George Brown toys

George W. Brown & Co., Forestville, USA, 1856-1880.

Not know to many people and collectors, but G. Brown introduced moving clockwork mechanisms and friction to tin toys in the 1850's in the USA. So it comes as no surprise that he was a clockmaker before becoming a toymaker.

George W. Brown toy history

Born in Bolton June 1, 1830, Brown moved to Forestville as a young man to become an apprentice to J.C. Brown, a distant cousin, who was a clockmaker. In 1856, Brown and Chauncey Goodrich founded the George W. Brown and Co. toy makers.

In 1862, spurred by the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania, the company began making kerosene lamps. The business was sold to Bristol Brass and Clock Co. in 1868. Brown held several patents for lamp improvements.

George Brown toy

Brown started a second toy enterprise in Cromwell in 1869 with J. and E. Stevens. During the 1870s, Brown seems to have become more interested in adding to his line of mechanical toys. He patented two intricate mechanisms in 1872 and 1874.

Stevens and Brown may have suffered badly during the economic depression of 1873. They also faced stiff competition from a toymaker in Bridgeport. In 1880 the Stevens and Brown company was dissolved.

On Dec. 18, 1889, Brown died of pneumonia at age 59 in New York City. He was buried in Forestville, after a funeral attended by 500 mourners.

A hand-painted miniature model of a 19th-century four-wheeled fire-hose carriage, made about 1870 by Brown and described by experts as probably the rarest American tin toy existing, was sold at auction in New York for a record toy price of $231,000 by an anonymous person at Christie's Park Avenue galleries.

Interesting book: The George Brown Toy Sketchbook on Amazon

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George Brown value and price guide

What's your George Brown worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

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