1921 Strauss, Ham and Sam in Original Box

1921 Strauss, Ham and Sam in Original Box

Classic Ferdinand Strauss Corp. clockwork tin litho "Ham and Sam, The Minstrel Team" complete with original box and original schematic directions. Considerably scarce example in excellent+ condition (actually closer to near mint). The condition of the box beautifully complements the toy; astonishingly excellent condition. Even the directions grade high with only a single tear.

Other toys from this era such as the Marx "Merrymakers" and Unique Art Mfg. Co. "Hot and Tott" were designed using the same principle as Ham and Sam. A spring wound mechanism inside the piano provides the power to animate both figures simultaneously. Both have multiple actions, but only the up and down movements are directly caused by the motor. The illusion of articulation was achieved by loosely connecting the moving parts combined with incredibly detailed lithography. The toy uses an attached key with an adjacent stop/start lever and it works flawlessly!

Every panel of the hinged box, except the bottom, is completely illustrated. Green, red, black, and brown were used throughout. The cover shows the minstrel team on stage doing their act. Smiling fans are crowded along the stage edge. As with all early 20th century African American theme toys the crowds are shown with exaggerated facial features. The front and rear box panels shows the entrance to the Music Hall. A festive crowd enjoys music. The side panels represent the sides of the Music Hall. They show the caretaker finishing pasting up a large advertising broadside. A couple of eager kids look on. 

The directions sheet include a detailed schematic of the toy with hands positioning the figures. It lists a four step set of instructions and a statement for operating the start lever. 

Size: 6½" wide x 7½" tall x 5". 

Sold: Jan. 2007

Price Sold: $ 1925


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Subject: 1921 Strauss, Ham and Sam in Original Box

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