Toys represent the magic of Christmas to children everywhere and the Humpty Dumpty Circus is one of my favorite exhibits on display at the Coryell Museum. Thousands of children around the world have received the Circus as a delightful Christmas gift.
The Humpty Dumpty Circus was manufactured by the Schoenhut Toy Company. Germans have long been famous for being toy manufacturers and the Schoenhut family was in business in the U.S.A. from 1872 until 1934 for a total of 62 years.
According to the website glasscottage.net the Schoenhut family began manufacturing toys shortly after the Civil War in 1865. Albert Schoenhut bought an idea from an inventor called the Humpty Dumpty Circus and began manufacturing them. Children around the world loved them and Schoenhut had sold 50,000 by 1909 in many countries including the U.S.A., England, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Spain, Australia and Africa.
Similar jointed toys were already in production, but Schoenhut’s toys were superior in movement. Children could pose them in any way imaginable because the joints were “strung” with a strong lightweight elastic cord. These wooden jointed toys had moveable arms and legs and slots in their hands and feet that would attach to ladders enabling them to swing and flip like circus acrobats. The toys were made out of hard rock maple and were truthfully advertised as “the newest unbreakable toy”.
At the museum our own Humpty Dumpty Circus is in a display case with a large window at the base of the stairway. Our circus includes a hippopotamus, a lion, a tiger in a cage, a beautiful girl with a bisque head, an evil looking clown, an appaloosa horse with a dashing bareback rider, plus 20 other circus people, props and animals! Seeing all these delightful toys is contagious and the child in all of us comes alive. At the museum I have pressed my nose against the glass and admired the little circus many times. In my mind the calliope begins to play.
After Thanksgiving come in and see our Christmas Tree Contest display of 20-25 trees. These unique trees are scattered over the whole museum and will be up until the first of the year.