Cast Iron, Tin Toys — September 1, 2013 at 12:01 am

With a Bang!

BY KEN FOUST

BOYS OF ALL AGES love fireworks, cap pistols, and firecracker cannons. It’s not a new phenomenon. Cap guns and cap bombs have been created in hundreds of styles since the 1880’s. The only thing they all have in common is a need for caps. And who better to provide those caps than the maker of many of the most original and innovative cap exploders, the Ives Toy Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Oddly enough, Ives catalogs from the late 1880’s and early 1890’s don’t seem to mention selling caps of any kind in spite of the fact they devote page after page to selling fireworks, many large enough for a citywide Fourth of July celebration. Ives marketed them under their “Eagle” brand.

But Ives definitely offered caps too. How do we know? Because the box photographed here proves it.

And while a century of time, grime, and neglect have taken their toll on it, this rare survivor still has much to tell us.

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