The Toy Box at the American Treasure Tour is the ideal destination for anyone looking to explore an amazing and unpredictable collection of popular culture artifacts. Our guided tram ride provides visitors with a chance to enjoy a visual and auditory experience unlike anything else. Sit back and allow us to drive as we take you on a journey through America's ingenious and creative past. We will share fun and interesting stories about early amusement parks, where seatbelts on rollercoasters were not yet required. Same with early automobiles. We have electric animated store displays, old advertisements, pedal cars, movie posters,and many, many other wonderful pieces you may even remember from your own childhood (regardless of your age!).
We provide an opportunity for visitors to explore parts of the collection on their own in the Toy Box, too. Take a stroll past the amazing cars and explore their stories using our QR Code readers. You can also take a moment to delve into the past for a number of other pieces in this section of the tour that we affectionately call Miscellany. Enjoy.
- True to their name, Goat Carts were designed to be the right size for goats to pull along to give a delight to seated young passengers. Now, many of the carts we have on display here were clearly not designed to have children sit in. The seats are too small for even the tiniest people to sit in. These were designed instead to have children pull along through parades. There are numerous different carts on display throughout the collection, including those lined up against the wall, and others scatters throughout the Toy Box that may not be quite as visible, including:
- The Penn Coach Freight Car
- The Gunsmith
- Our collection of carts was created by Pennsylvania-based craftsmen during the early 2000’s. A number of them have been autographed on the bottoms of the carriages by Charles “H” from Coopersburg, PA. His craftsmanship is exceptional, and his sense of humor evident in their presentation.
Wurlitzer Statesman Jukebox:
- The Wurlitzer Company has a definitive place in the collections of the American Treasure Tour, specifically for their production of nickelodeons and band organs. They dominated the automatic music industry through the early 20th century with their production of orchestrions, photoplayers and theater organs. Talking pictures and the Great Depression came close to forcing Wurlitzer out of business but, in 1933, they introduced their own line of “coin phonographs,” aka jukeboxes. Within a few years, they stopped producing automatic music machines entirely, and concentrated much attention on dominating the jukebox industry with the 78 r.p.m. records that were popular during the first half of the twentieth century.
- Wurlitzer's position as the number one seller of jukeboxes came to an end not long after the introduction of 45 r.p.m. records in 1949. Their primary competitor, the Seeburg Company, first popularized jukeboxes using the smaller, better-sounding 45's and secured their advantage for the remainder of the jukebox era. Wurlitzer did adapt, though, and produced their own famous styles of jukeboxes, and continued into the 1970’s.
- The Statesman was introduced in the year 1970, only three years before Wurlitzer shut down operation in the United States.
Excelsior Accordiana Accordion:
- The world’s first accordion was introduced in 1822 by Friedrich Buschmann, a Berlin, Germany-based musician.
- Seven years later, the Viennese Cyrillus Damian gave it the name accordion. “Accord” is the French word for chord.
- These portable wind instruments consist of two reed organs connected by a manually-folding bellows. The keyboard on the right side plays the melody notes, while the buttons on the left sound bass notes and full chords.
- The Excelsior Accordion Company was established in New York in 1924 and expanded to Italy after World War II.
- Accordions have been incorporated in music from virtually all musical genres over the years; however, no musician has used them to greater effect since the 1980's than 'Weird Al' Yankovic. During his impressive career writing and performing humorous parodies and comic songs, he has incorporated the accordion to great effect.
Rudi, the Wannamaker Bear:
- Our large Rudi was created as part of a Christmas display at Wanamaker’s department store in the mid-1980’s to present smaller, cuddlier Rudi’s to sell to their customers.
- The first American maker of teddy bears was the Ideal ToyCompany in 1903, inspired by a Teddy Roosevelt hunt.
- John Wanamaker opened Philadelphia’s first department store in 1876. It was the first in the nation with electrical illumination (1878) and price tags on merchandise. In 1911, he added the second-largest pipe organ in the world to its Grand Court, as well as a huge bronze eagle. “Meet you at the eagle” became a standard phrase for shoppers.
Chuck E. Cheese & Friends:
- Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre was developed in 1977 by San Jose, California-native Nolan Bushnell, co-founder of the Atari video game company. It was the first restaurant to offer food, video games, amusement rides, and animatronics.
- The animatronics show is hosted by notable characters Chuck E. Cheese (the mouse leader of the band), Helen Henny (the lovely crooning chicken), and Mr. Munch (the purple dinosaur-looking guy who is a full fourteen years older than Barney!).
- Electric-powered animatronics were first introduced in the 1880’s and placed in department store windows to tantalize passersby with the wonders of electricity!
Fokker Tri-Plane Model Airplane:
- Look above you! Well over 250 hobbyist-built model airplanes hang from the ceiling throughout the Toy Box.
- The first remote-controlled model aircraft appeared in the late 19th-century. They were miniature hydrogen-filled airships.
- The British-made Sopwith Tri-Plane entered the air above World War 1-era Europe in 1917. The German company Fokker (pronounced foe-cur) Flugzeugwerke (pronounced flug-tsoog-vurk-eh) captured one and designed their own. Renowned ace pilot Baron Manfred von Richthofen flew a red Fokker in which he brought down 19 (of his total 80) enemy flyers. He died in one himself, on April 19, 1918. He was only 25 years old.
Wilcox & White Player Organ:
- Wilcox & White was founded by Henry Kirk Wilcox and Horace C. White in the Connecticut town of Meridien in 1877. Their pneumatic self-playing reed organs became widely regarded as the best in the market. The company became so popular that they were forced to expand the size of their factory.
- Wilcox & White also produced reproducing pianos (machines that puncture holes in a paper roll as it is being played to best-replicate the nuances of each musician) andpiano players (a device that is pushed up to a traditional piano that presses the keys directly when pumped, similar to a player piano).
- Horace Wilcox also helped establish the Aeolian Company.
- Home organs and player pianos proved to be highly popular in the days before affordable phonographs and quality recording technology were developed.
Grovers Mill Alien:
- Grovers Mill is a community near Princeton, New Jersey that became famous after Orson Welles depicted it as the site of a landing of hostile, otherworldly aliens in his October 30th, 1938 radio dramatization of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. Legend has it that panicked Americans believed an actual alien invasion was happening. True or not, it made Orson Welles a household name and Grovers Mill forever etched in the American psyche as a sight of extraterrestrial activity.
- H.G. Wells originally published The War of the Worlds in 1897, serialized in the British Pearson's Magazine and in the United States in Cosmopolitan. Told in the first person, it is widely considered the first time an author depicted relations between humans and hostile alien forces from outer space. At the time of its publication, there was no category in literature for science fiction, so it was labeled as 'scientific romance.' The story has proven widely popular and has never been out of print, while numerous film - and, of course, radio - interpretations have been created over the years.
- The first recorded sighting of an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) was on March 1, 1639, by the Puritan John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when a mysterious light shot about in the night sky above a swamp near his home.