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Thuringia, Germany Tourism
A visit to the "Deutsche Spielzeugmuseum" (Toy Museum) Sonneberg, Thuringia, Germany, Tourism, Travel Guide
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Metal construction kits were very popular
Whenever new technology came up, it did not take along time until it was also available as a toy. Steam engines, film projectors, trains, cars - you name it.
Nuremberg was always a center of the toy industry but Sonneberg was catching up.
Building blocks, first made out of wood became already popular in the 18 th century. Later some kind of artificial stone material was also used. Today plastic is dominating.
When I was little I always wanted to have a construction kit using metal strips, nuts and bolts. It allowed the children to built cranes, vehicles and all kind of machinery. I never got a large one which could be used to create all these fancy things. But nevertheless I became an engineer.
Many toys were designed to prepare the children for the live as an adult. Believe it or not they all enjoyed it and had fun.
The museum shows a variety of samples.
Even under the communist system high quality electrical trains were manufactured in Sonneberg. Many East German products were sold worldwide.
Metal toys became already available in the 15 th century. As already said Nuremberg was the center of toy production and kept this position for many years.
Naturally, these toys were only affordable by the upper class.
During the 18 th century more workshops started manufacturing mechanized metal toys. This included the previous shown figurines made of pewter or lead.
Toys made of sheet me tall and powered by clockwork mechanisms were best sellers for many years. Many of them are expensive collectibles today, especially when they come with the original packaging.
I found a store in Thuringia who offered great replicas of antique cars made by the well known company "Schuco". Please check the web site of the company "Schuco".
Almost all new technology was available also as a toy
Typical metal toys
One of the main attractions of the museum is a scene from Gulliver's Travels, a children's book and also a satire written by Jonathan Swift an Irish man who lived between 1667 and 1745.
It shows Gulliver waking up in a country, called Liliput finding himself tied down and not being able to move.
The sculpture was first shown during an show in Berlin in the year 1844 and than again during the world exhibition in London in the year 1851.
I read the story when I was a child and I think I have to read it again after I have be reminded of it. Do you still know it? Check the Internet to read the whole story again - I am doing the same.
Gulliver is waking up in Liliput
Dolls from all over the world can be seen
Doll collectors can easily spend a whole day in the museum
We know many doll collectors. Whenever they have an opportunity to visit Germany, they must visit the "Deutsche Speleologists" in Sonneberg. We hope that they can take a German speaking person with them who is willing to translate all the information.
Originally, dolls were not a toy - they were part of certain cults. However, today it is impossible to define a border line between these purposes and being a toy. Dolls are also documents of the past.
If you are a serious doll collector you probably can spend a whole afternoon just studying the dolls from all over the world and the techniques and material used to make them.
Saxony, Thuringia and especially the area around Sonneberg were famous for dolls and Teddy bears.
Artful doll houses are another attraction
The museum shows also how the toys were produced. Home based business did an essential part of it. When we visited the "Erzgebirge" in Saxony, it still looked very similar to this display. Ask, eventually you have a chance to visit one of the shops around Sonneberg if there are still any.
We had a very good relation with some of our suppliers that we shared coffee and home baked goods or a bottle of wine, depending of the time when we came.
It was nice to see intact families where old and young lived and worked together.
Home based business produced an essential part of the toys
Certainly you have seen in the doll section of the museums which materials have been used over the time for making dolls.
Bread dough, wood, clay, porcelain, paper maché celluloid and now plastic materials were the favorites.
In this scene obviously paper maché was used. We sell online Swiss made replicas of "Springerle" molds and paper maché is used by many of our US customers to produce art work to decorate their homes or for local craft sales.
Check the little gift store in the museum what they have to offer if you are interested in any products from Sonneberg or ask for addresses of local manufacturers. They are still around and eventually you can purchase directly from them.
How dolls were made
For most visitors this is certainly the main attraction of the museum. The first display of this scene was at the world exhibition in Brussels in the year 1910. The idea and the draft were created by Reinhard Möller who was the director of "Industrial School of Sonneberg".
Not too many things have changed since that masterpiece was created.
Please check all the details which bring the past back to live.
Visit a similar event today and compare. Not too many things have changed. Certainly, you still can have fun. Don't be afraid to try the food which is offered and don't blame us if you do not like hot dogs any longer after having tried a "Thuringian Bratwurst".
The main attraction - the "Thuringian Kirmes"
The main attraction - the "Thuringian Kirmes"
We hope that we could convince you to visit this great museum in Sonneberg.
If you are a serious collector of toys or need specific information, please use the contact information to prepare your visit and to make it as efficient as possible.
Check also for special events in the museum and in Sonneberg. Thuringia offers so much and you should take home many good memories.
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The Toy Museum in Sonneberg, Thuringia
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