Sunday, January 9, 2011

Vintage Sparking Spinner Friction Toys

In my vintage toy series of web pages, I chose another old toy of a hundred names. It's still around today, often used as a promotional or holiday item. You may remember it as a sparkling wheel noisemaker toy. 

I'm looking for more information and for people's personal memories of the toy. You can find a lot of terrific old versions of this toy on eBay and similar auction sites.

You push plunger and usually a colorful wheel will turn around. When a striker wheel touches the flint, sparks are created. Some sort of whirring sound is emitted. There are a number of variations. Valuable old versions of the toy are still in existence today.

Some old Mickey Mouse and Popeye tin versions are still around. You can find some antique early figural versions from Germany which are funny and quite amazing. 

A rare German so-called Grandma toy with sparks that come out of her mouth sometimes comes up for auction.

They may or may not operate a little differently and that makes them all the more valuable and collectible. The fact that they've been used a lot by adults and kids, are often cross-collectible, and probably thought of as disposable over the years makes the older ones harder to come by.

In the 1950s, bicycle siren toys made by Fire Chief were created in virtually the same fashion.

A close cousin of the toys are Spinners, which spin around and open up like the petals of the tulip to expose some kind of figure inside. The most famous are holiday spinners shaped like Christmas trees. They'd open to expose a miniature Santa Claus. An Easter version may be an egg that opened to show a little chick.

Some vintage tin Halloween noisemakers were made in this style. The fact that they lit up and shot out sparks made them even more desirable.

These days, plastic versions of the toy abound. Fast food chains often place them in their kids' meals to promote films such as Star Wars.

Do you remember any of these toys?  

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