Watrous Mfg. Co., East Hampton, Connecticut 1880s - 1930s. David Watson Watrous was one of the founders in 1851 of the East Hampton Bell Company. He left in 1860 and founded the company Clark and Watrous, and then in 1865 created D. W. Watrous & Co., which later became Watrous Manufacturing Co.. The company created sleigh bells, and bell toys.
By the early 1900s Watrous Manufacturing Co. had developed a distinct style. Their toys often utilized nickel-plated or coppered steel frames and nickel-plated steel wheels. Flattened cast iron figures often move to strike a bell or chime. The mechanisms were frequently exposed. Parts were often lacquered over the nickel-plating, which gave the paint an iridescent quality. The Watrous Manufacturing Co. became associated with two neighboring companies.
For a while Watrous Manufacturing Co. and N. N. Hill Brass Co. combined their catalogs into one while they were both branches of the short lived, 1903 - 1907, toy manufacturers consortium, National Novelty Corporation. The Watrous family was also associated with Gong Bell Manufacturing Co. In 1912 Clifford M. Watrous became general manager at Gong Bell Manufacturing Co. In 1921 he patented the popular Playphone 600. D. W. Watrous died in 1918. His son John Lazarus Watrous ran the company till his death in 1923. The family owned company stock was sold to the Gong Bell Manufacturing Co. in 1923. Watrous Manufacturing Co. toys are often incorrectly attributed to N. N. Hill Brass Co. or Gong Bell Manufacturing Co.. In addition to the bell toys, chime toys or gong toys, the company also produced an erector set called Modelit around 1916, and a mechanical tin and wood airplanes toy called Flying Areoplanes.
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