BY JACK HERBERT
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION in Granddaddy’s time was, in almost all ways, far more interesting and certainly more exciting than our own today. His city buses were open-topped in the summer, so his air conditioning never failed to function. His commuter trains were in keen competition with one another, so there were a lot more of them from which to choose.
But it was in his taxicabs that he rode most regally. Cast yo’ critical eye over the seven toy cabs we have selected for you here. While they are indeed toys, each is. nevertheless, a fair approximation of the real thing that graced our larger cities from approximately 1910 to 1925. Granddaddy never bumped his head in any of these cabs – and he frequently sported a genuine silk top hat! There were footrests. Grandmother was able to enter any of these taxis gracefully, with none of the fanny-first contortions required these days. And they were distinctive – you knew they were designed and built as cabs. They weren’t just everyday sedans painted orange and black.
Let’s begin our toy odyssey this month with the charming 7″ tinplate taxi shown in Figure A. Here we have a genuine World War I model – a windup, built by G & K (Gunda-Werke) of Brandenburg, Germany. This was one of their best automotive toys: simply designed, beautifully put together, and – as 65-year-old toys go – not all – that impossible to find today, if you look in the right corners.