12 years ago. Just recently a neighbor's child jumped on it roughly and the spring underneath popped off. I have no idea how to fix it. Do you know of anyone that does MOBO repairs? Thanks, Linda

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    1. Sorry, I don't know anything about repairs, but I wish you luck! Darn kids...what are they thinking, playing with your toys?! ;)

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  18. I gave a mobo bronco in good condition and am trying to sell him

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  19. I gave a mobo bronco in good condition and am trying to sell him

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