c.1930 Wolverine, No.48 Zilotone in Original Box

c.1930 Wolverine, No.48 Zilotone in Original Box

Extraordinarily complete clockwork steel litho "Zilotone" manufactured by Wolverine Supply & Mfg. Company. Superb example in excellent+ to near mint condition and works beautifully! Includes its six correct steel litho records. Toy still has its original super scarce, two piece, color illustrated box with insert, plus hanging directions tag, and both instruction sheet. This is only the second complete, high grade example I've ever found. 

Classic wind-up toy uses Swiss music-box technology to animate a 5" tall three dimensional musician. Grooves on the underside of a rotating steel record dictate the position and height of the musician's bullet shaped wooden striker, or hammer. Steel bars of different lengths, laid in positions which correspond to the placement of the hammer are systematically struck which generates a recognizable melody. A manual locking lever allows for different records to be used. The idea is simple, but to make it work consistently by a small child wasn't so easy. .....and even more difficult is, after 75 years, finding a nice high grade working example with all six records.

As originally manufactured the toy has its six different steel records. Each is an individual tune, color, and catalog number. I've included photo's of them below. 

The box for this toy is one of the most to locate of all early U.S. made clockwork toys. It weighs nearly 1½ pounds with most of the weight due to the clockwork motor. This also offsets the weight of the toy. Combine this with its four pointy steel legs and flimsiness of the packing materials, and it's not hard to understand why so few boxes are still in existence. The top cover features a military looking musician standing at the Zilotone. The six records lie just below him. Yellow and orange musical notes decorate the top and side edges. Two of the side panels feature the name of the toy set against large musical note. The opposite panels show a smaller replication of this design accompanied by a color line drawing of the zilotone in the upper corner. The bottom section of the box and insert are heavy cardboard.

Also included are it's complex six step set of directions. This tag which is 4½" x 2½" is hole punched on one end to fit around the key stem. It's a double sided tag with text on one side and a complicated (yet actually simple) schematic on the reverse. In addition are its two original instructions sheets. When it came out of the factory "Pull out to right" and "Pull out to left" would have laid securely on the record lever and on the stop/start lever. I've never seen these before.

Size: 8½" x 8" x 7".  Box approx. 9 cu".

Sold: Jan. 2008

Note: As of Jun. 2012 this is still the best and most complete example of this toy I've seen.

Price Sold: $ 1820


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Subject: c.1930 Wolverine, No.48 Zilotone in Original Box

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