Christmas wind-up toy game
Ives Walking Santa

A rare mechanical Ives Walking Santa Claus from the 1870s.

Besides the magic of the decorated Christmas tree, children have always looked forward to the toys left beneath the tree. For the boys there might be vehicles, locomotives, soldiers and drums. Besides a doll, a girl might receive a doll house, tea sets or a toy kitchen. There were also animals on wheels, Noah’s arks, teddy bears, and wondrous wind-ups which spun and danced, moved and flew when a key was turned! Boys and girls loved games too and often they were chosen for lessons of history, geography and other nations.

Strauss wind up sleigh

A rare Strauss wind-up Santa Sleigh toy

Toys were a reflection of the times in form and manufacture. The early toys were made of cast iron and tin, the paper goods hand colored, the vehicles horse drawn and the dolls all prim and proper with their many petticoats. As times changed and manufacturing improved, printing presses produced the color, and toys were made of painted or paper covered wood, stamped steel and metal alloys. Trains, autos and planes appeared, also electric and battery operated toys, construction and other building toys and dolls reflecting the more modern times. Games became more sophisticated featuring popular culture, celebrities and ideas.

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