Sunday, January 4, 2015

Early American Tin Pull Toys

The latter half of the nineteenth century was positively awash with these little tin pull toys, made by companies like Althof, Bergmann of New York, George Brown of Connecticut, and James Fallows of Philadelphia.

The painted, pressed tin toys came in an incredible variety of designs and sizes, and they have a folk art quality that is very appealing. Their fragility, combined with their function as pull toys, makes them scarce today. I was very fortunate to receive two this Christmas. Each measures about 5 1/2 inches long.

This stalwart looking dog carrying a basket is accompanied by a young child with a stick.

One of the more common themes in these pull toys is the horse and rider, as seen in this example.

If you'd like to see more of these wonderful toys, a quick Google image search for "early American tin toys" will bring up loads. One of the finest books I know on the subject is "American Antique Toys," by Bernard Barenholtz and Inez McClintock. Mr. Barenholtz was a founder of the educational toy company, Constructive Playthings, and one of the most prominent of early American toy collectors. It's a gorgeous book, filled with personal stories of his toy collecting adventures.