Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Antique Toys May Ring Your Bell

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Antique Toys May Ring Your Bell

Article excerpt

CHILDREN HAVE always liked toys with wheels, and the push and pull toys of past centuries sell for high prices today.

Bell-ringer toys were favored by many 19th-century children. The wheeled toy was made so a bell rang as the toy was pulled across the floor. Cast-iron toys were made not only with bells, but also with parts that moved up and down as the toy was pulled. Most of the bell ringers of the mid-1800s were made in Connecticut.

The first wheeled bell toy was a simple bell on wheels that rang when the toy was pushed. By 1885, toymakers had created animated bell ringers that featured horses and riders, costumed children, Jonah and the whale, cartoon characters and animals.

J&E Stevens, the well-known maker of cast-iron mechanical banks, made several unusual bell toys. One showed Columbus and his men on a ship with a ringing bell.

An even more ingenious toy made by J&E Stevens in 1893 was the "Evening News Baby Quieter." A man is shown lying on a chaise lounge with a baby on his leg. He has a newspaper in one hand, a rattle in the other. When the toy is pulled, the bells ring and the baby bounces up and down on the man's leg. This rare painted iron toy sold for $2,070 last June.

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Dear Ralph and Terry: I have a stoneware water cooler 14 inches high. It has a blue design on the front above the wooden spigot. It is marked Plaisted Pottery, Gardiner, Maine. Does it have any value?

Francis A. and William Plaisted and William H. Wiles purchased the Ballard Bros. pottery in Gardiner, Maine, in 1855. The plant continued under Francis and his son until 1876, when it became the Gardiner Stoneware Manufactory.

Similarly New England-decorated water coolers sell for $175. Some rarities have sold for as much as $9,000.

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Dear Ralph and Terry: I have a slant-front desk made by the Tobey Furniture Co. …

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