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Top-Heavy Vehicles and Celluloid Blow Molds

Updated: May 24

I bought this crazy little vehicle on Etsy and it was shipped to me from Canada. It's in so-so shape with some dents and missing dingle strings, but I think it's still super charming and a wonderful find.

I love this little toy because of the top-heavy ridiculousness of it and the fun colors. Back in the day, it must have been amazing to see this seemingly top-heavy cartoon car zooming by with the cage spinning around on top and the little dingle strings flying about.

The little spring car on the bottom has been overwound and no longer runs, which wouldn't be surprising to any toy collector. I'm thinking about trying to figure out how to fix the wind-up mechanism, but haven't done so yet. I have no idea if it's even possible. Also, the tiny bird in the cage is hanging upside down, and I'm definitely going to fix this. I think I can use a syringe to inject some glue into the tail to give it some weight so the head will pop up. That's my plan anyway. If I succeed, I'll update this post with a newer photo.

The pieces of this toy are made of celluloid, which is really the first incarnation of plastic. The manufacturing process used blow mold technology, where the celluloid was heated then inflated into a mold. If you've handled these sort of celluloid toys or dolls, you know they are light as a feather and very, very fragile. I think it's pretty remarkable that this one survived largely intact. This toy was likely made in the 1930s or 40s. Celluloid was banned in the US in the 60s because it's flammable and no one seems to want flammable toys ....

I've always been intrigued by the idea of very impractical vehicles, which is part of what drew me to this toy in the first place. Someone once pointed out that many of my paintings are unlikely vehicles of some sort. I guess I like the idea of a moving environment or colony on wheels.


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