State Library of South AustraliaState Library of South Australia

Barney E-1 model army tank


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Catalogue record

Place of Creation: Liverpool, UK

Published by Whitely Tansley & Co

Date of creation : c1919

Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for personal research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.

Format : Toy

Clockwork "Barney E1" World War 1 replica army tank tinplate toy. It was made by the Whitely Tansley & Co, in Liverpool, in 1919 and is now a scarce toy. Many such toys were made by men who had built and painted the actual armoured vehicles during the War. It is distinguished by gun turrets on the side of the vehicle whereas by World War II gun turrets were through the top of the tank. People always think the hole at the top is for a missing gun turret but it is actually for the clockwork key. If you open the entry flap you can see the clockwork mechanism, but we do not have the key.

This object is so much more than a toy. It is a piece which speaks to the history of children's play at this time as well as what adults did during and after the war and social attitudes between the World Wars. At the outbreak of the First World War there was a massive shift towards patriotic toys where before the War hoops and spinning tops constituted the popular toys. Games like Intern the Kaiser , toy machine guns, British-made patriotic bears and toy ambulances were offered by toy shops.

During the war injured soldiers made Christmas toys when factories had turned to making armaments instead. After demobilisation making toys was used as a way to help those damaged by their war experience and to also gain skills if their original job was gone or they could no longer do their previous work due to wounds.

After the Vietnam War military toys were questioned and war-like play was discouraged by educators, parents and other care-givers but children still seek out and play with these military style toys.

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