Weeden Toy Steam Engines



2015-06-26 10:35:11

Weeden Toy Steam Engines are children’s toys produced by the American-based Weeden Manufacturing Company.

History & Description

Founded in the 1880s in New Bedford, Massachusetts, by William N. Weeden, the company originally manufactured tin plate household items and oil lamp burners.

The company produced its first toy steam engine in 1885 and continued to improve on it designs and mechanisms throughout the early-twentieth century. Initially, the majority of models ran on wood alcohol, but by the mid-1920s, the company began to introduce models fitted with electric heat. By the early-1940s, the company had approximately 100 different models of toy steam engines.

The company was acquired by National Playthings in 1942 and although the new owners continued to produce a limited number of steam powered models, electric and diesel engines were becoming more predominant and the company closed for good in 1952.

Guide for collectors

Records indicate that the earliest models achieve the highest prices at auction. One of the most popular models among collectors is the Live Steam Fire Pumper toy, which was introduced in 1894 and produced until 1919.

Many collectors consider the Dart to be the classic early-twentieth century American toy steam train. Tens of thousands were manufactured between 1890 and 1912 and examples have sold for hundreds of dollars on eBay.

For more information, collectors should visit the following websites; Toy Steam Bible, Weeden Steam and Steam-Toys.

Notable auction sales

On November 20th 2004 at Noel Barrett in Carversville, Pennsylvania, a live steam fire pumper toy, dated 1885, realised a price of $3,000.

On December 12th 2009 at Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania:

  • A live steam dart train set realised a price of $2,000.
  • A No. 12 double mill steam engine toy realised a price of $1,800.

On November 6th 2011 at Rich Penn Auctions in Waterloo, Indiana, a live steam fire pumper toy, circa 1885, realised a price of $1,700.

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