Large cast iron, horse drawn fire toys (referred to as oversized) are much sought after by collectors. The piece becomes more in demand when it is all original, because of the abuse that would have occurred from rough play. Over the years the cast iron figures and detachable ladders would typically have become separated from the toy. This “Hook and Ladder” by the Dent Hardware Company, Fullerton, Pennsylvania was manufactured circa 1905 and is very rare. It is not listed in any of the known catalogues and is not referenced in John Olshefski’s book on cast iron fire toys. This example has the original two figures; the original two ladders, original four spoked wheels under the chassis, along with the smaller wheels under the horses, and authentic and all original beautifully cast three horses. There is about 70% all original paint remaining all around with no touch up; the body is cream colored to white; the wheels and ladders red, and the figures are black with some original white paint to the faces (see images). The rear figure is lacking his right leg (see image). The three black horses pulling the hook and ladder in a dramatic galloping stride are all original with no repairs. There are no repairs or restoration or re-welding of any kind This is all worth mentioning because most horse drawn pieces usually have parts replaced or, and, repainted. This is the three horse version which is scarcer and more desirable than the two horse examples.
Also, being 31 1/2″ long, this hook and ladder is larger than most and more rare.
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 would make an attractive mantel piece, fitting in nicely in all levels of Americana collections and horse drawn aficionados.
Dimensions: 31 1/2″ long x 6″ wide x 9 1/4″ high