c.1938 Unique Art Mfg. Co., Hillbilly Express in Original Box

c.1938 Unique Art Mfg. Co., Hillbilly Express in Original Box

Nearly identical in design and action to the Capitol Racer, the mechanical tin litho Hillbilly Express is much scarcer although both toys were manufactured by the same company. In addition this particular example is in beautiful working condition; complete with its original high grade box.

This is a gravity activated spring driven toy. The spring provides sufficient energy to knock the locomotive up the track every time it's released. The downhill force of the locomotive releases the spring and gravity does the rest. Sort of a symbiotic relationship. Interestingly, it runs longer than most spring driven toys because of the waiting time required for the train to roll back down the track.  

The toy is beautifully detailed and colored. The rectangular base depicts a stereotypical countryside "hillbilly" sleeping off the effects of his homemade brew. The front of the base (facing the track) represents a train tunnel complete with signal light. The opposite side shows the Hillbilly Express 'comin' round the mountain with the engineer waving to a passerby. The green section at the bottom of the base represents grass while the corrugated yellow roof is sunlight. There's lots of detail on the locomotive as well.

It  has an embossed boiler and separate cowcatcher. A red bearded "hillbilly" engineer is shown with his head poking out of the cab window. In addition the train is decorated with four concave narrow tin wheels striped in black and white.  

The original box is nicely illustrated with smoke-puffing locomotive and a younger looking beardless engineer. The company name and address is provided along side. It still retains its original 25¢ price sticker although the price was marked down to 15¢ on the endflap. The Unique Art juggling clown trademarked logo is illustrated on the opposite end flap. 

Size: 17½".

Sold: Apr. 2005

Price Sold: $ 248


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Subject: c.1938 Unique Art Mfg. Co., Hillbilly Express in Original Box

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