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The History of Pull along Toys

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					                         The History of Pull-along Toys.


Go right back to the beginning of civilised man. Children would have played hide and seek, played
pretend fights and imitated their parents by throwing sticks as spears and throwing stones up into
the air. (the origination of Jacks or five stones).
They used the materials found around them to play with. These games were for amusement and to
develop the strength and skills necessary to survive as hunter gatherers.
We can only guess how these young children played as no toys from this period have been found,
nor cave paintings recording children at play. Today, play is a basic instinct of the young of most
animals.

Imagine a father pulling along a large bundle of firewood with a length of vine or strip of leather. His
small child is tired, so he sits the child on top of the bundle of firewood and drags them both home.
An older child sees this and copies their father dragging friends around the camp, perhaps having
races.
Instead of pulling friends around, they put stones on top of bundles of firewood (or a handy logs)
and play a game of who can pull the heaviest load over the longest distance.
The fathers watch them playing and then use the idea to transport heavy objects. Heavy tree trunks
could be used to build bigger and better shelters for the camp.

By the time of the Stone Age (8000BC), stone axes were made that could cut tree trunks into logs to
be used as a high fence around the camp to stop hungry animals from attacking them.
Small sharp stone knives could be used to make simple toys and games, but nothing remains as
they have rotted away.

The first recorded use of wood cut and shaped into an object was an Egyptian mummy case found
in a 6000 BC tomb. By 5000 BC, it was recorded that wooden rollers were used to move heavy
objects.

Now it is quite possible that rollers and wheels were first used in toys. In 2 recent historical
landmarks the toy was invented first. A toy steam engine was demonstrated in Hyde Park
(London) well before Stephenson constructed the ‘Rocket’. Powered flying model aeroplanes were
sold in Paris and one was bought by the uncle of the Wright brothers when they were boys. Many
years later, in 1903, they made the first powered flight.

In 4000 BC clay was first used for making bricks and pottery in Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Sumeria
(Iran). Now, for the first time, we have a material which will withstand the ravages of time. Many
examples of clay toys have been dug up giving us a record of the toys used by children thousands
of years ago.
The potters job was to make figures for ritual or ornamental purposes and it would be natural for
them to make small clay toys looking like their own pet animals. Their children would push them
along the ground and it would not be long before somebody tied a piece of vine onto the toy and
pulled it along.
It would be simple for the potter to make small solid clay wheels and fix them onto the clay animal
with bone pins. So we have the first Pull-Along Toy.
Was this the first use of wheels.
By the time of the Copper Age 3000BC, solid wooden wheels and axles were used. There are
records of 2 and 4 wheeled carts pulled by Oxen and Asses in Sumeria in the period 3000 - 2750
BC. Many model carts have been dug up.

The period of the Egyptian Pharaoh’s 3100 - 30 BC has left a large amount of information on how
adults and children, both rich and poor, lived and enjoyed their leisure time.
Wood was a very scarce material in Egypt and only highly skilled craftsmen could work with it. So
wooden objects were only for the rich. Examples of their toys have been found in tombs inside the
Pyramids.
By 2000 BC the Egyptians could make furniture accurately using mortise and tenon joints held
together with dowels and glue.

The siege of Troy was ended after 10 years in 1250 BC when the attacking Mycenaenans tricked
the Trojans by getting them to pull a large wooden horse into their city. The Trojans thought the
horse was a gift, but unfortunately for them, it was full of Mycenaenan soldiers. The horse was on
wheels. a giant pull-along toy. Small models must have been made of it.

The Egyptians made wooden animals with moving parts. 2 examples from 1300 BC have been
found; A mouse with movable jaw and tail and a cat with movable jaw, bronze teeth and crystal eyes.

During the Bronze Age in 1000 BC, Carts and chariots were made with metal wheels rotating on
fixed axles. By the time of the Iron Age 0 AD, the Egyptians were turning wood on foot operated
lathes to make furniture legs.

The Roman Empire fell in 476 AD. After the Golden Age of the Greeks and Romans came a period
called the Dark Ages. During this time many towns and villages were burned and sacked by
marauding soldiers. There are few written records with no reference to toys of the period. Although
the children of this period would not have had the luxuries of previous times, they still would have
played with toys. It is a basic instinct.

By the start of the Middle Ages, there are records of toys and toy makers. It is thought that William
the Conquer brought toy soldiers to England. War games were part of the education of the young of
the rich nobility. Many 13th century models of knights on horseback have been found made of clay
and tin. No pull-along toys have been found but there is a drawing of a hobby horse on the edge of a
French Psalter c1300AD. Hobby horses would have been popular as their fathers would often be on
horseback.

In an 1520 illustration of a nursery, a wooden 4 wheeled babywalker is shown.

By the 16th & 17th centuries, toys have become a large industry with toys exported from Germany
to the rest of the world.

				
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