1914 A.C. Gilbert, Clockwork Stutz Racer with Original Driver

1914 A.C. Gilbert, Clockwork Stutz Racer with Original Driver

During their earliest years the A.C. Gilbert company produced a "plethora" of toys in addition to their popular Erector and Mysto Magic Sets. For four short years they made a variety of lightweight mechanical tin toys known as Gil-Motor Toys. Each was powered by a unique spring driven motor which ran the entire length of the vehicle. Turning the crank in front would drive the rear wheels of the toy. These toys are all unmarked and difficult to identify, however no other company produced this type of drive mechanism, thereby permitting a precise and easy identification.

The very first toy produced in the series was this Clockwork Stutz Racer. It's a sturdy vehicle despite the slight resemblance to some of the more "tinny" flywheel toys (mfgd. by other company's). The body is lithoed yellow with black trim. The driver is dark green, while the radiator is nickel plated. The motor housing underneath the car is raw steel which accounts for the light surface rust on the bottom. It also has a plated gear shift lever on the right side of the body, but it's not a start/stop lever.

The red stamped spoke wheels, including the rear mounted spare, are unusual. In addition to some mild chipping and rim wear they exhibit "alligatoring". This is typically seen with enamel painted toys, particularly cast. iron, and not lithographed tinplate. They're not cast iron, but both sides were completely painted red. Almost always the inside of a tin lithoed wheel is left as the raw metal, but in this case it appears that the wheels were actually enamel painted on both sides and not lithographed. It also means that the paint is original.

A couple turns on the front crank gets 'er going. After that the rear wheels spin freely and uniformly.

This toy is infrequently seen especially in higher grade. I recall an example in the Kaufman collection, as well as an occasional toy show. Quite often the driver is missing. Of the few I've seen over the years this particular example by far grades the highest.

Size: 9¾". 

Sold: Apr. 2013

Price Sold: $ 761


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Subject: 1914 A.C. Gilbert, Clockwork Stutz Racer with Original Driver

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