A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

• A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

For 20 years, artist, historian and restorer Sergey Romanov collects children's toys: dolls, toy soldiers, teddy bears, doll furniture, dishes, pedal cars ... and especially Christmas decorations. In his collection of about three thousand things: cotton dolls 1930s, airships, made of papier-mache fruits and vegetables' 50s, a plastic Santa Claus from 1970. Until January 18 at the Cultural Center of Bulat Okudzhava on the Arbat, an exhibition "Christmas tree. Candle. Two balls. " Her example collector Romanov told about the sesquicentennial history of Christmas toys.

- I was 14 years old when we brought the kitty. By the New Year the kitten turned into a large, well-fed cat. And this cat first seen dressed up Christmas tree. And stunned. First he knocks paw toys that hung at the bottom, and then contrived and jumped right on the Christmas tree. And the tree, although it has been fixed on an iron tripod, lay down the whole length of the room. In a moment I lost all the most beautiful and favorite toys. To restore the lost, I began to seek out and buy antique Christmas decorations ...

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

The angel, the beginning of the XX century

The custom of dressing up for the New Year fir tree appeared in the Middle Ages, the Germanic peoples. Germans anciently revered sacred fir tree - a symbol of immortality. Each year during the winter solstice, they cleaned their homes with fir branches, believing in the needles live the good spirits of nature. Starting from the XVI century, spruce became a symbol of the Christian Christmas. In Germany, Holland, England, there was a tradition to put in the house the whole coniferous tree and hanging ornaments on its branches. The first three centuries of the decorations were very edible. Apples - as a reminder of the heavenly fruit that grew on the tree of knowledge. Fresh waffles - instead prosvirok, symbolizing the body of Christ. And of course, candy, gingerbread and nuts, which are gilded real gold leaf. Actually, the real Christmas decorations have appeared only in the late XVIII century. Those years were very fashionable jewelry made of spruce cones covered with gold-plated, silver-plated stars of straw and small figurines of angels from hammered brass. - My grandmother often thought of as on the Christmas tree lit candles. These candles were small, as the cake in iron sconces. On their branches fastened so as to expand outwardly flame. A lit only once - on Christmas Eve. And on the same night under the Christmas tree with gifts put a bucket of water and sand - to avoid a fire.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Keel. The end of XIX - early XX century

First Christmas balls appeared in Thuringia, in the town of Lauscha, in 1848.

- Lauscha anciently famous for its glass blowers. And once one master decided to dress up in a Christmas tree for their children. But he was very poor. Money on fruits and sweets are not enough. And then he blew the apples, lemons, carrots and nuts made of glass. Toys have turned out so nice that they went to the rumor. Soon, not only the inhabitants of Lauscha, but also throughout Germany have become order his glass ornaments for Christmas.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Father Christmas. Cotton toys, chromolithograph. The end of XIX - early XX century

At first, the glass Christmas decorations were made of thick heavy glass, and the inside - to shine - covered with a layer of lead. But in the 1860s, the gas plant was built in Lauscha. By means of gas burners can be glass has now been reheated to very high temperatures, and making thin steel glassmakers graceful favors. Balls with gold and silver ornaments, angels' heads, strawberries, icicles, bumps ... For a long time the German glassmakers kept secrets of his skill in secret, so until the XX century Christmas decorations made in Germany, from where they were exported to other countries: England, Holland, France , Russia.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Father Christmas. Glass. The end of XIX - early XX century

In Russia began to celebrate the New Year January 1, 1700 by decree of Peter I. He also ordered, in imitation of the Dutch, to decorate the gates and doors of houses with spruce branches. Toys on these branches are not hung, and Christmas trees placed mainly on the roofs of pubs. The very first Christmas tree, decorated with candles, toys and garlands, was established in St. Petersburg in 1852 - it is believed that the Emperor's wife has got this habit of Nicholas I, Alexandra, born and raised in Prussia. From that moment to decorate a Christmas tree at Christmas it has become very fashionable. But there was one difficulty. Glass jewelry, imported from Germany, were very expensive. At the turn of the XX century in one glass ball toys traders asked 20 rubles, and for the set could take and 200. And this despite the fact that for 20 rubles in those days you could buy a cow for 200 - house near St. Petersburg.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

The boy on skis, glass balls. The end of XIX - early XX century

Alternative to expensive glass ornaments steel cotton toys. They can be bought at the store, and you can make yourself. At Christmas, many ladies' journals told readers how to make a figure of wool by hand.

Here is an excerpt from the magazine beginning of XX century: "We cook the paste. At 1 and 1/2 cup water take 2-3 tablespoons starch, bring to the boil. Then, from a wire cage do. Wool divided by strips of moistened paste and wound onto the wire. You can still use the technique of papier-mache. That is, to stick to the frame soaked in paste pieces of paper. Anchoring it all on the frame by means of thread. two days dry the toy. Then colorable ".

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Children sledging. Cotton toys with porcelain faces. The end of XIX - early XX century

Of wool made a variety of figurines: angels with wings, birds of paradise, girls and boys to skate skiing. Often the heads of these dolls were made of porcelain. Also sold in stores punching sheets hromolitograficheskimi images. Of these sheets can be cut faces of those same angels, children or grandparents-freeze and stick to cotton or cloth toy.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Father Christmas. Cotton toys, chromolithograph. The end of XIX - early XX century

Also, before the revolution in Russia it was very popular Christmas toys in Dresden cartonnage technique. These were the figures of two halves glued embossed cardboard, tinted with gold or silver paint. They are produced by machine in Dresden and Leipzig since the XIX century. Sold the figurines in the form of sheets with embossed details that had to be self-squeeze, cut and glue. In Russia, Dresden cardboard can be ordered by mail. It cost quite accessible. 40 cents - for a sheet of simple figures as birds, rabbits, elephants, lions. 1 ruble 20 kopecks - for volume figures: silver cannons, airplanes, horse-drawn carriages ...

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

The Star. Assembled toy. Glass. The end of XIX - early XX century

Factory production of Christmas toys was first established in Russia during the First World War. While there Klin Glass Factory, owned since 1848 by Prince Menshikov. At this plant were made of colored glass lamps, bottles and vials for pharmacies. The war in the wedge were German soldiers prisoner. They also taught Russian masters blown glass Christmas balls and beads.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Father Christmas. Chromolithograph. The end of XIX - early XX century

First World, we are obliged and other ornaments, without which it is impossible to imagine modern Christmas tree - the tip of the spire. Throughout the XIX century the top of Christmas trees were decorated or the Star of Bethlehem, or the figure of Jesus Christ. They are usually made of Dresden cartonnage and to great effect backlit by candles.

- Since the beginning of the global rise of patriotism in Germany and in Russia it was so high that at the top of trees began to wear Shishaki - tops soldiers' helmets and helmets. In the Soviet years the Star of Bethlehem was replaced by the red Kremlin, but Shishak survived and was very popular in 1960-1970-ies. He could be in the form of the spire, could turn into a rocket takes off, and could be decorated with bells on twisted wire.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Christmas tree with cotton toys. The second half of the 1930s

In 1925 in the Soviet Union the custom of celebrating Christmas was banned. The following trees ten years in our country is not decorated. But here December 28, 1935 in the newspaper "Pravda" published an article by the first secretary of the regional party committee Pavel Postyshev titled "Let's organize the New Year the children a good Christmas tree!". From this moment begins the era of the Soviet Christmas toy. Technology Christmas decorations 30's not too different from pre-revolutionary. As before, the toys are hand-made master porters. As before, they were made of Dresden cartonnage, wool and glass. But the stories were different - the biblical characters replaced by Red Army soldiers, sailors, pioneers and Collective Farm in the red scarf with a sickle in his hand. Also, Soviet citizens were popular hut on chicken legs, rosy athletes and janitor with a broom.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Ball in honor of the 20th anniversary of the October Revolution. Glass. 1937

Christmas toys for years before the war, you can easily understand what the country lived. 1935. On the screens released film "The Circus" with Lyubov Orlova in the title role - on New Year trees were cotton clowns, acrobats and performing dogs. In the same year it opened the subway - and the trees were decorated with tiny red metropolitenovskimi caps. 1937. 20th anniversary of the October Revolution. By that date, the glass bowl was made: on the red flag four portraits - Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. And in 1938 the Moscow cooperative for the production of Christmas decorations have released a series of figures of cotton after the expedition of Papanin to the North Pole. In it were a polar bear laying down on the North Pole, the red flag, the station "North Pole" and the bear-skier that carry mail. Besides cotton toys were made and the glass ball with the image of the Papanin with the dog in the tent camp.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Letter to Santa Claus. New Year card. The middle of the XX century

A special kind of Christmas toys - bonbonniere. Yet they were called syurpriznitsy. They were small, beautifully decorated boxes in which the hidden candy or small gifts. Bonbonnieres began to make in the XIX century - from walnut shell or matchboxes. They gave the appearance of houses, books and drums. In the 30 years they, too, were hung on the Christmas tree. But packaged in accordance with the Soviet ideology. There was, for example, syurpriznitsa - mailbox. There was a house with a red flag - the district council. A plane was - a weapon of the proletariat. After the war bonbonnieres quietly disappeared. But it has become fashionable to hang on the Christmas tree in the foil chocolate figures - birds, bears, frost-grandfathers. In the 50s in the shops you can buy chocolate, "Help me get dressed." On the cover was painted baby. Inside the package leaflet of clothing that could be cut, and the rhyme: "So sit me no good, so I can catch a cold.

Help me to get dressed, help me to keep warm. "

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Grandfather Frost. Cotton toy, 1930-1940's

The top of the Christmas tree in the Soviet years was crowned the red five-pointed star - both on the Kremlin towers. Under the Christmas tree stood grandfather frost. It was a tribute to tradition.

In pre-Petrine times in Russia Ded Moroz presented as an old man with a gray beard that ran through the fields and caused a knock hard frost. At Christmas time it was decided to drum up the house and feed kutey - to appease. The image of Father Christmas, who gives gifts to children, appeared only in the end of XIX century - in imitation of European Santa Claus. In Russia, Grandfather Frost in those days was associated with Nicholas pleaser - the patron saint of travelers and children.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

The Snow Maiden. Cotton toy. 1930-1950-ies

But the granddaughter of Santa Claus appeared only in the Soviet years. In 1937, in the Hall of Columns was the first time a children Tree. The host at the event was a Santa Claus. But he needed a helper. At first, the organizers would like to assign this tree assistant Snowman mailer. But then I remembered about the heroine of the play by Alexander Ostrovsky's "Snow Maiden" - a beautiful blonde girl, fashioned out of the snow.

In the late 30-ies of the Snow Maidens figures began to put under the Christmas tree. They were made of wool or papier-mache. In one embodiment, the Snow Maiden was a proletarian girl in morocco boots and with a red flag.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

The locomotive. Embossed cardboard. 1930-1940-ies

Matte color ball aircraft wing. According to him stepping Budyonny. Above Budennys inscription: "Happy New Year 1941" In the Soviet Union all been waiting for this year, wondering what it will bring? He brought the Great Patriotic War. However, even in these difficult years for the country people continued to decorate the Christmas tree - in the rear, in hospitals, in the trenches on the front line. And continue to make Christmas decorations. They were making of all that was at hand. We took lamps, painted with paint in different colors, painted cherries and flowers. From the waste copper wire twisted butterflies and dragonfly.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Airships. Glass. 1930-1940-ies

In January 1943, epaulettes were introduced in the Red Army. And the soldiers and officers began tinkering toys on the Christmas tree of them. Also enjoyed popularity assembled from glass beads and tubes airplanes, and airships made of glass, such as cars emok, cardboard guns, tanks, and figures of the frontier guard with a dog Karatsupa Indians, preserved since before the war.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Clock. Glass. 1950-1960's

In 1946, January 1 was declared a holiday. New Year has become a real national holiday. A toy - mass. In 1950-1960-ies opened several factories Christmas toys - in Moscow, Leningrad, Klin, Kirov, Kiev. trends emerged: toys on clothespins and miniature toys for babies, artificial Christmas trees.

- Christmas decorations in these years have been very different. In 1950, after the movie "Carnival Night", it has become very fashionable glass clocks, the hands which were frozen at "five to twelve". In Khrushchev's time - figures astronauts, and corn on the cob. And in 1970 - shells, houses with snow-covered roofs, searchlights and balls called "radio waves".

"Radio waves" began to do before the war. It had the balls with a pattern of circular lines. Phosphoric deposited paint pattern, and glowed in the dark balls.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Hare with a drum. Glass. 1950-1970-ies

In 1960-1980-ies were very popular toys created based on fairy tales. In principle, it was not news. Back in the 1930s, the farm produced cotton decoration in the form of characters of Russian fairy tales or poems Korney Chukovsky. In those years, many homes in the fur-trees hung hut on chicken legs, lame sandals or Cockroach in red boots. And when in 1935 the Russian language have been translated "Uncle Remus" in the needles settled Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

The clown with a pipe. Glass. 1950-1970-ies

- In the era of socialism, there were whole sets of fabulous "Golden Cockerel", "Little Muck", "Little Red Riding Hood," "Chipollino". The same tale produced over the years and in different factories. In this image of the characters could change. This is well illustrated by an old woman from the "Tales of the Golden Fish". The launch of old Smyrna, stands holding dushegreyku. But in the end she had hands on her hips.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

Glass toy 1960-1980

In 1970-1980-ies were produced a lot of different toys: bells, figures of animals, jinn, girls in fur coats. Among the balls mainly large ball was made of polystyrene with a rotating butterfly inside. These balls are sold all year round, they are blue, red, green, purple. Children they seemed magical.

- Probably, there was no child who did not want this butterfly of the ball to take out. One day I went out with the ball out of the store and around the corner of the asphalt did so: bam! Balloon crashed, I got a butterfly. But outside of the ball it is no longer cool. And all the magic disappeared.

A fascinating and rich history of Christmas toys

The lady with snow. Porcelain doll. The end of XIX - early XX century

For reference: The rarity among collectors are considered toys, issued before 1966. The entire value of the toys that came after that date - in his memoirs.