nuremberg municipal museums

Brief information about the various German regions which predominantly manufactured wooden toys, as well as about artist-designed wooden toys.

Toy Museum

Topics - Wooden World

Police Station, Ore Mountains.

It All Started With Wood

Industrial production of wooden toys started in the 16th century and developed mainly in the forested areas of the Alps, of Thuringia and the Ore Mountains. These areas are represented with their characteristic products.

There are high quality carved and painted animals, figures, dolls and jumping jacks from Berchtesgaden, Oberammergau and the Grödner Valley. Thuringia's range of toys was particularly varied. Apart from wood, toymakers from this region also used papier maché for dolls' heads, herds of animals, stair climbers (Treppenläufer) or swinging figures (Pendelfiguren). A busy cottage industry in the entire Ore Mountain region revolved around wood carving and wood turning. The technique of hoop turning developed in this region marked the beginning of serial production of animals for popular Noah's Arks and toy farms.

Toys from all those regions were distributed all over the world by Nuremberg merchants as "Nuremberg Wares". But wooden toys were also manufactured in Nuremberg itself. The display includes turned, finely painted miniature dishes and building sets of well-known city buildings.

"City at the End of the World" by Lionel Feininger, Weimar, around 1920.

Artistic Toy Design

A special display case shows the development of artist-designed wooden toys, from the first design competition in 1903, to current awardees of the German Design Award for Wooden Toys.

Works by renowned artists such as Lyonel Feininger, Emmy Zweybrück and Antonio Vitali are proof of the high quality of wooden toy design in the 20th century.



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