c.1925 Tech Specialties (McDowell), See Saw Coaster

c.1925 Tech Specialties (McDowell), See Saw Coaster

Not only have I never seen this toy before, but I've never heard of its manufacturer. Marked "Tech Specialties Co." it has several characteristics which are identical to that used by the McDowell Mfg. Co. Both companies were located in the same city, Pittsburgh, PA.

I purchased it from the estate of the original owner who was a toy buyer for J. Wanamaker in Pittsburgh. It was passed down, along with many other toys, to his family. Technically, I'm only its second owner. There is no box for it.

The toy is all heavy gauge enameled pressed steel and operates using a complex clockwork motor. The base is marked with the manufacturer's name, city, Made In U.S.A., and patent application. As hard as I tried to find a documented link between the two companies, there was none to be found. 

Yes, it is an "over-under" toy , but there are two characteristics about this toy that I've never seen before. 

Most over-under toys transfer the vehicle from lower to upper track using a motor which rotates a pair of arms underneath the vehicle to physically lift it up and set it in place. In this case it uses the pivoting motion of the entire Y-shaped lower track to raise the car. Notice that both ends have an upright metal stop because each side raises and lowers. The entire track replaces the typical lifting arm. The timing has to be perfect for it to work. 

It's the first time I've seen an animated two-man car for any over-under toy. The figures are linked to the vehicles axles and to each other. As the car moves, the little guys move back and forth. The faster the car moves the faster the little men go back and forth.  

But there are also similarities (between this toy and McDowell over-under's).

  • The complex clockwork motor with attached key and lead flywheel are identical right down to the number of gears.  
  • Both the length, width, and shape of the track are identical. The tracks fit together in the same way as well. 
  • The base with its recessed edge lines and dimples are identical. 
  • The gauge of the steel used is identical. 
  • McDowell clockwork toys are also very scarce.

But best, and most important of all....it works beautifully and for a long time. Over and over it performed flawlessly!

Size: 21" x 4½" x 3¾". Car 2½".

Sold: Oct. 2008

Price Sold: $ 537


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Subject: c.1925 Tech Specialties (McDowell), See Saw Coaster

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