Headed to the Upper East Side yesterday to pick up my Craigslist-find Paradigm surround speakers (which rock BTW), and stopped by a thrift store that I haven't visited in a while.
Last time there I saw a great vintage wooden toy but since it was pricey--and I wasn't sure I could eBay it for more than the sticker--I let it go. In the succeeding months though I couldn't forget the thing, so I took a long shot that it might still be there.
Went in. Looked around. Didn't see it. Deflated.
I noticed the same volunteer clerk from previous and asked her about the toy. She lit up, recognized me instantly and was overjoyed that I came back since the manager wanted her to throw it away. She knew how great it was though and just stashed it in the bottom of a stuffed animal bin.
Heart-warming, no? I even got a discount.
Here it is:
A child-size rotary-phone from the Brio Company in Sweden, founded in 1884 and still active today (in fact our friend's kid has a Brio toy crane that he has to fight me for whenever we visit). It's about 3 1/2" tall, 4" wide. I can't find date information but judging by the typography on the Brio label, I'd guess mid-60s. It has a nice weight, makes a satisfying light clunking sound when you replace the receiver, and the rotary dial is spring-loaded and returns to the start position when released.
Anyway I'm keeping it. I tried using a rotary phone a few years ago and it was exhausting. We were a hardier breed back then.
I love the idea of a toy representing something that has evolved into a new form. It's original purpose was to familiarize a child with adult tools, but now it would just be mystifying. Maybe when kids visit they can pretend they're in Madmen or something.