Brower's Automatic Dancer
Click To Enlarge

We are pleased to offer for your consideration a wonderful antique clockwork Brower’s Automatic Dancer Toy patented in 1873. This fantastic early toy came with 2 paper labels on the bottom of the platform (please see last photo).  One label indicates that this toy was once part of the Bernard BarenholtzCollection. The other label refers to a book titled “THE TOY COLLECTOR” by Louis H Hertz, and specifically to page 199.  We have this book in our library and on page 199 this toy appears on the bottom shelf, 3rd from the right, back row.  The caption at the bottom of page 199 describes the photo shown being a section of the Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Barenholtz toy collection.  In doing our research we were able to find only one other Automatic Toy Dancer that was the same as this one with the wooden platform for the dancer to dance upon.  This other example we found was the inventor’s patent model submitted to the U.S. Patent Office along with the original documentation. All of the other examples of the Brower's Automatic Dancer that we have seen did not employ the wood platform the dancer stands on, but had only the backdrop. The background on our Brower's Dancer is an original age darkened hand colored paper litho scene, mounted on a wood panel.  It depicts a black banjo player and two black men dancing a jig and in the distance behind them there is a cabin.  Although we have seen a few other Brower's Dancers we have never seen this wonderful background scene before.  The print is dark from age and it remains remarkably complete. This toy is constructed of wood, composition, wire, and cloth, with a clockwork motor providing power.  The toy apprears to be all original.  His clothes, hat, and hair all show varying amounts of loss and wear. There is significant loss to the man's trousers (please be sure to see the close up photo) and there is some loss to his hat as well.  His shirt and suspenders are in amazing condition considering the age of the toy and the original hand painting on the face, legs and shoes is very complete and has very nice detail!  The key included is a vintage replacement and it works well to wind the mechanism.  The wood platform the figure is dancing on is the original mahogany board with a nicely detailed edge and a wonderful patina.  When the toy’s original clockwork motor is wound the Dancer will do his part hopping and flailing his legs about performing a charming "jig" (please see the video above to see the wonderful action).  The wind up mechanism works very well.  The toy overall measures 9 ¼” tall by 7½” wide by 8” deep.  Early American toys of this type, age, and in this condition are few and far between and if you collect early clockwork toys or Black Americana toys it doesn’t get much rarer than this one! 

  • Cannot ship to: Bermuda, Finland, New Zealand


Price: $1,695.00
Availability: SOLD