28 DÉCEMBRE 1901

N° 233

  This issue of " Le Monde Illustré " begins its article on toys with a magnificent illustration representing a worker on the work, painting birds. It is indicated that it is  a photography. In black and white, it occupies all the big page of this newspaper, 40 cms on 29, just after the cover, thus in page 2.

Manufacturing of " The enjoyment of the children The tranquility of the parents "

                See the legend : For this time, the toy was the king of the New Year and not of Christmas.

  In page three is the article itself, abundantly illustrated with eight photos that you will discover in this site.    This newspaper is from 1901, that is,  two years after the creation of S.F.B.J. which lives the grouping of  several companies of this order, more or less important, under the crook privileged by the firm Jumeau, which put all its capacities, factories, workers, and address book etc. in the common jar of the S.F.B.J. Nevertheless for a long time, very for a long time even, we shall speak only about Jumeau factories, about dolls Jumeau, about the indisputable French know-how which was recognized by all. Moreover the S.F.B.J. signed its productions and engraved its models only from 1905; it was necessary to it six years  to decide there. It lived until this year on the fame of its predecessor, who without being its sponsor brought it its fame, its reputation.
  Here is thus this article which will be convenient as well for the Mrs collectors as for the Gentlemen collectors because we speak about tin soldiers but also naturally about dolls.


   The toy is not of what empty spirits think; without pulling of child's amusement a whole philosophy, it is necessary to us to recognize that these "four-sou" objects, that we look to our babies, are a part of these accessories of the peoples among which the manufacturing and the practice reveal the temperament and the aspiration of a race. We judge a nation not only on the serious activities which constitute its public life, but still on the entertainments which make its private life. Oscar of Watteville, which was a philosopher in his way, considered that the pipe, this toy of the man, was characteristic of nationalities, short until " brule-gueule " (burn mouth) in the laborious countries, long until be dragged on roulettes in all the dreamy and lazy east.
  The toy strictly speaking, is, too, an obvious sign of our aesthetic tastes.

          « Say to me  what you play,"
  « I shall say to you whom you are! »

 In France, the toy is elegant, useless, printed by this artistic style which never nearly gives us the first place on the market of the beauty.
   The rebellious means skip into cogsof toys: the satire stimulates itself these small full of life groups which drag the street vendors on boulevards:  Policeman thrashed by the prowler or the English soldier receiving the spanking of a fighter to drink.
    Do not make a mistake : without getting it, there is in these infinitesimal a whole propaganda by the fact the influence of which is not to be neglected.

Our toy is always an idea which works.
  German puts rather an education where we see, mostly, only a spiritual  lesson of things: he brings to the  business) of his) toys this didactic spirit, this preoccuoation of the useful and the method which characterizes these practical and positive people.

   The rattles of their gang of kids are siphons, capillary tubes or communicating vessels. The babies of Berlin find a theorem of geometry or an experience of physical appearance in their shoes of Christmas and, when one of their machines is in musical combination, be sure that it hides a pleasant process allowing to learn, by deceiving, the rules of music theory or harmony.

   There is there a whole serious side which makes of their children these toddlers which we see crossing, walking of the heel, grave as thinkers, already having, under the short dress, the gravity of "Herr Doctor"

   Sur, we prefer, is not it, the delicious simpering of our girls around them dolls! The attention which they bring to crumple them a little piece of dress in an little  ribbon, already reveals the charm of the woman whom they will be later: it is the coquetry which makes them like their doll, confirming so, unconsciously, the origin of the toy. Because if it is necessary to believe the legen

  « There are never only legends at the beginning of any things »
  It belongs to Poppée, the wife of Néron, that we owe our modern babies Jumeau. This empress, who pushed the art of the dress until the refinement, was in the habit of covering herself the face of a mask to preserve the freshness of her complexion. Of this mask reduced to the doll, the scholars see only a step. This historic explanation is worth what it is worth; the etymologists are of a too much warned partiality so that we gave them our faith onto word.

   I would believe enough, for my part, that the doll and the inevitable tin soldiers are only a spontaneous demonstration of our instincts, something as a quite natural realization of our constituent desires and the main things of our being. 

   One understand while in all the countries, in all the times, toys were very in honor. In Egypt, the articulated  marionettes warlike or the craftsmen, made the enjoyment of the kids of time. In Rome, under the name of "Manducus", a divinity came down to the rank of simple toy and became, through centuries, our "bogeyman". In Greece finally, the famous Archytas acquired a universal fame by making a wooden dove, which, thanks to an ingenious mechanism, flew alone. This predecessor of Santos-Dumont did not thought that his invention had to continue until us. Indeed, there is even today in Athens, a " Holidayof Swallows " which counts among the most curious ceremonies of contemporary Hellas. In the spring,  children's processions go through streets: they carry long sticks where are fixed rough wooden swallows and as formerly, these birds turn in the wind under the blue sky.


  This tradition is of heathen origin; but the Christian Pontiffs were not afraid of appropriating it: they placed the feast under the patronage of Saint-Basile and there, you have it .

  I was  right to say  you that under their childish aspect, toys contain a philosophy, a deep philosophy, because it has just led us to this last truth, because there is no contradiction between the religions. That to set well, between the antique paganism and the modern Christianity, there is even no distance from a various cult.


Note 1   MANDUCUS, (Littér.)  Sort of hideous puppet; Romain called manducus certain figures or certain characters as they produced in the comedy, or in the other public games, to make laugh some, and to frighten the others. The origin of the name manducus comes from what we gave to the character who played this role, big cheeks, a big opened mouth, long and sharp teeth, that he made claqueter marvelously. The children, in the report of Suétone, were hardly frightened, and the mothers made them a scarecrow. The men have never known how to behave they - same, or to lead the others by the lights of the reason, which would only be employed. (D. J.)

Note 2    ARCHYTAS of Tarente. Pythagoricien philosopher (towards 430~348). Mathematician, astronomer, statesman and general, he found the solution of the problem of the duplication of the cube, invented, as it is said , the screw, the pulley, and built numerous machines of which a flying pigeon. He was six times named  strategist of his home town which he led every time to the victory.


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