Schylling Tin Plate Toys – The Joy Of Traditional Toys

Back in 1974, Jack Schylling, working in Cambridge, MA, saw a wind-up bird fly past his third-floor office window. He immediately ran down to the street and bought one from the seller. Enchanted with the item, he then wrote to the manufacturer in France to order his own supply, and subsequently went into business selling the toy birds on the streets of Boston. The rest is now history.
Twenty-five years later the Schylling Toy Company sells more than 300 different types of toys in some 15,000 retail locations around the world.
The success of Schylling Toys is proof that replica cars haven’t been completely replaced by Xboxes and iPods in the toy chests of America’s youth. Company president Jack Schylling has an office surrounded by antique toys that he uses as inspiration for the company’s creations.
Lithographed tin was introduced to toys in the 1880’s whereby various colours and detail were printed on flat sheets of metal by a lithographic press; the various pieces were then formed by dies and assembled with small tabs. The first toy usage for tin plate in the United States dates back to 1895.
In the early decades of the 20th century, Germany was the leading producer of tin toys in the world. German tin toys were innovative and well made. They dominated the market up to the outbreak of World War II. When peace returned, toy makers everywhere had a great deal of lost ground to recover. However, once the toy industry was back in full production, Japan assumed the lead and began to control the market with the addition of many new novelties. Not just wind-up and friction driven, some Japanese tin toys were powered by batteries and able to provide flashing lights and sounds. In the 50’s and early 60’s, the Japanese had flooded the market with many appealingly designed tin toys and a large percentage of them were aimed at the USA with items familiar to the Americans. But despite the initial resurgence of tin toy popularity in the post-war era, tin toy manufacturing was faced with steadily increasing difficulties. They included changing consumer demands, new safety regulations and competition from plastic toy makers. By the 70’s, Japan had reduced the tin toy output so dramatically that many factories had ceased production altogether.
China began to produce tin toys in the early 20’s although initially they were primitive and poorly made. As Japanese tin toy manufacturing declined, China assumed the role of the leading tin toy maker in the world. Early Chinese toys were noted for their cheap prices, which often reflected in their quality. Nowadays they are made to a much higher standard, yet retain the edge of being very affordable.
MeandMyCar is the only UK on-line retailer to stock the complete range of Schylling toy cars. These include the landspeed record cars: the 1933 Bluebird, the Golden Arrow and the Sunbeam 1000, plus the Sir Ian Bluebird, Vintage Racer, Streamliner cars and the Auto Speedway.
The 1933 Bluebird driven by Sir Malcolm Campbell, set a record speed of 272.46 mph over a ten and a half mile course, at Daytona Beach on 22 February 1933. The original car was powered by a supercharged 2,500-hp V-12 Rolls Royce ‘Schneider Trophy’ type R aero engine and was fitted with specially developed tyres by Dunlop. Conditions on the day were poor and despite beating his previous record by 20mph, Sir Malcolm always felt that the car could have done considerably better under more favourable weather conditions.
This fantastic 50cm tinplate model of the 1933 car features : clockwork wind up motor – tinplate body – detailed paintwork and driver figure – rubber tyres – beautifully illustrated box.
The Sunbeam 1000 was an incredible car, powered by two 12 cylinder aircraft engines of over 22,000 cc and 500 horsepower each. It weighed over three tons, and on March 29, 1927, in front of a crowd of 35,000 at Daytona Beach, Florida, it set a new world land speed record of 203.792 miles per hour.
The car was manufactured at the Sunbeam Motor Company’s Moorfield Works in Wolverhampton, England, exclusively for British driver Major Henry Segrave, whose record achievement made him an instant celebrity worldwide.
Typical production cars of 1927 had engines of 20+50 horsepower and the concept of traveling 200 miles per hour was only a dream of science fiction. The design of the Sunbeam 1000 was equally amazing, with a sleek aerodynamic shape that appears contemporary even today.
The Sunbeam 1000 with its wind-up motor includes a rich history of the quest for speed, and is a great addition to any tin collection.
The legendary Golden Arrow was driven by Henry Segrave to a land speed record of 231.567 mph at Daytona Beach on 11 March 1929. The Golden Arrow only performed once, powered by a 900 bhp 23.9 litre Napier Lion 12-cylinder aero engine.
Schylling’s wind up classic is a faithful reproduction of the tinplate model originally produced by Kingsbury in the 1930’s. At over 50cm long, it features: steerable front wheels – clockwork wind-up motor – tinplate body – rubber tyre – detailed paintwork and driver figure – beautifully boxed and numbered with matching certificate.
Modern toy legislation means that Schylling cars can only be sold to those over 14 and are now more for adult collectors than children. Each toy comes with its own certificate, proving that it is a genuine Schylling item and they remain a lovely addition to any collection and a reminder of the appeal of traditional toys.