A cast from the past.
Toys aren't made in a cultural vacuum. They reflect the historic context in which they're created.
Frequently it's easy to guess the decade in which a toy was produced. My previous blogs, Wood Toy Fire Truck Fragment, Red Folk-Art Caboose, and Garland Red Flyer Toy Fragment also talk about toys as time-capsules.
It's my observation that as the roaring '20s were becoming much less roaring, the size of toys grew smaller and smaller.
My US Motor Unit is only three inches long, a diminutive art-deco toy. The characteristics that date this little gem to pre-World War II are that it is a slush-cast metal toy with rubber wheels. Both metal and rubber were rationed after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
This little gem was made by Barclay Manufacturing Company in North Bergen, New Jersey. The factory derived its name from a street in Hoboken. Go figure. Barclay was just one of many manufacturers producing metal toys for the new middle class created by the economic boom after World War I. In Barclay's heyday, the company cranked out half a million toys a week.
If you would like a partial list of toy manufacturers, you can go to these two links and get bored to tears. Unless, of course, toys are your passion.
Now onto the topic of slush casting. Yes, it's really a thing. No, I didn't know about it either, until I started this blog.
The important characteristic of slush casting is that it is hollow. Using this process, the manufacturer could produce toys much less expensively than through other casting methods. It might not be as strong as other methods, but who cares? It's a toy.
If you'd like to know more about slush casting (than I ever care to) please cast your eyes upon this website.