Toy and collector's item by Henrik Moberg

Toy and Collector’s Item

Toy soldiers are considered to be the first mass-produced toy. It was invented in Germany during the 1760s by J.G. Hilpert. He got many followers and they were generally small family businesses. From 1850-1930 it is fair to speak of industrialised mass-production of toy soldiers in Europe.

Sweden produced its first figures during 1780s and throughout the 19th centaury, but on an industrial scale from 1890-1939. The largest makers were all located in Stockholm. They were Santesson, C.C. Ohlsson and Tenngjuteriet Mars.

During the 1930s most companies ceased to produce toy soldiers, but the toy soldier was resurrected in a new way. The best engravers were now employed to make accurate historical figures, which were to be painted by collectors - model figures. A new collector’s item had been born.