Early 1900’s Tin Lighthouse Windup Toy with Four Airplanes

Early 1900’s Tin Lighthouse Windup Toy with Four Airplanes

$_3This item appeared on ebay recently and became an instant hit. On the ebawebsite it was described as:

DESCRIPTION: This is a very unusual and rare early aviation airplane toy called “Light-house Aero-Planes”. It is marked on the toy and box “Mfgd. By Valentine Sandberg N.Y. Pat. Appd. For”. Included is a partial original box, lighthouse tower, 4 airplanes, and all parts needed to assemble it. When wound up, the tower rotates making the planes appear to circle the lighthouse. The flag on top has 48 stars, which means that it was probably made some time since 1912.
MATERIALS: Tin lithographed lighthouse tower, paper and wood planes with tin props, metal rods, wire shafts, and a wood and cloth flag

DIMENSIONS: The tower measures about 15-¼ inches tall, not counting the flag pole. The planes are about 6-¾ inches long.

CONDITION: First of all its amazing to me that this toy still exists! I put it together, wound it up, and it still works! The airplanes are very delicate, and 2 of them are replacements that were handcrafted by the previous owner. The original red plane has bends and paper loss, and the original blue plane has bends paper loss and a tape repaired tail. There could be other repairs to them that I missed. The 2 replacement planes are the ones that appear brighter in the pictures. The tin tower has some bends in the base, but the lithograph is nice and shiny. The windup motor works and the tower revolves the planes. The wood piece on the top of the tower where the rods push in has some chips in it. I was really surprised to see that the rods held in when the toy operated as the wood piece has a lot of wear. I thought they would fall out, and they might when you operate it. The original box was in bad shape, and not complete, so the previous owner built an inner box for it, and glued the remnants of the original box to the new box to preserve it.

This is a very interesting toy especially for the lighthouse, airplane, or New York City collector. It may be one of the last ones left! It will look good with Marx, Chein, Strauss, or circus and amusement park toys.

From the information on the ebay website it sold for US $459.00 :


Item condition: 


Ended: Mar 02, 2014 16:21:21 PST

Winning bid: US $459.00 ( 21 bids ) 
Interesting! Do you know of any other examples of this item? I think it is quite rare.



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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

1 comment

  1. This was made by my great-grandfather. I have never seen it before and would love to have something like this.

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