c.1933 American Flyer Mfg. Co., Slippery Slim in Original Box

c.1933 American Flyer Mfg. Co., Slippery Slim in Original Box

Charlie Chaplin? Sam The Hobo? Nope, but those are the misidentified names you'll find for this toy at some of the most prestigious toy auction houses in the U.S. It's not marked making it difficult to identify... unless the original box is present.

Historically just prior to their acquisition by A.C. Gilbert in 1937, the American Flyer Mfg. Co., in addition to their classic clockwork and electric trains, produced some rather unusual tin and steel litho toys. This included a series of gravity powered articulated bicycle toys featuring popular characters like Uncle Sam and Roosevelt Bear, and a guy wearing a Rugby Shirt. The toys are all unmarked and with very little published information about them they're almost impossible to correctly identify.

This particular example, in near mint condition is the only toy from the entire series that I've ever seen that was complete with its original box. 

It's called "Slippery Slim" and because it's unmarked and the box nearly non-existent, is almost always referred to as a sleazy looking Charlie Chaplin. The resemblance to the famous film actor is unmistakable. It's unlicensed too. His clothing, facial characteristics, stubby cigar and mismatched clothing suggest that he may be a "numbers runner" or "bookie" complete with the days racing form in his back pocket. 

Slim has six articulation points plus a revolving pulley and two bicycle wheels. The wheels have grooved rims and are three dimensional with spokes on either side. The toy balances on a cord threaded from one wheel, passed under the pulley, through the safety rod, and under the second wheel. Raising or lowing the cord causes Slim to move forward or reverse with rapid peddling. A heavy cast iron doughnut weight pulls downward from the center enabling the figure to balance on the wheel rims. The metal rod holding the weight also serves as a safety "net" to catch the figure in case it falls off the cord. 

The box is plain except for the single panel, detailed illustration of Slim on the cover. A few sentences of instructions and the American Flyer name and address are listed below it. 

Size: 8" wide, 14" long including weight. The toy looks deceivingly small so be sure to compare it to the dollar bill in scale below.

Sold: Jul. 2006

Price Sold: $ 637


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Subject: c.1933 American Flyer Mfg. Co., Slippery Slim in Original Box

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