Monday, October 27, 2014

Scary Toys

Complete Game of Authors - McLoughlin Brothers, NY (1887)
Toys form the subject of many horror movies. These 1890s examples give us some indication of why.

McLoughlin Brothers, NY (1890).
Cat Holes is a combination tiddlywinks game with points marked on each of the holes. My guess is that the object of the game is to get tiddlywinks in the holes, aiming for the most points.

Scientific American, 26 April 1890.
Back of doll.
Edison's Phonograph doll contained a 2 1/2" ring-shaped wax cylinder. A child could engage the cylinder by turning a small crank in the doll's back. A spring mechanism reset the phonograph.

1893 World's Fair bank.
Put a coin in by Columbus's feet and an Indian Cief pops up!

"Black Dandy" made in Germany (1895).
A ball toss toy in black face. I don't think I could sleep well after looking at that, and I certainly want to piss it off by throwing balls at it.

This papier-mâché version from the same year makes it seem that this was a popular motif. Through modern eyes, I look at this and see horrifying racism.

William Tell Iron Bank (1896)
With this iron bank, you can watch mechanical William Tell shoot an apple off his young son's head, as the boy stands in front of a castle tower. Place your coin on Tell's gun, and Tell will take aim. Put down the boy's right arm, and the apple moves to his head. Press Tell's right foot, and the gun fires the coin, which knocks the apple down, as the coin falls into the castle. Tell's head then falls back in relief! For more pics, click here.

1899 pull toy.
And then there were pull toys...

The above may also be an example of the grossest style of Victorian plaything, taxidermy toys. In those days rocking horses used real horse hair, so I'm sure the above is not a vegan creation to say the least.

Just imagine being tucked into a nursery, surrounded by these playthings, and sweet dreams!

Throughout October 2014, I will be sharing the halloween-themed stories of 1890s London. Check back often!

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