c.1936 Chein, No.165 Mechanical Non-Musical Aeroplane Whirler in Original Box

c.1936 Chein, No.165 Mechanical Non-Musical Aeroplane Whirler in Original Box

The No.165 Chein Mechanical Aeroplane Whirler is considered to be one of the most difficult to find of any pre-war tin litho amusement park ride toy. Measuring only 8" tall it's also the smallest such toy. This example is complete and in excellent working condition. Incredibly enough it comes with its rare original box. 

The toy features three revolving aeroplanes with rotating metal propellers. Each is threaded through a double metal rod fastened to an ornate spinning canopy which is attached to a narrow stalk and circular base. The lithography is also quite complicated for such an early toy. The canopy was made to look like a real canopy complete with hanging tassels. The stalk is white with red, yellow, and blue stars and pointed shaped designs at the bottom. The top side of the base was lithoed yellow with a radiating flower petal design. The underside of the canopy and base are light teal green. 

The aeroplanes are solid blue, yellow, and red with colored propellers. The propellers are lithoed metal, not celluloid. Interestingly, the red plane was fitted with a double propeller. Definitely a factory error, but very neat looking. The planes also hang very low and nearly touch the base, but this was the way it was designed. Most curious of all.....it has no Chein logo anywhere on the toy. This makes it nearly impossible to identify unless the box is present.

Although it's mechanical, it does not work by key. Instead it uses Chein's patented pull lever spring which automatically cocks it into its starting position. My references indicate that it was the first Chein toy to include this type of mechanism. The base has a second factory error located just to the right of the pull lever. It looks like the slot for the lever was made too long. Nearly an 1" of the die cut slot was made too long and covered over. The toy runs for approximately 40 seconds on a single lever pull. 

The existence of a Musical No. 265 version was only briefly referenced in a copy of a catalog page by Alan Jaffe in his Collector's Guide book to J. Chein & Co. He indicated that it was a "very rare amusement park toy". However, this is No.165, a completely different toy which is non-musical and nearly half the size of No. 265. It's existence was unknown until recently. It's the only complete pairing of toy and original box I've seen. 

Apparently Chein intended this to be a music producing toy. As shown on the box endflaps the original name was the Mechanical Musical Aeroplane Whirler. The side panels also show musical notes passing through the toy as it revolves. However, the toy was never made to be musical. To comply with this "13th hour" shortcoming the word "musical" was manually crossed out on all four side panels. This was done at the Chein factory and were not just markings by a previous owner. Most likely the boxes were printed before the actual toy was completed. The musical version at twice the size, packed in a completely different box, was not produced until one year afterwards. The top flaps of this example had been completely torn off and were reproduced using the bottom endflaps which are all original. 

Size: 8" tall. 5" diameter base. Planes 2½" fuselage, 3¼" wingspan.

Sold: Mar. 2007

Price Sold: $ 760


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Subject: c.1936 Chein, No.165 Mechanical Non-Musical Aeroplane Whirler in Original Box

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