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26. September 2014

From the advertising pillar to the museum

Nuremberg Toy Museum is world famous for its exhibits, which range from antiques to modern displays. However, it is not only these that reveal a great
deal about the cultural history of a particular age, it is also the historical
posters for toys and toy exhibitions. Yo.Yo found some especially delightful examples in the Toy Museum.

At no time were posters more popular than theywere in the decades around 1900. With the growth of popular culture and mass consumption came the beginning
of the time of the advertising poster. And these were highly esteemed: many celebrated them as independent forms that reconciled art and commerce.
After the turn of the century, the original advertising purpose moved increasingly
to the fore. The toy industry rarely used this medium, however, opting instead for advertisements placed in illustrated newspapers or in trade journals like “Das Spielzeug” (The Toy), which was established in 1909.

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This makes it all the more special that one of the few posters from this time
is being preserved in Nuremberg
Toy Museum: “Richters Anker-Steinbaukasten” (Richter’s Anchor
Stone Blocks) from circa 1910. This
world famous classic is an early prototype for this building kit. The pioneering aviator Otto Lilienthal
invented the kit with his brother
Gustav; entrepreneur Friedrich Adolf Richter from Thuringia successfully marketed it from 1882 onwards. The blocks could be combined in any number of ways, so that highly complex structures
like that shown in the poster could be built.

What is also interesting is the anchor in the bottom left-hand corner of the picture: this was the official logo after 1895 and contributed to its huge success. Around the turn of the century, brands began to determine consumer behaviour.

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Competition for Richter came from Nurembergbased company Bing :
the brothers Adolf and Ignaz Bing founded the company in 1866 and operated what they termed the “largest toy factory in the world” before the First World War. After the 1920s, this was added to by a number of new business divisions, and Bing became a huge multi-industry company. The poster, which was created during this time, conveys a feeling of how the Bings saw their company: as part of a rapid modern era in which railways and cars set the pace of life and production. For their poster, they were able to hire experienced agencies, like Kriegbaum from Nuremberg. The advertising industry had become more professional and was by that time applying scientific  knowledge. After 1915, scientists started undertaking research into how advertising can work most effectively. And the posters were very successful: they were the most important means of advertising until television arrived in all households by 1970.

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Newspaper and catalogue
advertisements were of similar significance until then. And here
too there are some real treasures, including the cover picture from
the Märklin catalogue from
1947 ...

 

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... and a Schuco advertisement
from the 70s, which showed the
gentle side of Muhammad Ali.
(Photo: Charles Wilp).

During these years, posters advertising
toy exhibitions started to get exciting as well, because from the late 1960s onwards, toys were becoming museum
attractions. “A huge wave of nostalgia
set in”, says restorer and art historian
Urs Latus, a research assistant at the
Nuremberg Toy Museum. “Although
there were toy exhibitions much earlier than this – for example in industrial
museums – they didn’t reach the
masses until the 1970s.”

 

 

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The posters preserved in the Toy Museum reveal how affectionately
the exhibition organisers regarded toys. The suggestion conveyed by the poster for the “Great Exhibition of French Toys” from 1982/83, is one of toys finally
being released from a box in which
they had been long forgotten.

 

 


 


 

 

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One more thing becomes clear when
you look at the posters from France,
the Netherlands or the former
German Democratic Republic : love
for historical toys is an international phenomenon!

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Press contact
Isabel-Weishar (JPG)

Ms. Isabel Weishar

Fon: +49 (0) 911-9763-263
Fax: +49 (0) 911-9763-162

E-Mail: i.weishar@simba-dickie.com