Windup toys are all defined as operating by the winding of a mechanism, however, not all windup toys are the same. The action of winding is most often initiated either by using a key or lever. And, with regard to keys, some of the early windup toys manufactured, i.e., Marx during the period 1920-70’s – had removable keys, while other items like the windup Santa pictured had the key attached. You’ll also find that the more desirable windup toys were manufactured in Japan, Germany and United States.
Both tin and celluloid were used in the manufacture of these toys . . . as well as vinyl. The tin was a perfect material for production in that it was inexpensive, sturdy and could be lithographed with bright colors and designs. Once the tin items had been cut and lithographed, they were shaped and held in place by tabs that were inserted into slots and then folded to stay in place.
You’ll find some of the more popular windup toys are those of comic characters, Disney items, those by Marx and LineMar.
Other tin windup items that related to holidays are not so easily found and may be considered rare by some. Especially if they are in good condition and still in working order.
The Santa in Chimney is a 2-action toy. He goes up and down the chimney when wound and ‘jingle bells’ ring as he moves.
The other features for this toy are:
- Manufactured circa 1950’s in Japan
- Height: 5 inches
- Base: 2-3/4 inches square
- Type: Mechanical windup, key attached
- Santa figure is vinyl (hand painted)
- Chimney is lithographed in gray, red and white
- ‘Tab’ construction
If you are thinking about collecting windup toys, it is recommended that the following guidelines be followed:
- Avoid celluloid windups with non-working mechanisms.. most often the toy will be destroyed during the effort to repair it.
- Demand mint or near mint condition
- Look for items with boxes if at all possible
For more information on how to care for your tin toys, visit this link.