"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Remembering Old Wooden Toys

What is my fascination with old wood toys?
Is it their simplicity? 

The smooth feel of the wood?  Or maybe the rich colors that were used to paint them.

 And if tin and metal components are attached, it just adds to the old-fashioned feel.

This game reminds me of the Test-Your-Strength games at the carnivals.  Go ahead and click the pictures for even yummier close-ups!

I know this came out blurry, but I wanted to show you what happens when you hit the bottom see-saw with the hammer.  The head splits from the body and shoots up the pole to ring the bell.  Just like in the carnival, you have to hit it hard enough to ring the bell.  

Here's another old wood toy that was made in France.

 Love this rusty bell!

Chippy and distressed.
It was once a pull-toy.  It reminds me of a lighthouse.  

This old sewing machine is a mixture of plastic and wood and probably not as old as the other toys.

Just like a real machine, you turn the wheel and it lifts the wooden needle up and down.  

While doing this, the happy face also rises and lowers along with the monkey below.   Nicolai was always mesmerized by how the inside parts worked together.  That's another aspect I love about old toys - the kids were taught cause and effect.  They could see how one part controls another and how they all work together.   I guess you can get the same thing from Angry Birds today, but I stand by these old toys!

Another favorite.  Every time a donut is put on the pole, it rings the bell.

Even though Mary and Nic have long since outgrown this particular toy, whenever I talk about selling it, I get a unanimous, "Nooooooooo!" 

And how many of these did we see growing up? 

Hit the metal piece with the hammer and it makes a sound...a different sound according to its size and color.  Another great teaching tool. 

Mary had to hand make a musical instrument for class.  Not being musically inclined in the least, I took my inspiration from this old xylophone.  We made our own using wood planks and to my surprise, it worked, even though it was wood and not metal.   It had to do with the width of the wood and not having anything underneath it.  See that?  Even at 43, I'm still learning basics! 

Still going through old toys.  It's almost springtime and I love a good spring cleaning!  Maybe I can talk the kids into letting a couple of these go, but first, I've got to convince myself!


  1. Jill, I really like the first one,the bell ringer,how unusual.What a find! Denise

  2. hey Girlfriend, I too LOVe the old toys I have some but wish I had more! I keep my eyes peeled at all times when I am out on my Treasure Hunts. Hugs, Diane

  3. I can't get enough old toys. They are definitely hard to come by. You really have a fabulous collection. My parents saved many of my fisher price toys from the early 70s. Josie loves playing with them when she visits. It brings back great memories.

  4. I'm with you kiddo.....love these old toys!! Yes, they were simple, but taught how to entertain yourself. I have many of the same in boxes in the basement, cannot let go of them!!! Also have the old Tonka trucks saved, they were real metal!!

  5. Wow Jill you have like a gold mine of vintage toys!! I bet it is hard to give them up!! To bad you couldn't do like vintage birthday parties or something cool with them. You have a GREAT picker eye for the vintage items!! And for decorating cool for parties. Just something else to put in your head!! LOL Been keepin busy and playing cinderella for a few folks. Just wanted to stop by and check in with ya. Sorry about the loss of your Cousin? Have a great night. XOXO Luv Aunt Frannie

  6. I love those old wooden toys! Thanks for sharing your pictures :)