Nicely painted large cast iron, horse drawn fire toys are much sought after by collectors. The piece becomes special when it is all original, because of the abuse that might have occurred from the rough play. Over the years the cast iron figures would typically become separated from the toy. This “Hook and Ladder” by the Dent Hardware Company, Fullerton, Pennsylvania was manufactured in 1910 and is completely original. It was listed in their 1910 catalogue as “No. 147-3 Hook and Ladder”. This example has the original two figures; the brightly colored paint all over is authentic with no touch up; the red painted wheels (which are often replaced) are original and in original paint; as are the the three horses (two black and middle white horse) pulling the hook and ladder. All three ladders are also original to the piece. There are no repairs or restoration of any kind. This is all worth mentioning because most horse drawn pieces usually have something “wrong” with them. It even retains some of the thin red stenciling to the predominantly white body. This is the three horse version which is more desirable than the two horse example.
The four wheels to the main chassis and the two wheels under the three horses facilitate pushing or pulling the piece along the ground. When this is done, the horses start in motion and the articulation gives the appearance of horses galloping. This toy is in excellent all original condition and would make a nice mantel piece, fitting in nicely at all levels of collections and horse drawn aficionados.
Dimensions: 27 1/4″ long x 7″ wide x 8 1/4″ high
Provenance: it has been in my own collection for 30 years having been acquired in an estate sale in Oceanside, California where it resided since its original purchase.
Reference: page 51 “Cast Iron Horse Drawn Toys. Fire and Patrol Wagons” by John Olshefski in 2010.
I am a leading specialist in the field of antique toys, having been buying, selling, and examining these fine objects for 40 years. This experience makes me well qualified to analyze, evaluate, and guarantee the authenticity of original examples.