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Steampunk Graf Zeppelin

30 March 2016
Metalcraft Zeppelin Construction Set toy of the Graf Zeppelin made in 1928 from the Wolfsonian–FIU Mitchell Wolsonian Jr. Collection—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Metalcraft Zeppelin Construction Set toy of the Graf Zeppelin made in 1928 from the Wolfsonian–FIU Mitchell Wolsonian Jr. Collection—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

This isn’t steampunk but it is a model kit from 1928 when items were made of metal, wood and leather. This kit, by Metalcraft, is about the size of a loaf of bread, all metal and the box it came in is the size of four cigarette packs laid in a square. It’s impressive with its impressionist like appearance, is it not? Thanks to the WolfsonianFIU (a museum of contemporary art in SoBe).

Metalcraft Zeppelin Construction Set toy of the Graf Zeppelin made in 1928 from the Wolfsonian–FIU Mitchell Wolsonian Jr. Collection—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Metalcraft Zeppelin Construction Set toy of the Graf Zeppelin made in 1928 from the Wolfsonian–FIU Mitchell Wolsonian Jr. Collection—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Metalcraft Zeppelin Construction Set toy of the Graf Zeppelin made in 1928 from the Wolfsonian–FIU Mitchell Wolsonian Jr. Collection—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Metalcraft Zeppelin Construction Set toy of the Graf Zeppelin made in 1928 from the Wolfsonian–FIU Mitchell Wolsonian Jr. Collection—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Metalcraft Zeppelin Construction Set toy of the Graf Zeppelin made in 1928 from the Wolfsonian–FIU Mitchell Wolsonian Jr. Collection—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Metalcraft Zeppelin Construction Set toy of the Graf Zeppelin made in 1928 from the Wolfsonian–FIU Mitchell Wolsonian Jr. Collection—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 March 2016 01:21

    When I was a kid I had a number of tin airplanes and electric trains. The only thing plastic around the house was electric outlets and switch place covers made of Bakelite.

    The tin was printed in colors and details, then bent into the final shape for assembly. The whole toy was held together with little tabs that fit into slots. However, I never had a Zeppelin. I like this one. Quite the collector’s item.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      31 March 2016 07:53

      It has its own charm and definitely made in the age of metal. Wasn’t the early plastic called something like melenite?

      • 1 April 2016 07:58

        Melanite is a mineral of the garnet group.

        The first plastic was invented by Leo Baekeland in 1907. He coined the term “plastic.” His plastic invention was named “Bakelite.” It became popular because it was relatively inexpensive, nonflammable, non-conducting, and infinitely moldable. It was hard and tended to be brittle, so not very good for making toys.

      • travelforaircraft permalink*
        1 April 2016 19:16

        Right you are and on both counts. Bakelite strikes me as an odd name. Garnets always have me thinking of Tsavorite and its gorgeous green color 🙂

  2. david lord permalink
    30 March 2016 06:29

    was wondering the size? I have a large collection of tin toy airplanes from the late 20’s to mid 40’s….and have a couple Metalcraft ones; a single wing Spirit of St. Louis and a biplane probably assembled somewhere in this world by a young boy who was mechanically inclined! Would love to find one of these Zepplins. I really like the way it is displayed too..

  3. david lord permalink
    30 March 2016 06:34

    ps. would LOVE to see this Museum too! I’m only 1/4 way through the website collection! Wow!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      31 March 2016 07:51

      I’ll write an email to you about one of the cast statues there…the model was extremely popular and is on several civic or civic-like statues across the country. It’s a great museum.

      • travelforaircraft permalink*
        31 March 2016 07:52

        It’s not too big–about the length of a football.

  4. shortfinals permalink
    30 March 2016 06:55

    This could have come straight from a cover of ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’, Joe! Very steampunk…..

  5. daftasabrush46 permalink
    30 March 2016 14:11

    I still look through brocantes, braderies, and vide greniers, for jewels like this. Before leaving Northern Ireland for the wild north of France, off the tourist track, though not far from Lille, I used traipse through car boot and jumble sales, and many charity shops looking for little treasures like this. Found easier to spot here in France, where folks hang onto stuff like this for donkeys years before reselling/throwing them out. If I only had the money and space I could fill the apartment with wonderful, and quirky finds like this.

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