c.1950 Ruhl, Oriole Feeding Chicks in Original Box

c.1950 Ruhl, Oriole Feeding Chicks in Original Box

This is a clockwork wind-up toy and all tin litho with the exception of the bird's wings. They're some type of plastic, or fiberboard laminate which appear to be hand-painted and hand-cut. It comes with its beautiful original box, complex two piece insert, illustrated directions, and original key. It easily grades near mint+. 

A lot of engineering and quality workmanship went into making this toy. This can be seen by the detailed lithography, the intensity of the colors, and it's overall design make it look very realistic. Basically it's a bird which flaps its wings and flys in a circular pattern around a central tree trunk. But it's much more than that. A clockwork motor hidden inside the tree trunk causes a series of gears (located at the "top" of the tree) to alternately push and pull two parallel metal rods. The gears are covered with lithoed disk of a nested, single chick. From underneath this disk one rod extends out about 8" to hold up the mother Oriole. It's ends with several angles to conceal it underneath the flapping wings. The second rod is lined up directly under the first, but it ends with two reciprocating bends in the metal. Similar to a bicycle pedal the reciprocations move up and down like pistons to raise and lower the wings. The wings themselves were purposely made from some type of flexible laminate to give them a flapping appearance. 

The toy was meant to be looked at not only from the side, but from the top as well. A "birds-eye" view shows the top of the tree with the hungry chicks with Mom circling for her approach. To add to the realism the rods holding Mom are off-center from the center of the tree. This makes it look like she gets closer and then farther away from the nest. Dead center is the key hole where the separate key attaches to wind the toy.

Best of all it works great!

The box cover features a gorgeous full color, panel-wide print of two Orioles feeding their nested chicks. A happy boy and girl watch from below. The "R" trademark is it's only text. The box bottom shows a schematic for winding the toy, operation of the start/stop lever, and the trademark. The accompanying text below the trademark dates the toys manufacture around 1950.

An unusual series of parallel slits were made through one of the cover aprons. I have no idea what these are for. Two circular inserts remain stapled to the inside of the box. Gear teeth, similar to sprockets, were cut into one end of the insert. This was done so that would form a perfect circle when twisted. On one side of the box bottom are several pencil marks including mark down prices. There's also a small sticker with the number 7 on it. The positioning of the staples almost makes it look handmade. It consists of four separate pieces of cardboard; one for each side. I've never seen another like it and it's not a reproduction. 

Size: 14½" wide, 5½" tall. Momma Oriole wingspan 7½". Base diameter 6".

Sold: Mar. 2010

Price Sold: $ 204


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Subject: c.1950 Ruhl, Oriole Feeding Chicks in Original Box

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