Hubley Ahrens Fox Cast Iron Fire Engine, Large 11″ *Antique Toys E-Museum*
Hubley Ahrens Fox Cast Iron Fire Engine, Large 11″+
This Hubley fire engine is painted red with nickel plated driver, nickel plated hose reel and where the engine usually is, has a nickel plated boiler. Two tires are original and two are very nice replacements.
Casting details are beautiful like the hose above the rear tires, the engine fins, gauges on the boiler, and running board bolts. It is a tour-de-force of early cast iron cast-work.
The Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine Company is an Ohio-based fire truck manufacturer. The company was founded in 1910 by John P Ahrens and Charles H Fox and built its first motorized fire engine in 1911. By the end of the following year production of horse-drawn fire apparatus ceased completely. Since then, over 1500 pieces of fire apparatus were built until 1977. Ahrens-Fox fire engines were recognizable by the chromed sphere above the pump that held air and smoothed the outgoing pressure fluctuations from the piston pump.
A brief history of Hubley Manufacturing Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania:
The Hubley Manufacturing Company was first incorporated in 1894 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania by John Hubley. Their slogan was “They’re Different”. They were occasionally known as Lancaster Brand Iron Toys which manufactured electric toy train equipment and parts. In 1909, they purchased the Safety Buggy Co. factory and moved to the site. The first Hubley toys appeared in 1909 and were made of cast-iron, with themes that ranged from horse-drawn vehicles, fire engine, circus trains, different breeds of dogs, tractors, steam shovels, horses, banks, and cap guns.
The Hubley Manufacturing Company produced a wide range of cast-iron toys, doorstops, and bookends. Toys, particularly motor vehicles and cap guns, were also produced in zinc alloy and plastic. The company is probably most well known for its detailed scale metal kits of Classic cars in about 1:20 scale. Starting in 1960, Hubley participated for a couple of years with Detroit automakers as a plastic promotional model maker. Many Hubley toys are now sought-after collectibles. Hubley’s main competition in the early years was Arcade as well as a bit from A.C. Williams.
By the 1930’s autos became the headliners. By quickly converting to cheaper smaller toys during the Depression, they avoided financial woes experienced by many other toy companies. Iron shortages in WWII and commitments to fill war contracts did stop the toy division in 1942, until after the war.
As of 2019, Wikipedia tells us that, “Perhaps Hubley’s diversification in the 1960s overtaxed its profits, weakening it financially by the 1970s. Hubley was purchased by toy maker Gabriel about 1969 who continued to make its regular kits and diecast kids toys through the 1970s. A series of colorful but rather unexciting generic make diecast toy trucks were available in a variety of forms (dump truck, tow truck, etc.) up until about 1980. Gradually, the Hubley name was downplayed in favor of Gabriel.
Around 1980, Hubley was acquired by CBS Toys which later sold many dies to Ertl and Scale Models, both of Dyersville, Iowa. For example, the Hubley Ford 4000 tractor was reproduced by Scale Models, up through the 1990s and perhaps later (Scale Models 2010). In the 1990s, some Hubley vehicles like the school bus, were also reissued with minor variations from the original casting.
Ertl has now stopped production of all of the original toy dies and molds purchased from Hubley. As a result, all remaining Hubley/Ertl metal kits are fairly rare. They can be purchased from auction web sites as well as from collectors and older hobby stores.”