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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The "Hubley Toy Equipped A Generation Of Cowboys" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just got home from a visit to State College, Pennsylvania where Carol and I spent time with friends Jerry and Just Sue.  I no sooner walked in the door when I remembered what I wanted to do during our visit.  I wanted to take a photo of Jerry's Hubley six-shooter cap gun.  Jerry had been looking for a Hubley cap gun for years since Hubley toys were made in Lancaster, PA a few blocks from where we lived while growing up.  When he finally found one, I thought I would take a photo of it just in case I ever needed it, as I do for this story.  
Jerry's Hubley cap gun with box of caps.
Called him and asked if his lovely wife could take a photo of it and email it to me.  He told me she most certainly could do that and to listen to this.  A few seconds later there were a few blasts as he fired a couple of rounds from his cap gun.  "Remember when we used to take an entire roll of caps and hit it with a hammer?" I asked him.  
Photo I recently took showing what I think was the Hubley
Company in Lancaster, PA.
"Didn't do that too often since caps weren't cheap back then," he responded.  Well, Sue emailed the photo shortly after and the emailed photo has sat on my desktop until today.  I recently posted a question on a Lancaster website asking if anyone knew the exact location of the original Hubley Plant, since I went searching for it and couldn't seem to locate it.  
Some of the many toys Hubley made for young cowboys.
I swore I knew where it was, but you know how that goes sometimes. Well, I got all sorts of answers from people posting on the website.  After reading that it was located in five different locations, I stopped reading and began digging on the web to try and find the answer.  After a trip by car to the spot I found on a map, I was stilled totally confused.  Then I thought, doesn't really matter where it was years ago or where it is today, the toys they made were a child's dream back in the late 1940s and thoroughout the 1950s when Jerry and I were kids on the north end of Lancaster city.  
An advertisement in a magazine.
The toys they made were cast-iron as well as zinc alloy and plastic.  The metal cars that we played with were 1:20 scale.  Hubley first began producing toys in 1909 and their 11 inch Packard truck was one of my favorites.  Of course I had a 6-shooter and holster to go with my cowboy hat, bandana, lasso, and chaps.  Hubley toys are now collector's items and if you can find one in a box, it's worth about twice the amount, according to my brother who sells items such as this on eBay.  Hubley was purchased by Gabriel about 1969 and continued making toys throughout the 1970s.  The dies used to make the toys were then bought by CBS Toys and they in turn sold out to Ertl who has now stopped production of all of the original toys made from the dies and molds that were Hubley.  My Great Grandfather was a designer for Hubley and my dad worked for Hubley for a few years.  He lost the tip of his left pointer finger while running a stamping machine.  And, I could drive all over Lancaster and it wouldn't matter where the place used to be, just as long as Jerry has his cap gun and can share it with me as he just has.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

LDub standing on his porch at 929 North Queen Street with his Hubley gun and accessories.

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