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Plaster and wire animal set
Title : Plaster and wire animal set Plaster and wire animal set
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Source : Crompton Collection
Format : Toy
Dimensions : 30-180 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Donated by : Crompton Family
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Description :

A series of composition (plaster over wire) animals: giraffe, elephant and mahout, camel, leopard, a lioness with two cubs, tapir, llama, highland cattle, bison, wolves, dog, wart hog, bearcubs, wildebeest, and zebra.

Toy animals have always been popular with children and have ranged from a toy whittled from wood by a parent for his own child through to the work of villagers each responsible for a particular type of animal--the beginnings of mass production. Handsome arks, zoos and circuses were produced, both in Europe and America, largely from wood but some made using composition materials.

From the 19th century metal toys were made. Manufacturers in Germany produced flat lead figures that were extremely realistic, but in the 1890s Britains Ltd. developed the method of making hollow-cast figures. Toy soldiers were the the largest component of the company's business until in 1923 when it released a model home farm and a few years later a hunting series. Zoo animals were another popular animal series. With hollow-casting great realism could be given to the models. These would only be replaced by plastic animals in the second half of the 20th century.

Further reading :

Gardiner, Gordon. The all-colour directory of metal toys: a pictorial guide to the art of collecting international playthings, Sydney: Lansdowne, c1984

King, Constance Eileen. The encyclopedia of toys, Adelaide: Rigby, 1978

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