— About us —
My name is Danny and I was born in 1970.
For people who grew up before the 1980s, playing with mechanical toys is well remembered.
But the 1970s also saw the end of tin toys, because of child safety and cheaper production methods with plastic.
It's also the age when quality products made way for the mass market, due to lower quality Far Eastern products produced with cheap labour.
And it's when mechanical toys gave way to a battery, electronic, and finally computer culture.
Nevertheless, there are still companies who survived, like Märklin, Mamod, Wilesco etc..
But they had to adapt to other production methods, and instead of focussing on children, they now focus on the 'grey youth'.
As a six year old I received my first Märklin H0 train set with the typical tin plate M-rails.
This train set was so well and strongly built that it's still in the same condition as when almost 50 years ago it came out of the box.
These were also toys that were supposed to have an educational value for children.
And obviously it must have worked as I have become a train driver.
As a child, I was fascinated by engineering, design, history and the industrial revolution.
Maybe it's in the genes, as my father and grandfather all had the same passion for engineering.
My first confrontation with steam engines, I had as a young lad, when I went with my parents to Flea Markets.
And WOW, there they where, these - in a child's view - gigantic toy steam engines from grandfather's time, that worked on live steam.
Unfortunately I never got one as a child, too dangerous my father said, and now I have to agree with him.
But still these machines embedded themselves in my memory.
When I was older I did model building which enabled me to learn about painting techniques, metal work and all kinds of other techniques.
A few years ago I found a small Mamod steam engine for sale on the internet: still passionate about these machines, I bought it, and my passion for collecting them was born.
My interest in post World War Two machines quickly diminished once I discovered the pre-war ones.
I'm now searching everyday for models to add to the collection.
The toys come from an age when toymakers made high quality toys. They were also produced in an age when the industrial revolution was at it's peak.
But let us also not to forget, it was an age where mechanical warfare and mass extermination camps where the new inventions of the day.
All this, is in one way or the other connected to these engines.
Besides the fun of restoring and preserving these toys, they are certainly worth the effort to be saved as behind them is luck, sadness, wealth, poverty, war and racial persecution.
Each time I buy an old toy, I try to figure out to who it belonged to.
Most of the time it's an inheritance from a grandfather, where the heirs are not interested, or it does not work anymore or just has to be got rid of.
I always romanticise the view of a grandfather, full of joy receiving a steam engine or train on a Christmas morning.
And the joy was massive, because receiving a toy was a rare privilege, as it only was something the richer could afford.
And for those who think that these toys where operated by grandfather is wrong. It was great-grandfather who bought and operated it, and grandfather was allowed to look at it.
Most of the time these engines arrive in a cardboard box, with a layer of 80 year-old dust and oil that has became tar, spider webs and mouse droppings included.
The next thing to do is to research it, search for the missing parts and if not found, in the worst case make replica parts myself.
You'll find me on a regular basis on international collectors' forums under the alias Nuvolari.
You can find those forums in the topic "Links".
I hope you like this blog and enjoy grandfather's toys.
The collection is always growing and this blog will be updated regularly.
Any comments are always welcome - you can contact via the topic "Contact"