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.

B.F. Goodrich Tire Factory:

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  • This factory opened in 1937.  B.F. Goodrich produced automotive tires in this facility, which reached peak production in 1979, at which time up to twelve thousand tires were produced per day by over fifteen hundred employees. By 1986, they closed,  unable to  compete with new long-lasting radial tires and foreign competition. 
  • The building is 1,200,000 square feet, and the Treasure Tour takes up 100,000 square feet - the majority of its second floor.  The complex has twenty-three acres of roof.  Nearby is the Philadelphia Expo Center, where the annual National Dog Show has been presented for many years. That building is the former site of a school locker factory. 
  • Benjamin Franklin Goodrich (1841 to 1888).  Orphaned by the age of eight, Goodrich lived with an uncle until he went off to college.  He graduated from the Cleveland (Ohio) Medical College, now Case Western Reserve University of Medicine, with a medical degree.  He served in the Union Army during the Civil War, then worked the oil fields of Western Pennsylvania for a time before he signed a licensing agreement with Charles Goodyear and entered the rubber business.  The small town of Akron, Ohio, offered Goodrich $13,600 to locate his business in their town.  He accepted the offer and opened his doors in 1870. Goodrich's rubber factory rarely saw a profit during his lifetime, although he did create a cotton-lined rubber fire hose to replace the fire department's leather hoses that had a tendency to freeze in winter, making them ineffectual against actual fires. From hoses, Goodrich scientists developed pneumatic tires - first introduced pneumatics were introduced to the world in 1888, the year of Goodrich's death, and Goodrich made the first American tires in 1896.  They replaced the solid rubber tires sold that point which proved damaging to roads and much less comfortable for people traveling on them.  Goodrich scientists continued their experiments over the decades, creating synthetic rubbers beginning in the late-1930's and astronaut suits for NASA in the 1960's.  By 1988 they completely divested from the tire industry and moved into chemical production with a specialization in aeronautics.  In 1994, the Michelin company bought the Uniroyal - B.F. Goodrich tire business and continues to produce tires with their iconic branding.

Goat Carts:

  • 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 Traveling Fixit Shop
    • The Big Catch Fish Company Wagon
    • The Big Top Circus Wagon
    • The Wells Fargo Stagecoach
    • The Glacier Ice Company Wagon
    • The Dog Catcher CD Wagon
    • The Eagle Coach Line Passenger Wagon
    • The Penn Coach Freight Wagon
    • The Panhandler Car
    • The Dead End Hearse Wagon
    • The CD Gunsmith
    • The Farm Fresh Milk Delivery Wagon
  • 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 the  presentation of his tiny vehicles.


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, the rise of phonograph and radio, and the economic collapse of 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 their attention to dominating the jukebox industry, using 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 their own 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 production into the 1970’s.
  • The Statesman (on display at the American Treasure Tour) was introduced in the year 1970, only three years before Wurlitzer shut down operation in the United States.


Excelsior Accordiana Accordion:

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  • The world’s first accordion was introduced in 1822 by Friedrich Buschmann, a Berlin, Germany-based innovator and musician. 
  • Seven years later, the Viennese entrepreneur Cyrillus Damian christened it the 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 production into 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 of writing and performing humorous parodies and comedic songs, Al has incorporated the accordion to great effect, notably in the most famous musical style to incorporate the accordion: the polka.


Rudi, the Wannamaker Bear:

  • Our large Rudi stuffed animal was created as a promotion and part of a Christmas display for the Wanamaker’s department store in the mid-1980’s.  The large Rudi drew attention to smaller, more affordable and equally cuddly Rudi’s, designed to sell to loyal customers during the holiday season.
  • The first American maker of teddy bears was the Ideal Toy Company in 1902, inspired by a Teddy Roosevelt hunt. The Governor of Mississippi invited Roosevelt, an avid hunter, to join him on a bear hunt in his home state.  Roosevelt happily agreed, but after three days had no luck in securing his own kill.  The Governor, not wanting the President to leave empty handed, had trackers find an old, injured bear.  They tied it to a tree and invited Roosevelt to kill it.  Roosevelt deemed this highly unsportsmanlike.  Although the bear was later put down due to its injuries, Roosevelt's act of mercy became national news and a creative couple from Brooklyn, the Michtoms, asked for the President's permission to name the stuffed animals they created after him, and the "Teddy" bear was introduced the next year.  Another company came up with the idea of the Teddy bear shortly thereafter - the German Steiff Company, effectively ensuring the international love of these wonderful companions for children of all ages ever since.  
  • 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, both of which were brought to Philadelphia after their debuts in the St. Louis-based Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904, celebrating the centennial of Thomas Jefferson's famous acquisition of land from Napoleon that more than doubled the size of the United States at the time. “Meet you at the eagle” became a standard phrase for shoppers. 
    • The Louisiana Purchase Exposition was a significant event in American history, as were many of the world fairs of the era, beginning with the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, then the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.  These world fairs were an opportunity not only for Americans to travel across their country to great events, but a chance to show both our own citizens and international visitors the great innovations occurring here.  Inventions that were first introduced on a national level at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition include the radiophone - an early version of wireless communication - and the fax machine.  X-rays were also demonstrated for fascinated attendees.  The first airship competition in the United States happened in St. Louis that year, with dirigibles (a fancy name for blimps) dominating a field in which airplanes would soon dominate. This was also where Dr. Pepper soft drink was introduced to the world, as were peanut butter, cotton candy and, legend has it, both hamburgers AND hot dogs.  Life for everyone was about to change....  


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. It is now owned by CEC Entertainment, with its headquarters located in Irving, Texas.  
  • Nolan Bushnell (born in 1943) attended college at the University of Utah School of Engineering.  As he learned about computer software, he worked summers at the Lagoon Amusement Park.  There, he developed a love of games that he retained throughout his life. After graduating, he moved to California and co-founded Atari with Ted Dabney in 1972.  Within a few years, their tiny company introduced a game for home use called Pong.  Around the same time, two other innovators invited Bushnell to invest in their start-up company and become a one-third owner.  He said no.  Their names were Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and the company they started was Apple Computers.  Atari was then bought out by Warner Communications (now Time Warner) and became hugely successful.  Bushnell had already established Chuck E. Cheese by the time he was forced out of his Atari due to disputes with Warner.  He was able to buy back his family-oriented pizza joint, and let his own imagination run wild.
  • When Bushnell came up with the idea for his restaurant, video games were regarded much differently than they are now. In fact, they were largely considered nothing more than distractions for adults at pool halls and bars, and were rarely found in kid-friendly destinations.  Bushnell's love of Walt Disney most certainly inspired his decision to include his animatronic hosts/performers.  He planned to name his restaurant Coyote Pizza because he thought he bought an animatronic coyote.  When it turned out to be a rodent, he came up with Rick Rat's Pizza. His marketing people convinced him instead to go with Chuck E. Cheese, and that stuck. His decision to offer pizza developed because he felt there were, "not too many ways to screw it up." Chuck E. Cheese has since gone through different owners, its menu has expanded, and it has been franchised across the world. There are currently over five hundred restaurants.
  • The animatronics shows that occur in most Chuck E. Cheese's have performances by some pretty special characters, including:
    • Chuck E. Cheese, the mouse leader of the band and the inspiration for the theme of the place.
    • Helen Henny, the lovely crooning chicken.
    • Mr. Munch, the keyboardist who also happens to be a purple dinosaur-looking guy who happens to be a full fourteen years older than Barney!
    • Jasper T. Jowls, the guitarist (who is not hanging out with our other guys in the Toy Box).
    • Pasqually E. Pieplate, the percussionist (who is also absent in the Toy Box).
  • The first ever electric-powered animatronics, and the inspiration for every animatronic ever since, were first introduced in the 1880’s and placed in department store windows.  They were originally created as a way to tantalize passersby with the wonders of electricity, an incredibly new technology at the time that would compel people to stop and gawk.  Then, hopefully, to go inside and spend their money.


Fokker Tri-Plane Model Airplane:

  • Three hundred hobbyist-built model airplanes hang suspended from the ceiling throughout the Toy Box, representing many different styles, sizes, and designs of airplanes - some real, some fantasy. The majority of them have flown, with a few never having been intended to achieve flight. A number of them have had their engines removed prior to being placed in the collection as well, likely with the intention of serving again in other models. 
  • 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 copied it to create their own triplanes.  The word "triplane" indicates how many vertically stacked wings are on the plane, with biplanes having only two.  The triplane is said to have had improved lift and maneuverability that allowed it to get in the air quickly and be more effective during dogfights. Their disadvantage was that the extra weight of the third wing tended to slow down the plane. Renowned German ace pilot Baron Manfred von Richthofen famously flew a red Fokker during World War I.  While flying it, he brought down 19 (of his total 80) enemy flyers.  He was piloting a Fogger Triplane when he himself was shot down and died, 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.  Aeolian was a major producer of
  • 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.

Mechanical Musical Toys

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  • Mechanical Musical Instruments are highly sophisticated, expensive and complicated machines. Of course, affordable toys were also produced that mimicked their technology. This display includes six wonderful pieces priced affordably for recreational use.  Children and adults alike could blow into a mouth piece as they cranked the paper roll to make a melody!
  • The Rolmonica is the oldest piece on display and dates to the late-20‘s, which is made of an early plastic called Bakelite. The Emenee Roll Harmonica, the QRS Clarola, and the QRS Play-A-Sax, represent decades of fun. They all require removable paper rolls, except for the 1960‘s-era Kenner         Play-A-Tune, which has flexible plastic cards for the songs.
  • The Kenner Play-A-Tune came with twenty different choices of songs. Clearly, Kenner created these with children in mind; however, there can be no doubt they appealed to children of all ages. The songs included are:
    • Happy Birthday
    • Farmer in the Dell
    • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 
    • Frere Jacques
    • Skip to My Lou 
    • Polly, Woolly, Doodle
    • Clementine 
    • Camptown Races
    • America 
    • I’ve Been Working on the Railroad 
    • Jingle Bells
    • O Susanna
    • My Bonnie 
    • Aulde Lang Syne
    • Augustine
    • London Bridge
    • Home on the Range
    • Jolly Good Fellow 
    • Red River Valley 
    • Way Down Upon the Swanee River


Die-Cast Cars

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  • Scale model cars and trucks have been popular collectibles since the dawn of the automotive era.  Early die-cast cars were rarely intended for popular use, but were instead created as prototypes for future production or samples to inspire advance sales at automobile dealerships.
  • The popular scale for die-cast cars is 1:18.  That means that two-thirds of an inch on the model represents one foot on the life-sized vehicle.
  • 1:18 scale is very popular because it allows for great detail, while still being relatively small.


Wedding Central Really Big Shoe

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  • The Wedding Central cable television channel debuted on August 18, 2009.  It was a spin-off of the Women’s Entertainment (WE) channel, part of the Time-Warner broadcasting family. Their inaugural program was an “If the Shoe Fits” celebration: Twenty brides-to-be in NYC raced from Times Square to Madison Square, where this shoe waited for them. It was filled with human-sized shoes. The first future bride to find a pair that fit her feet won $5,000, a case of sparkling wine, custom invitations provided by Cecil New York, a gourmet wedding cake designed by Ron Ben-Israel and other wedding-related prizes. The winner's name was Stacey Steele. Khloe Kardashian hosted the event and very likely touched this very shoe! 
    • Madison Square Park – New York City (At the convergence of 5th Avenue and Broadway, north of the Flatiron Building at 23rd Street) is where Madison Square Garden was located until 1925, at which point it moved northwest to its current location at 34th Street and 7th Avenue.  In 1842, the New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club played recreationally in the park prior to moving to Hoboken where they had their first official game in 1846.  Just north of the park, the Fifth Avenue Hotel existed from 1859 to 1908 – the first hotel built with elevators.  It was one of the city's more luxurious luxury hotels and hosted luminaries including Presidents Chester Arthur and Ulysses Grant.  Troops were bivouacked in the park during the Draft Riots of 1863.  From 1876 to 1882, the arm of the Statue of Liberty was displayed in the park as public efforts were made to collect the necessary donations to afford the base upon which the American symbol now stands on Liberty Island.  Later, Madison Square Park was the terminus of the Vanderbilt-owned New York and Harlem Railroad.  A large station was built for this which P.T. Barnum eventually converted into a hippodrome, once Vanderbilt moved his trains to Grand Central Station. 
  • The Wedding Central cable channel was started by Kim Martin, the producer of such reality tv shoes as Bridezillas and My Fair Wedding.  (It was a spin-off of WE tv – Women’s Entertainment, and before that Romance Classics.  WE tv is a spin-off of AMC) Wedding Central aired twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week from August 18, 2009 until July 1, 2011, when it was pulled off the air due to low interest.  Its entire lifespan was only twenty-three months.  A sad loss for wedding lovers. 

Safety Bicycle

  • The first successful rear-chain driven bicycle, or safety bike, was introduced in 1885.  It quickly replaced the much more dangerous ‘ordinary,’ or ‘penny-farthing’ bicycle with an            extremely large front wheel and a small rear wheel.  When pneumatic tires were introduced in 1888, they provided a smooth, comfortable and safe method of transportation. They quickly became extremely popular with men and women alike. 
  • Susan B. Anthony, the famous suffragette and feminist, called the safety bike a “freedom machine” since it provided women with a way to escape the confines of the home and gave them a sense of personal independence.

Comic Foregrounds

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  • Comic foregrounds were originally called the longwinded “Processes of Taking Photographic Pictures.”  Their inventor,  Cassius Coolidge, received Patent #149,724 for them on April 14, 1874. They consist of a flat board with a hole cut into a scene so  people could place their head in it for comedic affect. 
  • Cassius Coolidge (1844 to 1934), the creator of comic foregrounds, lived in upstate New York.  During his life, Coolidge ran a bank, owned a drug store, ran a newspaper, worked on a farm, and had numerous other professions.  He is best remembered today for a series of paintings he created of dogs doing things dogs don’t do, such as play poker.  Of course, the Treasure Tour celebrates these delightful paintings with our own interpretation of life-sized (stuffed animal) dogs playing poker, alongside an image of the most famous of Coolidge's paintings.  In 1894, Coolidge first delved into the world of anthropomorphic dogs doing things humans do with a painting he named Poker Game.  In 2015, the original sold at auction for $658,000.  Within ten years, Coolidge painted sixteen more of these iconic images on contract by the Brown & Bigelow Company to advertise cigars.  The most famous of these is represented at the Tour, A Friend In Need.  The dogs smoke, they drink alcohol, they gamble, and yes, they cheat as well. An eighteenth painting was also created in 1910 called Looks Like Four of a Kind.  There's no denying these images have left an indelible mark on American culture.  And, based on their monetary value, it is impossible to deny that they could easily be described as priceless.

Warwick Hotel (Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia) Crystal Chandelier

  • This beautiful crystal chandelier once hung in the lobby of the historic Warwick Hotel, located on Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, prior to its removal to the American Treasure Tour.  
    • Rittenhouse Square is one of the original five public spaces included in William Penn's design for his "greene countrie towne." An element of Quaker religion prohibits the celebration of individual people, so Penn originally named this park the romantic "Southwest Square," it was changed to its current name in 1825, long after the influence of the Quaker city founders had passed.  It was named after American patriot, scientist, astronomer, papermaker, clockmaker, and all around nice guy (we'd like to think, anyway) David Rittenhouse (1732 to 1796). Rittenhouse was the treasurer of Pennsylvania from 1777 through to 1789, when the Constitution became the law of the land. He then became the first director of the United States Mint. Despite his numerous accomplishments, Rittenhouse the man is largely forgotten while his eponymous Square has become a coveted section of the city in which to live.
  • Designed in the English Renaissance style, the Warwick opened in 1926 and quickly became a draw for celebrities visiting the city. Luminaries including Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Jack Benny, and Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower have stayed there.  It is the last of three "Grande Dame" hotels once located in Philadelphia.  Over three hundred rooms are available for rental or residency.  Although the Treasure Tour has no affiliation with the Warwick beyond our pleasure at displaying their former chandelier, we are happy to help anyone looking to stay in luxury at an ideal location in the City of Brotherly Love:
  • In 2005, the Warwick received a complete interior makeover. Over one hundred rooms were converted into residences, during which time the main lobby was altered.  The large chandelier now displayed in our entranceway was removed and replaced with an enlarged revolving door access area, and text was written in large font on either side of the reception area. Other crystal fixtures, placed in ceilings along public hallways, were also removed and brought to the American Treasure Tour for potential future use.

Neon Signs

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  • Neon gas was discovered in 1898 and named after the Greek word neos, meaning “new gas.” It is obtained by liquefaction of air, which is then separated from other gases and placed in hollow glass tubes. When other gases and chemicals are added, different colors are created.
  • Neon’s natural color is red. When Mercury is added it turns blue. Carbon dioxide makes it white, Helium makes it gold.
  • The first neon signs used for advertisement in the United States were displayed in a Los Angeles Packard dealership in 1923. They cost $24,000 and drew large crowds.

Pep Boys

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  • The Pep Auto Supply Company was founded in Philadelphia in 1921 by four friends:  Emanuel (Manny) Rosenfeld, Maurice (Moe) Strauss, W. Graham (Jack) Jackson, and Moe Radavitz. Each man invested $200 into the fledgling company, although Radavitz cashed out soon after.
  • Named after the Pep Valve grinding compound, the famous caricature of the Boys was commissioned in 1923, two years before Jackson left the company to be replaced with an image of his cousin, Isadore (Izzy).  Izzy didn't last long with the firm, either, leaving in Jack continues to be represented at their approximately 900 shops nationwide.
  • Manny “lost” his cigar during 1990’s Great American Smokeout.