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Toy Circus - Humpty Dumpty Circus

Humpty Dumpty Circus

  • Object:

    Toy Circus

  • Place of origin:

    America (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1920 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    O Schoenhut & Co Inc (manufacturer)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Frank Cridlan

  • Museum number:

    MISC.23:1 to 22-1962

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This wooden toy circus set was made ca.1920 by the Schoenhut Toy Company in America. The Humpty Dumpty Circus, as it was known, was first produced in 1903 after the patent for the clown figure was granted. It became extremely popular very quickly and soon grew to around 37 animals, 29 figures and over 40 different accessories. Unfortunately, the Humpty Dumpty Circus did not last long as Schoenhut's Toy Company went out of business in 1935 due to the global economic depression.

Place of Origin

America (made)

Date

ca. 1920 (made)

Artist/maker

O Schoenhut & Co Inc (manufacturer)

Object history note

Schoenhut's Humpty Dumpty Circus was first designed and produced in the early 1910s, with the patent for the clown being granted in 1903. The first models of the figures featured glass eyes, which were soon replaced by carved eyes in the 1920s to save money. By 1923 the company were losing sales and decided to introduce the reduced size circus. Although they were very popular and sold well, the company was hit hard by the depression and were out of business by 1935.

The animals and figures sold in the Humpty Dumpty Circus were fully flexible with multiple tightly-strung joints. There were slots and holes placed into the toys that allowed them to be positioned in many different ways and with many different items. Schoenhut claimed that there were 10,0001 ways to play with the Humpty Dumpty Circus, making it a versatile and exciting set.

Descriptive line

wooden toy circus made by Schoenhut; American; ca.1920

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Ackerman, Evelyn; Schoenhut's Humpty Dumpty Circus From A-Z; Los Angeles; 1975

Materials

Wood; String; Silk; Cotton

Techniques

Lathe; Stringing

Subjects depicted

Circus

Categories

Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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