Perhaps it’s appropriate that the term “collectible diecast” most often refers to detailed scale models of cars and trucks. After all, the industrial process of molding metal parts by forcing liquefied low-melting point metals into a die was known as “hydrostatic moulding” before Herbert H. Franklin reportedly coined the term “die casting”. Franklin, who started the first commercial die casting company in the world, was also the founder of the Franklin Automobile Company, the most successful American maker of cars with air-cooled engines. It was the money that Franklin made in the metal die-casting industry that allowed him, in 1901, to engage engineer John Wilkinson, who was the technical genius behind the Franklin cars, which stayed in production into the 1930s. I’ve been working on a post about Wilkinson and the Franklin cars, but right now let’s look at a couple of other brands of cars that wouldn’t have existed were it not for Franklin’s success with die-casting. Those ‘car’ brands are TootsieToy and Matchbox. It was TootsieToy that likely first made die-cast model cars and it was Matchbox that took them from being mere toys to being accurate scale models. (Read More…)
When my son was in kindergarten and learning to count, he came home with instructions to gather 100 objects and then use them to practice counting. Suggested items included playing cards, toothpicks and pennies but I had a better idea: Hot Wheels Cars. We scoured the house for them, first emptying the plastic storage display that hangs from his bedroom door and then moving on to the toy box and then various drawers of his dresser and desk. The pile in the front room soon grew to amazing proportions and as the search widened to include all the nooks and crannies of the house, still the cars turned up in ones and twos, some under the couch, still others in the kitchen drawers and even a few amid the dust bunnies behind the TV. When, after about an hour, we had gathered them all together, we lined them up in neat rows on the carpet and counted to almost 170. (Read More…)
She is twenty-seven or perhaps thirty-one, long-limbed and lithe with clean blond hair pulled straight back – though not in a severe way – from a fine-boned, small-nosed face. That which is not honed by either Pilates or Bikram is flattered by the lycra of her Lululemon yoga capris, the fabric caressing as it flexes. As she bends over to soothe an adorable tow-headed toddler in a six-hundred-dollar ergonomic jogging stroller, I have just one thing on my mind.
That is a really nice stroller. (Read More…)