1953 Johann Hofler, Double See-Saw Cars in Original Box

1953 Johann Hofler, Double See-Saw Cars in Original Box

This Double See-Saw Cars manufactured by Johan Höfler, Germany is the only example of the toy, or box, that I've seen. Prior to my taking these photos, it had never been played with, or removed from the original box. It's the last of several early post-war tin litho clockwork toys that I purchased from the estate of the original owner; who was a U.S. importer of German made toys. 

It's basically an amusement park ride toy consisting of three towers with two roadways passing through them, one above the other. The tracks pivot from the center tower like see-saw's. The tower on the right (1st photo) is twice the width of the other two and houses the clockwork motor. It's wound using a separate key which is original to the toy. A rotating arm inside the right tower, similar to the classic "over-under" toy, connects to a complex gear mechanism to alternately raise and lower the roadways in opposite directions. Two identical tin cars move back and forth across the tracks, of course in opposite directions. They don't change tracks, although it gives the illusion that they do. It uses a start/stop switch located about 2" above the key. Best of all it works great!

The end towers are lithoed with stairways filled with waiting passengers on one side. The other side has a litho of the motor house interior with the actual key fitting into the center. Multicolored awnings, ticket takers, pennants, balloon sellers, and lots of kids with adults contribute to the amusement ride setting. To complete the appearance, everything is fixed to a "grassy" green and white base. The detailed lithography adds a lot to the overall effect. The only markings on the toy are the "JH" shamrock logo located on the center tower.

The original box was illustrated with two full panel sketches of the toy in a realistic setting. The wider panel shows the entire ride in a circus carnival. The racers shoot back and forth while people in the towers and on the ground watch the action. The narrower panels show a close-up of the ride from the perspective of being inside the left tower. Other circus rides including a Ferris wheel and rollercoaster are in the background. The endflaps have a simpler image of the toy with a large clown in front holding the Höfler logo. The company catalog number is printed on both ends. It also has its original inspection number stamped on one of the flaps (see 3rd box photo). The original packing paper (not shown) is still inside the box.

Size:. 9¾" x 4½" x 3¼", Cars 1½".

Sold: Dec. 2008

Price Sold: $ 546


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