c.1919 H.Fischer & Co., Clockwork Chain Driven "Clowns on Motorcycle"

c.1919 H.Fischer & Co., Clockwork Chain Driven

Spectacular early post-WW1, lithographed tinplate, clockwork "Clowns On Motorcycle" manufactured by H. Fischer & Co., Nuremberg, Germany. Super rare toy is complete, all original, and works great. It was recently rediscovered by the original owner's family in upstate New York. The only reference photo I could find was published in "Antique Motorcycle Toys", Bertoia, R., Schiffer Publishing, 1999, pg. 18. This is the first example I've seen in person.

The toy features two clowns (one driver and one mini-passenger) riding an elaborately colored 3-wheel motorcycle. It's precisely balanced to raise up on it's back end to do "wheelies". When raised at an angle it rests on a 4th metal wheel located on the underside of the cart. This causes it to repeatedly spin in circles while it simultaneously moves forward. Similar toys made during the 1930's and 50's substituted the small rear wheel for a fixed metal bead.

It's powered by a rare chain-driven clockwork motor connected beneath the left foot pedal. The driver is articulated at the hips, knees, and feet making it look like he's actually pedaling. The front wheel is cocked to the left which makes it turn in that direction, but only when resting on the three main wheels. The forks holding the front wheel have several old bends in them including one on each side, which if severely stressed would probably crack. I can recommend someone who could professionally repair it, but leaving it alone just like it is will still work and it looks fine.  

Couple other things to point out; 1) Notice how the two clowns wear exactly the opposite coloration except for their hats. 2) When the three main wheels rotate they cleverly resemble a spinning pinwheel. 3) It's litho includes patents applied for both in Great Britain and the USA. 4) The key is attached behind the right rear wheel and 5) the H. Fischer trademark was lithoed onto both sides of motorcycle engine. 

Size: 7½" long x 7¼" tall x 3½" wide.

Sold: Jan. 2015

Price Sold: $ 2435


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Subject: c.1919 H.Fischer & Co., Clockwork Chain Driven "Clowns on Motorcycle"

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