1957 Arnold Lucky Tightrope Walker In Original Box

1957 Arnold Lucky Tightrope Walker In Original Box

Magnificent clockwork tin litho "Lucky" Tightrope Walker manufactured by Arnold, Western Germany. Complete, working and in incredible near mint condition. In addition it has its complete original box and separate key.

In researching this toy I found only one reference in a German book on tin toys Deutsches Blechspielzeug nach 1945. Arnold produced similar "traveling base" toys, but never have I seen a tightrope walker by them, or any other company. There were gravity powered balance circus toys made at the turn of the century, but none were clockwork that I could find.

The lithoed base has two building structures on either end. One is a circus tent which houses the clockwork motor. The opposite end has a circus wagon with coiled spring protruding from the rear roof edge. In front of each building is a 3½" tall ladder platform. A black cord runs between the platforms. The many spectators are shown looking skywards along both sides of the base.

The toy is wound using it separate nickel plated cast iron key inserted into the roof of the tent. The front of the tent has a start/stop lever. Once wound and started the mechanism moves the vertical rod underneath the Walker. The rod moves and the Walker is connected to the top of the rod giving the illusion that he's actually balancing on the cord. He moves all the across from one end to the other. Then when he reaches the end he actually turns around, faces the center of the wire, and again proceeds to cross it! All the while there's slight movement making it appear "to dance acrobatically" while on the high wire. The effect is very realistic. It's one of the neatest working toys I've seen.

The walker itself is a 2" tall painted molded plastic figure wearing clown make-up. Held between both his hands is a 6" balance beam, coiled spring with plastic balls on each end.

The box was printed with bright orange background. Over the entire cover was printed the manufacturer's name, children at play, Made in Germany, and the word "toys" written in three languages in black and white. One of the box ends has its original Arnold label with two marked down prices from Gimbels (then a huge department store). On the label is also printed "permanent fixed key", however this is not the case. The reference book I used also shows the same setup without an attached key. The box bottom is plain cardboard.

Size: 15" x 6" x 1½"

Date Sold: Feb. 2011

Price Sold: $ 636


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Subject: 1957 Arnold Lucky Tightrope Walker In Original Box

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