Toys of Yesterday and Today

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Mamod Steam Truck



If you’re like me, I never pass up the opportunity to look for vintage toys – especially those with wheels. This lead me to a very nice find last week while passing through Brownsboro. Came across a Mamod truck in excellent condition. It even had the original pamphlet, funnel and extension steering rod. For those that may not be familiar with Mamod, these toys are powered by a real steam engine.

The overall design for the many varied models is very realistic. Because of the nature of the power mechanism, they are made of quality metals with brass tubing. Depending on the model, you’re likely to find Momod toys with the following features:

  • Reverse speed control (Steam Roller)
  • Exhaust to chimney
  • Whistle
  • Double reduced drive for better traction (Steam Wagon SW1)
  • Die-cast frames
  • Flywheels
  • Brass pulleys

Due to the fact that these were actual working steam engines, each engine was fitted with a safety valve and was supplied with a burner tray and filler funnel. The boilers and steam fittings were all made from brass. These fantastic toys were manufactured in England starting circa 1936. Sizes vary depending and can range from 17″ in length to 3-1/2″.  It should also be noted that different colors were used – at least for the Steam Wagon.  The pamphlet shows this item in red, white and green – while the one I found is in red, white and blue.

Some of the more popular designs manufactured were:

  • Steam Roller S.R. 1a
  • Traction Engine T.E. 1a
  • Steam Wagon S.W.1
  • Lumber Wagon L.W.1
  • Open Wagon O.W.1
  • Polishing Machine *
  • Grinding Machine *
  • Power Hammer *
  • Power Press *
  • Lineshaft *
  • Driving Band *
  • Steam Engine Minor No. 1
  • Steam Engine Minor No. 2
  • Steam Engine S.E. 1a
  • Steam Engine S.E. 2a
  • Superheated Twin cylinder Steam Engine S.E.3.
  • Marine Steam Engines M.E. 1

* These items could be operated independently or together using the power supplied by the Steam Engine S.E. 2a.

In addition to the land models, Mamod also produced a marine steam engine that could be fitted to boats up to 24″. The engine could run for up to 15 minutes per filling. Also, it came with a flexible base plate for use with V bottom boats. If you would like more history on Mamod steam engines, please visit this link. . .




Posted 3 years, 7 months ago at 7:18 pm.

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Nodders – German ‘Hot Dog’



A favorite vintage collectible are nodders also called nodding figures. These figures are constructed of separate pieces that are connected – usually by wire – that allow movement. Depending on the type of figure, you’ll likely to find that the body is usually stationary with the extremities such as head, tail, hands being the moving parts. The purist collector considers a nodder to be one that is kept in motion by gravity by way of a counter-balanced weight(s) inside the body. Unlike bobble-heads that stand vertical, nodders – particularly the horizontal ones – required precision and skill to build so that all the parts would produce movement.

Nodders have been dated as far back as the 1700 – 1800’s – with production continuing today. During this early period many nodders were built to be exported from Germany. Materials used ranged from:

  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Celluloid
  • Wood
  • Bisque
  • Porcelain
  • Paper-Mache
  • Pressed Paper

These early nodders came in many different forms including people, caricatures and animals. The finer nodders – bisque and porcelain – were often sold in stores while the ones made of lesser materials were used as prizes at fairs and circuses.

Although not dating back to the 1700 or 1800’s, the nodder we’re taking a look at today is from Germany. This Dachshund dog – commonly referred to as a ‘Hot Dog Nodder’ has two moving parts – head and tail. Both head and tail move up and down, as well as left to right when he is touched. The head and tail each have their own counter-weight so they move independently of one another.

While I could not find any information about manufacture date for this item, I’m of the opinion that it is a vintage piece. It is made of molded plastic with particular care to the facial features. The bottom is marked SA Reider, Made in Germany. Overall length is 5″.

It is difficult to find the really old nodders today, but if you do -you’re likely to find it will need repair. Before purchasing such a piece, understand that dexterity, knowledge of counter-weights and skill will be needed to make necessary repairs.



Posted 3 years, 9 months ago at 5:04 pm.

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Posted 3 years, 11 months ago at 9:11 pm.

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