c.1930 Distler (ESS DEE), Over The Top in Original Box

c.1930 Distler (ESS DEE), Over The Top in Original Box

Although similar in function to several American built "over-under" toys this "Over The Top" toy is unique. It was manufactured in pre-war Germany by Distler under the name Ess Dee. I've found only one other example of this toy a couple years ago and couldn't identify the manufacturer. I don't know why Distler used the name other than a possible subsidiary like Marx is to Linemar. Much thanks to the "toy guy" that helped me identify it. 

The toy itself is in incredible condition (NM-) and barely looks like it was played with. It comes complete with its original which is also in fantastic condition (EXC+).

Unlike similar U.S. toys, the 'Over The Top' is primarily steel litho, not tin. Only the car body is tin. It uses a rugged, triple gear, flywheel driven clockwork motor with attached key. The toy consists of girder enclosed "start gate" with twin rotating arms, plus three connecting track pieces. It also includes a No. 3 motor car which is the largest (2½" x 1" x 1¼" and most realistic of any 'over-under' toy I've seen).

The toy was colorfully lithoed in bright yellow, green and red. The car is red with black and white trim, and yellow wheels. The ESS DEE trademark was lithoed onto the trunk. It even has a small windshield. A white bracket arm extends from each side of the vehicle. 

It operates similarly to other 'over-under' toys. That is, a pair of rotating support arms lift the vehicle using the white brackets on its side. This raises the car from the lower to upper track. The vehicle is released and gravity takes over. It runs across the upper see-saw track, tilts onto the lower lever where it rolls back into the starting gate. The cycle then repeats. 

The two piece box is made from thin, pressed cardboard used in many German toys of this vintage. The lid uses the old style 90° right angle staples in each corner. It features a handsome full color print of two young children dressed and groomed in period attire. It includes an accurate illustration of the toy, plus the toy name. The ESS DEE company logo appears in the lower right corner. The Distler name does not appear on the toy or box.

Size: 26".

Sold: May 2011

Price Sold: $ 812


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Subject: c.1930 Distler (ESS DEE), Over The Top in Original Box

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