Museum of Childhood (Edinburgh)

Iain

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I thought the kids here might enjoy some toys! Hurrah! You really know you are advancing in years when the toys you played with as a child can be found in a museum. The pics might not be great as I didn't take them with public consumption in mind.

Hey, Tonto!.jpg

Lone Ranger.jpg

Coboys and Native Americans.jpg

Interplanetary Transmitter.jpg

How cool is the gun!
G-man.jpg

There's a space if anyone wants to join the tea party...
Tea party.jpg

Japanese doll.jpg

French doll?.jpg

1920's phonograph?.jpg
 

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Animal Bubble Book. Great title!
Edison Bell.jpg

Get the violins out. (Seriously)
Anne Boleyn or a Violin?.jpg

A doll made from a shoe. What's a poor London "Slum child" gonna do.
Slum doll.jpg

Sewing?
Nic nacs.jpg

I recall a painting where the figure is dressed in a costume like this, but cannot remember the painter. Intriguing costume though.
Pin cushion.jpg

"Clown fiddler. As he plays he moves his head, rolls his eyes and impudently sticks out a long red tongue. Probably French, about 1880." All musicians do that! (That was a joke, btw.)
Clown.jpg

If clowns aren't the stuff of nightmares, maybe this will keep you awake at night. There, there. It is only a fairytale villain,"Puss in boots."
Puss 'n boots.jpg

Japanese dolls?.jpg

Orient.jpg
 

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Saved the oldest for last.
Other worlds.jpg

"Peruvian earthenware figure with simple features pressed into the clay surface and short molded arms. Wearing a woven robe. Found in a child's grave. About 1300 A.D."
Peruvian.jpg
 
I didn't have any of those toys because Mom and Dad couldn't afford a lot of toys but I saw many of them in the Christmas catalogs that we kids poured over each year. However after I was grown and working, I did buy that little Blue Willow tea set at the 5&10cent store for $1.98. A few years ago I sold it for $200. :)
 
I am a "lightweight" in comparison." It's true. I wouldn't wish to overstay my welcome. Appreciate the hospitality.
 
Great photos! The National Museum of Toys & Miniatures is here in Kansas City. I haven't been there in 20 years TBH, so I have no idea how the displays look now after renovations, but I remember being very impressed with their collection. I don't recall anything like those Peruvian dolls, tho!
 
I am pleased that you like them. The Peruvian doll must have been a coup for the collection. That doll, alongside the doll made from an old shoe, are particularly poignant. There was no entry fee.
 
None of them look familiar. Evidently, I am not as old as Iain, or perhaps we were just too poor for fancy toys.

Mind you, I have one of these dating from the 1970s, and still in perfect working condition:

Classic-Viewmaster.jpg


For the most part, we made do with simple toys, often stuff we made ourselves. I grew up in the rural areas, and so naturally possessed a fearsome array of homemade weaponry - slingshot, daggers, spear, etc. Strangely enough I somehow survived childhood. :)
 
None of them look familiar. Evidently, I am not as old as Iain, or perhaps we were just too poor for fancy toys.
Judging by the View-Master, we may have been running around with runny noses at the same time, but on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Cool toy. I never had one 😦 but my cousin's did. :D

Definitely the most fun was to be had making one's own stuff. Damn, you are taking me back. A nail inserted into a bamboo stick made an adequate spear. Or, more adventurously, pram wheels from the local rubbish dump nailed onto wood made for an exciting afternoon! A go-cart was called a bogie (no doubt after the rail cart) in Scotland and Northern England, whereas, I would discover, a bogey was something entirely different down South, namely London. 😁
 
Definitely the most fun was to be had making one's own stuff. Damn, you are taking me back. A nail inserted into a bamboo stick made an adequate spear.

Between the main posts of wire fences, we used metal rods, about the thickness of your little finger, and known as droppers, to reinforce the fence. I took one of these, spent a whole afternoon hammering one end to a sharp point, and made a hand grip at the balancing point using a strip of old inner tube. It made a pretty deadly spear. I remember stalking flocks of guinea fowl with it, determined to get something for the pot, but I never got remotely close enough. :)

Another piece of boyhood weaponry: the kleilat ("clay switch'). You cut a long, flexible switch from a tree. Then you stick a lump of clay from the bank of the local creek to one end, and use it to throw the lump. We had mini-wars with these things and would end up muddy and full of black and blue bruises. Miraculously, no one ever lost an eye or something. There is apparently a whole army of angels up there with the full time occupation of protecting boys from themselves.

And then there was the homemade blowdart gun: take an old ballpoint and remove the inside bit so you have a hollow tube. Push a pin through small piece of sponge so the sponge ends up against the head of the pin. You now have a dart that will fit snugly into your tube, ready to be shot by a puff of air. It really stings when you get one of these darts shot into your arm or leg. :D

Or, more adventurously, pram wheels from the local rubbish dump nailed onto wood made for an exciting afternoon! A go-cart was called a bogie (no doubt after the rail cart) in Scotland and Northern England, whereas, I would discover, a bogey was something entirely different down South, namely London. 😁

I always wanted one of those (known here in Afrikaans as a "kaskar" - translates more or less as "crate car"). Never had one though, but we had something virtually as cool: a draadkar ("wire car"), a toy car constructed of pieces of wire, with shoe polish cans for wheels, and a long steering column sticking out the back:

draadkar.jpg


I do not think there is a video game on this earth that can compete with these kinds of things. I have seen this richly demonstrated on such occasions as when I took kids to the place where I grew up: their cell phones are promptly forgotten, and they start building forts out of wood they chopped down themselves, or build things from clay, or, er, heaven help us, build one fire after the other. By the end if the day they are covered in mud and dust from head to toe.

I pity kids who grow up in the city.
 
Ah, I've got it now. You are from South Africa, and not the USA, as I originally assumed. Silly me. Yes, there is much enjoyment to be gained from utilising the resources around us. The image below is akin to what we would build, but we never had anything as elaborate as the box sides, and ours would fall apart, and probably many times wouldn't reach completion. But the resourcing of materials, the fired imagination, and the anticipation of the finished product, was the impetus, maybe like the making of art now. Who knows? I no longer build camps, nor start fires that get out of control ;) I'll leave that to the neighbourhood.

Bogie.jpg
 
I made many carts and we used ceramic coated hearth tins to slide down grassy hills. I had guns and holsters every Christmas, although I never liked the fancy ones with coloured plastic gems, my brother used to get those whilst I'd ask for plain.
Then one year I got a mecanno, which was my best toy ever, we used to make throwing arrows aided by wrapping string around it to use as a lever to throw it further. Bows and arrows too. There was also a fad when I was at school of whip and tops where you whipped a top with a piece of wood with a slither of leather threaded into it.
Mostly my playground was the North York moors and dales, camping, swimming in rivers, climbing trees, catching fish with the most menial stick, line, hook and a juicy worm. Bird nesting too, but that's taboo today so I'd better not mention it.

I never had many toys, I never really needed them. Although I did long for an action man figure that most of my friends had and the 1st James Bond car with gadgets 😊
 
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Ah, I've got it now. You are from South Africa, and not the USA, as I originally assumed. Silly me. Yes, there is much enjoyment to be gained from utilising the resources around us. The image below is akin to what we would build, but we never had anything as elaborate as the box sides, and ours would fall apart, and probably many times wouldn't reach completion. But the resourcing of materials, the fired imagination, and the anticipation of the finished product, was the impetus, maybe like the making of art now. Who knows? I no longer build camps, nor start fires that get out of control ;) I'll leave that to the neighbourhood.

View attachment 3460

As I recall, our main obstacle to building such a vehicle was that we had no wheels and couldn't work out how to make them or where to get hold of them. Of course, I was more ambitious - at one point I had plans for vehicles with actual engines, ranging from cars to trains. And, of course, various rockets and spacecraft. Perhaps we should be grateful that boys' imaginations usually far outstrips their actual abilities. :)
 
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