Friday, August 31, 2012

Ives Manufacturing Company, Holland Street, Bridgeport, CT (1868-1932)

"The largest American manufacturer of toy trains between between 1910 and 1924 !!!"  The "Ives toy trains" were a wish on many Christmas holiday lists.   Ultimately Lionel Trains and American Flyer bought the financially struggling Ives toy company.   

See the following link for photos and details from the historical survey of the original Ives building on Holland Street:  

Ives Manufacturing Company, Bridgeport, CT

Years ago, when the North End Boys and Girls Club on Madison Avenue was a 
hang-out for the youth of the 1950's and 1960's,  there was occasionally a toy train show held at the club.  Toy train hobbies certainly were more popular during that era than they are today.    

Bridgeport was and still is an industrial town.  The Ives toy trains are another example of the industrial past of the City of Bridgeport.  

The value of antique trains varies by type and brand.  However, the original Ives toy trains appear to be rarely found by antique train hobbyists.  Lionel and American Flyer are antique toy trains which are more readily available on the antique toy train market.  
Ives also manufactured toy boats for a few years.  These toy boats were discontinued due to lack of sales.  There was a blurb on Wikipedia that the one of the Ives family company owners dumped the casts for the original Ives toy trains in the Connecticut River.   Would be interesting to confirm or refute this historical blurb.  

While reviewing some of the content of historical books written about the Connecticut brass industry, I discovered that the magazine "Popular Mechanics" can provide some insight into the evolution of the toy train industry.  This 1925 Popular Mechanics issue displays an advertisement about Ives toy trains and boats:  Ives Manufacturing Company featured in Popular Mechanics, 1925

Apparently, Ives Manufacturing Company did not make any toys for girls.  Perhaps there is an unknown doll factory hidden in the depths of Bridgeport's ................. history................ to be continued......

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