Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bilbo Catcher & Dolls

Hi all,

One of the hardest things I've been trying to locate is a source of 19th century toys. A Bilbo Catcher, cloth balls, leather balls, rings to be rolled with sticks down the street, hopscotch, blocks, dolls, pick-up sticks, table top nine pin, marbles, rocking horses, tops, etc. are some of what I've found. I'm wondering if you, my blog readers have come up with others.

Below is an excerpt from a book written in 1888 based on the letters, poems and selected prose of David Gray. What I find interesting in his list of dolls is "dolls that speak." This has me curious, what did they say? How did they work? Again, I'm reminded that it is not only modern man who was inventive. Here's the excerpt.

For example, there are factories, employing hundreds of work-people, where only dolls are made, and these, chiefly, for the American market. Dolls that speak, and dolls that squeak ; dolls dressed, and dolls in a state of nature; dolls with wax heads, and dolls with porcelain heads; dolls in all stages of dollhood, and acres of the disjecta membra of dolls, I have seen in one of these places;—a perfect doll-chaos, in fact, it seemed, in which hundreds of thousands of little human effigies were getting themselves created, in order to be dandled and kissed, and, finally, to have their heads smashed, by children over the sea. I could not help thinking, in the course of my visit to this factory, what an immense amount of solid pleasure it was organizing, with its hundreds of busy hands, and how brightly it contrasted with another far greater workshop we had seen, in which Germany was having its cannons cast, to murder people withal.

End of quote

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