Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tin Toy Alley

Ah, simpler times.

Your Barker longs for simpler times, ladies and gentlemen. Before the world got wise and cynical, before the internet, a time when there were simple amusements, simple attractions, simple rides, simple games, simple toys...simple rubes who could simply be taken for every dollar in their pockets!

Today The Barker's gonna dig down real deep inside his vast footlocker and unearth something which will take you back to a simpler time, a time where craftsmanship and artistry turned simple cheap metal and paint into complex wonders which brought sparkles to many a child's eye!

Tin toys were staples in toyboxes around the world for many decades. Japan was one of the largest producers of the world's tin toys from the late 1890s up until World War II - after the war, a huge tin toy resurgence began in Occupied Japan, which lasted until the late 1960s, when cheap plastic crap became the norm. Tin toys were mass-produced in assembly lines, but were assembled by hand from many individually stamped parts (some toys were made from upwards of 300 parts!), so there was a personal touch behind each toy which was all but lost when plastic entered the picture.

The following nostalgic images are from the book Robots, Spaceships, & Other Tin Toys: The Teruhisa Kitahara Collection, published by Taschen. The photographs are by Yukio Shimizu.

Although the majority of the book has a Science Fiction theme, your Barker has chosen select pictures of toys with a carnival theme to share with you. I'm afraid the creaky photographic capture and reproductive computer device that The Barker uses can't do the pictures justice, as they're much more striking on paper.

Airship Ferris Wheel produced in the 1920s, unknown maker

Double Ferris Wheel with Swing-boats, 1950s, made by Asahi

Merry-Go-Round, 1950s, made by Line Mar

Coney Island Rocket Ride, 1950s, made by Alps

If you enjoyed this brief trip to the past, and are interested in seeing more crazy tin toys from yesteryear (it's a 350 page book), then please visit http://www.taschen.com/ to purchase the book - it's only $12.99 in hardcover! Taschen publishes many affordable, unique art books for your visual pleasure.

And speaking of visual pleasure...be sure to look me up tomorrow, folks!


Anonymous said...

Superb craftsmanship! You're so right Barker, you'd never see marvels such as these on a toy shelf today. Bet these little gems are worth a mint.

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