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Vintage and Antique Cast Iron Toys

Cast iron toys are made of an iron alloy that contains carbon and silicone. The arcade toys made from cast iron are often diecast, which helps to ensure consistency in batches. These vintage toys are available in a range of sizes and styles from a variety of manufacturers.

What are the types of vintage cast iron toys?
  • Banks: Arcade banks were sometimes made of cast iron. Some of these banks feature mechanisms that cause part of the bank to move when a coin is inserted. They are available in the shapes of pigs, people, houses, and more.
  • Cars, trucks, and motorcycles: Harley-Davidson and other manufacturers made antique cast iron model cars, fire trucks, horse-drawn carriages, motorcycles, and trains.
  • Horses and cannons: Cannons with stallions to pull them are also available. These antique cast iron items are made to play with or display on a shelf.
How do you take care of antique cast iron toys?
  • Remove dust: For collectible arcade or Hubley cast iron play and display items, use a soft, clean paint brush to gently sweep off the dust from the surfaces of the item.
  • Wipe off oils: When aged toys made of iron are handled, oils from a person's hands could interact with the iron. This could cause oxidation of the metal. Wear cotton gloves when handling the toys. If the cast iron items are touched with bare hands, wipe them off with a microfiber cloth.
  • Scrape off the rust: If an area of rust develops on the toy, use a small, steel-bristled brush to slowly scrape off the flakes of rust. Wear a face mask, gloves, and goggles so the flakes do not get into your eyes, mouth, or skin.
  • Oil the toy: After removing rust, apply a thin coating of mineral oil to all of the toy's cast iron surfaces. Rub it in with a clean microfiber or cotton cloth.
What are some features of older cast iron toys?
  • Manufacturer and date stamp: The bottom of vintage cast iron toys often features the name of the manufacturer and the year of manufacture.
  • Details: A cast iron item may have fine details showing the texture of an animal's fur, shingles on a house, or the bridle of a stallion.
  • Paint: Some cast iron toys are painted. Original paint enhances the toy's collectible nature. The original painting was typically done by hand from paints with a lead base that forms a chemical bond with the iron.
  • Moving tires: The cast iron toy cars, trains, trucks, wagons, and horse-drawn carriages feature moving wheels. The cast iron wheels are attached to axles. Pushing the toy allows it to roll if it is on a flat surface.
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