c.1903 Lehmann No.490 Clockwork "Tut Tut" w/Working Horn

c.1903 Lehmann No.490 Clockwork

Classic hand-painted and lithographed tinplate "Tut Tut" produced by Ernst Lehmann, Brandenburg, Germany. Pronounced "toot toot" in German this cleverly constructed toy was the first toy automobile that included a working horn. This example, although used, is complete and in excellent condition. Both its coil-spring motor and sound producing goat-skin bellows work great.

It's interesting to point out that on June 15, 1901 the first laws regulating Prussia's motor vehicle traffic went into effect. Less than two years afterwards Lehmann commented on these laws by producing a modern toy automobile with characteristics which the regulations were meant to control; namely safe driving techniques including the use of horns.

Driven by a "plump" well dressed gentleman the vehicle moves forward with erratic short jerky movements. The direction or position of the front wheels randomly turns the steering wheel which, in turn, moves the right arm. The driver seems to toot his horn whenever he make his unpredictable turns. 

Lehman cleverly mounted a bellows underneath the car connected to the driver by a hollow tube. A squeak sound is made at the point where the air exits the bellows. The air is forced through the driver and out through the horn. This gives the impression that the horn is creating the squeaking when actually the sounds start from underneath the car and are then transmitted through the driver. The sounds are synchronized with the movement of the driver and vehicle.

Structurally, the toy has all four original balloon tires with spoke wheels, brass finished headlights with original green and red transparent papers, original steering wheel, and horn. The driver, including the arms, hands, hat brim, etc. are also all original. In addition to the headlights the underside of the chassis is also brass finished.

Size: 7". 

Sold: Jun. 2011

Price Sold: $ 971


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Subject: c.1903 Lehmann No.490 Clockwork "Tut Tut" w/Working Horn

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