c.1949 West Germany Musical Rocket Scrambler in Original Box

c.1949 West Germany Musical Rocket Scrambler in Original Box

This is from a collection of several early West German salesman sample toys that I purchased earlier in the year. It had never been removed from the original box until I took these photo's. I've never seen anything similar to it except for the classic steam and clockwork German toys from more well known companies. Despite it's distinctive trademark, the manufacturer and toy name is still a complete mystery to me.*

This is a fantastic clockwork tin litho carousel amusement park type toy. The lower half consists of an embossed circular base with three revolving double chairs. The upper half has three rotating rockets held aloft by a 5" long column. A pair of intertwined circular ribbons, resembling a crown, sits at the top center of the column capped by a wooden peg. The clockwork motor is housed underneath the base. 

The chairs are partially enclosed and double sided. Each holds two passengers facing each other. A wheel attached to the bottom of the chair cocks it slightly to one side allowing it to spin independently, while simultaneously revolving around the base. On the other hand, the rockets each hold a single figure. These are fixed stationary to a center platform at the top of the column and turn in the same direction as the chairs. 

Rather than trying to describe the multitude of colors and patterns it's easier just to look at the photo's. It has no manufacturers mark. The underside of the base is marked "Germany". 

A complex counter-weighted clockwork mechanism attached underneath the base causes everything to turn at the same time; chairs, rockets, center column, and crown.  All the while, a toothed disk attached to the motor rakes over a set of fixed "keys". This produces a scale of four different musical notes which gradually rise in tone. This is very unlike most "musical" toy mechanisms which produce a simple two-tone plink-plink sound. It uses a separate winding key which detaches from the motor while in use. The key is completely original to the toy. 

The toy works great although I allowed to run for only a limited time. The single wheels underneath the double chair's leave a light circular mark every time they rotate around the base. I tested it out and it works great. 

The box is a simple pressed yellow fiberboard box with separate lid. The corners are held together with typical 90° angled staples; 16 in all. The only thing to identify the entire toy is a small manufacturer's label stuck onto one of the box panels. Measuring approximately 2#" x 1" it was printed with the manufacturer's trademark of a standing erect bear with outstretched arms. The bear stands inside a large capital letter "C". A smaller size capital "B" is located to the left of the bear, and a "O" on the right. Just below this and to the right is the toys' original stamped catalog number. "Made in Western Germany" was printed just below this. There is no other printing on the box. The original packing paper is still inside the box. 

Size: Approx. 9" tall with 5" diameter base. 

*Even after all the time and effort I spent in researching this toy I could not identify the manufacturer, or find anything similar to it. In fact, I put in more time researching it than any toy I've ever found....and still came up completely blank. I thought that with such a distinct trademark that it would be easy to locate. The manufacturer name I listed above, Bär & Company, seems to be the most logical name based on the trademark, but it's really a complete guess. If anyone recognizes the company, or toy, please send me an email and I'll post it onto the auction. My research included the following: 

Review of over 25 reference books on German toys; two of which are dedicated to identifying obscure German toy trademarks.

  • Four hours at our county library with links to worldwide archived trademarks.  
  • Review of several European toy auction house records going back 10 years.
  • I contacted several European, specifically German, toy collectors. None of them had ever seen the distinct BCO bear (i.e, bär) trademark before.
  • I found no information on any of the German toy, or museum, web sites.

Sold: Dec. 2008

Price Sold: $ 406


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