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Serious Toyz: Schoenhut Humpty Dumpty Circus Exhibit

Coney Island USA Events

Serious Toyz: Schoenhut Humpty Dumpty Circus Exhibit

September 13, 14, 20, 21, 1pm - 7pm

The Humpty Dumpty Circus was introduced by the Schoenhut company in 1903. The original set consisted of a clown, a chair, and a ladder. However, the clown was fully jointed and this simple set could be posed in numerous ways, limited only by the childs imagination.

Soon, the Schoenhut company began producing more figures to compliment this original set and it was possible to assemble a rather large circus. Available pieces included circus tents, circus wagons, performers, and a wide range of animals.

The Schoenhut company produced circus toys unitl 1935. Albert Schoenhut, a German immigrant, began producing piano toys in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1872. Thereafter, Schoenhut's toy production expanded to include dolls, dollhouses, blocks, and other wooden toys. 

The Humpy Dumpty Circus was a great hit. The circus personal grew over the years to include a Lady Circus Rider, Lady Acrobat, Ringmaster, Gent Acrobat, a minstrel, Chinese Acrobat, and a Lion Tamer. Animals included an Alligator, Brown Bear, Polar Bear, Buffalo, Bulldog, Burro, Arabian Camel, Bactrian Camel, Cat, Cow, Deer, Donkey, Elephant, Giraffe, Gazelle, Goat, Goose, Gorilla, Hippopotamus, Brown Horse, White horse, hyena, Kangaroo, Leopard, Lion, Monkey, Ostrich, Pig, Poodle, Rabbit, Rhinoceros, Sea Lion, Sheep, Tiger, Wolf, Zebra, and a Zebu. The 1906 "Everybody's Magazine" ad shown above illustrates some of the performers available at that time. Most early animals had glass eyes which were all changed to hand painted eyes by the 1920s. Even the painted eyes were later changed to a decaled eye in many animals as another cost savings measure.

Come see this exhibit, at the Shooting Gallery/Arts Annex! 1pm - 7pm!

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