In Praise of Tin Toys

Lehmann – Race Car, Circa 1910 – 1920

We tend to think of plastic as the miracle toy material of the 20th century. Coming into popularity after World War II, plastic provided a platform for great color, shape and lightness. Interestingly, it was tin that served the same function in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

It is easy to forget what an innovation tin was and how beautifully it took on color. Many of the tin toys were highly whimsical which shows how the use of a more flexible material and intense color was able to open up the imagination of the creator and the end user.

Here are some wonderful examples from another time and place.

Lehmann – Ostrich and Cart, circa 1900

    Lehmann – Woman in Blue Dress, circa 1890

350b7c1704d053ec45d8009c73a00aefMeier – Boy On Sled, 1920



Meier Air Ship 1920


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