History of the toys

Even in the 17th century, toys were mainly made by themselves. As a result of the boom of the European bourgeoisie, many companies were involved in the production of games from the middle of the eighteenth century onwards. At the beginning, these were mainly dolls and wooden toys, for example in the Seiffen / Erzgebirge region. Card games came into fashion at the beginning of the 19th century. In this initial phase of industrialization, the focus was still on the pure production of the games. The ideas were either handed down or simply copied. In order to resist the growing competition, the play began to be protected towards the end of the 19th century. This was particularly the case in the twentieth century, when large manufacturers developed.


In the course of industrialization, the toy industry has developed. Since the 15th century Nuremberg has been a center of trade and the production of toys. The so-called "Nürnberger Tand" ("Nuremberg Tand"), which was understood to be a fully-furnished dollhouse, wooden soldiers, hobby horses, drums and even small brass guns, conquered the world market known until then.
Due to its topographical location and a handy city culture, Nuremberg became a hub of game and toy developments north of the Alps and since the Middle Ages it has been a turning point for product and idea.

  • "Dockenwerk" already known around 1600 as a common term for children / toys
  • "Dockenmacher" - the toymaker in the widest sense in the stand book of Christoff Weigel (1698) "Dockenmacher" were subdivided according to the material used - Trachant, paperboard (paper mache, alabaster, wax or wood

Classification by materials and subject groups

  • Wood, carpentry & whitemakers: doll houses, dollies, hammocks, rattles, windmills, doll furniture, showcases (mostly unpainted - so white)
  • Bismuth painter: first of all paint things from the carpenter, later on his own production (lacquer painting on a ground of chalk and bismuth)
  • Brass founders: chimneys, mullet drummers, brass rattles, clamps
  • Various metal - Flaschner and plumber: dollies, stoves, houses & accessories first handmade metal toys
  • "Nürnberger Tant" - concept of goods and trade, which first meant metal trifles, art locksmith works
  • Clay, stone & ceramics: beadmakers, clay marbles, glass marbles
  • Tin Cutter: dolls' harness, religious toys, figurative
  • Papiermaché-Hersteller - already with Christoff Weigel 1698 in the city book with note: "Pappenzeuch" - later then development to papier-mache doll heads, for the masks manufacture, paper mache dolls and wrap children, Easter lambs
  • Tragacanth and sugar figures (from tragacanth, starch, water, etc.), figures, houses and whole figurative b.z.w. Decorative scenes
  • Alabaster (Gips) Manufacturer: ca. 1700 probably very common - reliefs and figures
  • Optical toys in the eighteenth century: camera box (spatially divided depth image from individual pieces), camera obscura (picture on glass plate backlit, colorful windows, luminous moon, etc.), laterna magica (projection of shining images with mirror and lens)
  • Toys made of paper / cardboard, printed in book form: famous "orbis sensualium pictus" by Johann Amos Comenius, published 1658 by Endter-Verlag, followed by Nuremberg ABC books, youth calendar, Jugendalmanasche to "Pastime for young people" 1793 by Peter Voit (an educational youth book), picture-books with historical, social contents, paper theater, cut-out and dressing dolls
  • Dice, cards b.z.w. Game maker: with the invention of woodprinting, there was an upswing in the production of cards, beginning of the 15th century. Nuremberg is a leading city in playing card manufacturing in Germany. The game manufacturing

Nuremberg's toy production ran into two areas for a long time

  • Cheap sets of toys from different, non-guild-organized suppliers
  • Exclusivware in the individual production for patricians and princely courts (art locksmithery, mechanized jewels, exclusive doll houses on a scale)

Trade metropolis Nuremberg

  • In the 17th to the 19th century, Nuremberg toy merchants incorporated toys from different producer areas into their assortment, mostly wooden items from domestic production. Nuremberg has been a collection point for ideas, products and innovations since the eighteenth century
  • Competition and the monopoly position of the Nuremberg (and other) traders was mostly the breadth of the offer and the price-performance ratio, according to the motto: "It is produced there, where it can be produced the cheapest."
  • Extensive trade made the original characteristics of the regions intermingle, and sometimes disappear, Nuremberg traders might, by their actions, strengthen their competitiveness in other regions in order to buy more cheaply
  • A decline in the production of wooden toys in Nuremberg was recorded at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and in 1850 more and more the dominance of wooden toys became more and more popular among the toy publishers in Thuringia (Sonneberg) and the Erzgebirge
  • In the 19th century, Sonneberg became the center of toy manufacture and toy trade. At the beginning of the 20th century, the publishers and merchants from the Sonne region dominated the world market with their toys and made Sonneberg the "world's toy town"

Antik Toy Store