1925 Buffalo Toy & Tool, Hy-Lo Ferris Wheel in Original Box

1925 Buffalo Toy & Tool, Hy-Lo Ferris Wheel in Original Box

This gravity driven tin litho mechanical Hy-Lo Ferris Wheel was the very first Ferris Wheel toy produced in the United States. It was based on The Great Ferris Wheel built for the 1893 World's Fair. It's only the second example I've seen in excellent working condition complete with its original box. Over the years I've come to discover that there were two versions of the both the toy and box. This example is the earlier of the two.

The toy uses six revolving carriages rather than bench seats. Each carriage is shown with eight people lithoed in standing position just like the passengers in the Great Ferris Wheel. The carriages and wire support they're attached to disconnect from the hub. The underside of the base and gears are brass plated. 

It was produced by Buffalo Toy and Tool Works nearly eight years before the Chein and Nifty Hercules Ferris Wheel toys were manufactured. Using Buffalo Toy's patented gravity driven system. Rather than a key wind mechanism, it uses a weighted spiral metal rod to rotate the wheel. Start the toy by pulling thin metal handle until the rod is approximately 5" or 6" above the gears. A second version was also produced that used a wooden ball on the end of the rod. It also used a different method of connecting the carriages to the wheel.

Once you let go of the rod it's gradually down through a narrow slit between two brass "barn doors" built into the top of the gear mechanism. The spiral nature of the rod controls the rate it descends through the slit. Directions on the box indicate that it'll make 33 complete revolutions with a single lift of the spiral rod. It revolves methodically, slowly, and works great! I timed it and it ran for nearly one minute.

The box was the first version produced. It has a simple, yet detailed, illustration on of the exact toy (without the wooden ball on the handle) on two panels. There are several differences between the panels. One has instructions for assembly; the other instructions for use. The manufacturer's name was printed only on one panel, as well as the early Buffalo Toy motto "its simplicity and accuracy enables any child to operate it.) The other two panels including the endflaps are blank. 

The second version of the box was printed in color with a crazy quilt design. It also included a patent number. This earlier version has its patent pending.

Size: 15½" tall, 14½" diameter.

Sold: Jan. 2009

Price Sold: $ 278


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Subject: 1925 Buffalo Toy & Tool, Hy-Lo Ferris Wheel in Original Box

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