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Mechanical elephant
Title : Mechanical elephant Mechanical elephant
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Date of creation : 1873
Format : Toy
Dimensions : 70 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Grey cast iron elephant that walks when set on an incline. Using perhaps the simplest method of locomotion other than an animal on wheels, the elephant's weight and the simple jointed legs make it appear to walk when placed on a simple incline or ramp. This type of movement was a popular device for cereal packet toys in the mid-20th century.

Moveable toys of all kinds have always been very popular. In the 18th century intricate moveable toys were made for the entertainment and amusements of adults. Manufacture was expensive and specialised. However, the introduction of simpler clockwork mechanisms in the latter half of the 19th century and the development of printing tinplate gave rise to a surge in the production of cheap toys with all manner of movement, which were accessible to all but the poorest of children.

Period : 1852-1883
Further reading :

Fraser, Antonia. A history of toys, London: Weidenfeld & N., [1966]

Jaffe, Deborah. The history of toys: from spinning tops to robots, Stroud [England]: Sutton, 2006

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