To get this man to perform, you need to hold him as you would a pair of scissors and move the legs in and out. As you do this, the man repeatedly raises his hat and smiles broadly. There is a sample label attached to the figure with the number 133/2. The style of this suggests that the item was made in Germany, a country well known for its tin toys.
This is a very cleverly designed tinplate figure. You need to hold the figure as you would a pair of scissors and move the legs in and out. As you do this the figure first picks up an egg from the basket and then lifts its arm up to its mouth. The egg is placed in the figure’s mouth as it opens its eyes. As the figure drops its now empty arm, the egg vanishes from its mouth as its eyes close again. The movements then repeat. The illustrations include one of the back of the figure, revealing that the mechanism is both clever and simple.
This was purchased in Las Vegas. To get the toy to spin, hold it vertically with the Las Vegas flag at the top, while gripping it at the bottom. With your other hand take hold of the small wooden ball at the bottom and move it upwards. When you do this, the glitter material balloons out and rapidly spins round, whilst making a pleasing whirling noise.
When this clockwork snake is wound up, it travels forward as its body spins round and its eyes spark. The underside of the head is stamped FOREIGN, but the country of origin is not known.
This game was designed by de Bono, best known for his work on Lateral Thinking. Variants of this game can also be played, as described in the instructions. Made by Double Games, London.
This battery operated wand uses static electricity to float very light flying toys, which are included. Produced by Unitech Toys, Inc., Foster City, California, USA. www.unitechtoys.com.
In whichever order these 24 cards are laid side by side, the result will be a perfectly harmonious landscape. The packaging tells us that the Myriorama was a popular novelty during the 19th century. This version is apparently closely based on one published in Leipzig in the 1830s. Supplied by Tobar, St Margaret, Harleston, Norfolk.
The magnetic base allows sculptures to be made using the steel rings supplied. Made in Taiwan.
The Levitron top floats by using the lifting power produced by opposing permanent magnets. The top is stabilised in space by the gyroscopic effect produced when you spin it. Getting the top to levitate is not easy: weight and balance are critical and it comes with an assortment of additional weights to fine tune its behaviour.
When you grasp the two beads at the bottom of the string, one in each hand, and pull down on the strings in turn, the two people slowly climb up the string. As soon as the tension in the string is released, the people drop back down. This is a traditional toy that still gives great pleasure.