Barclay was the largest manufacturer of lead-alloy vehicles in the 1930s and to the mid-1940s.
The Barclay name was derived from the street name “Barclay Street” which was in West Hoboken, New Jersey.
The first production of Barclay toys was thought to be in 1924, although some say 1923 is correct. The company that produced Barclay toys was founded by the partners – Leon Donze (1895-1950) and Michael Levy (1895-1964).
From it’s beginning over a short period of time, Michael Levy took control of the company and proceeded to develop it into a major toy manufacturer facility. In fact, he was so successful that at one time the company had 400 employees.
Unfortunately, during World War II they fell on tough times which resulted in their being forced to lay off the majority of their employees. They struggled to stay open by hiring sub-contractors, but they were never able to get back to the pre-war success they enjoyed and eventually closed shop in 1971 .
The Barclay Train Engine Number # 335 shown in the picture above (2 -1/2 inches) is a very good example of the type of toy’s that they produce,
Some of its features were:
- Molded metal
- Black plastic wheels
- Straight axles front and rear
- Made in USA
- Model number embossed inside of toy
- Hitch for additional cars to be attached
Barclay made many different vehicles, including many sets of trains, cars, transporters, etc. In spite of this, it is very difficult to find any of these complete sets in mint condition with the original packaging today. However, you can still find single toys that because of their size make a wonderful display in a diorama or display case.
Typically values for individual toys range from $10-50 while some of the sets can go for $100’s of dollars. For a more values, the identification and value guide by O’Brien – “Collecting Toy Cars & Trucks” – is available through Amazon.com (see Amazon widget left sidebar, page 2)