M ore than two to three-thousand items a toy-merchant of Sonne- berg formerly had to offer when he went on his rounds visiting customers in Europe and in transatlantic countries. It was a com prehensive collection and its variety was the trump-card with which competitors were to be beaten. More than 130 years ago this presented a difficult advertising problem, for the many toys could not be carried along and produced as samples. This is v/here the catalogue came in, and in it all the items were listed which constitued the firm's stock-in-trade, from the simple wooden toys to the «mobile and sounding items,» the dolls and animals, the musical instruments, the games, tobacco pipes, the grindstones, buttons, nails, objects of glass and tin. They were carefully drawn by the modeller of the firm who at that time was still called the «embosser,» represented in all their details and their natural colors. Thus there actually came into being a display of samples which contained all the items offered by the «firm,» and that in a way, that even those that had never before seen the toys were able to visualize without any undue strain on their imagination what the toys really looked like when they were delivered. These catalogues Aus alten Spielzeug-Musterbüchern From Old Toy Catalogues Vieux jouets dans les catalogues Papiermaché, Glas oder Stoff. Auch die Anzahl der Stücke inner- 2 halb der Gruppen ist, wie etwa bei der Arche Noah, dem Be- schauer ohne weiteres klar, und auch von der GröBenordnung in- nerhalb der Puppenkollektion bekommt man eine Vorstellung. Es waren «Neuheiten», die damals genau so wie heute erst beim Kunden eingeführt werden mufiten. Die teilweise auf Stein gezeich- neten Musterblatter boten unter den damaligen Reiseverhaltnissen die einzige Möglichkeit für den Kaufmann, dem Kunden gegen- über eine erfolgversprechende Ausgangsposition für Kaufverhand- lungen zu schaffen. Sie haben sich bewahrt. Mit ihrer Hilfe hat die Sonneberger Spielzeugindustrie sich Weltruf verschafft. Sicheres volkskünstlerisches Gestaltungsvermögen war das Geheimnis, das die nüchterne Fülle von Katalognummern so reizvoll und zauber- haft zu machen vermochte. OTTO KEIL 36

Gebrauchsgraphik de | 1960 | | page 42