English Toy Riding Horses: Types

Figure 1.--This cabinet card portrait shows an unidentified English boy wearing a velvet sailor suit. The portrait looks to hacve been taken in the 1880s. The rocking horse is attached to a safety stand which provides forwards and backwards movement but with no risk of injury to the child. It appeared in 1880. The portrait was taken by W Edward Wright of Forest Gate, London. Forest Gate is a residential area in the London Borough of Newham. The name x\comes from a southern gate of Epping Forest.

Toy riding horses certainly seems to have been very popular in England. We used to always call these toys rocking horses, but there were various types. This is something that we have just begun to assess. The hobby horse was a stick toy with a horses head. And carved wooden horses included both rocking and non-rocking types. We have seen some beautifully xarved and painted horses that children would have been enthralled with. The standard rocking horse was on rockers of various sizes, much like the standard rocking chair. This meant a set of parallel bows. This basic desisn was the only kind available until the late-19th century. P. J. Marqua invented and patented a rocking horse mounted in a stand (1880). A swinging mechanism was able to move the horse back and forth. While the horse moved in a forward and backward motion, the stand remained stationary. A Marqua's horse much was safer for small children as they would not tip over even rocked vigorously by the child. Nor would they rock over the toes of children nearby. Some rockers seem to have had springs. Other horses did not rock, but were stantionary horses. And we note some that were on wheels.


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Created: 4:59 AM 5/29/2011
Last updated: 4:59 AM 5/29/2011