Manufactured in Germany and France in the late 1800s, automata provided whimsical examples of European life. Manufacturers produced musicians, clowns, and acrobats alongside shepherdesses and high-born ladies in fashionable gowns. Although eventually becoming popular playthings for children, many parents and teachers worried that mechanical toys stifled a child's imagination and creativity because their play was limited to winding cranks or turning keys that started the actions. Parents also claimed children might easily damage the delicate mechanisms inside the automata. However, the inexpensive mass production of these mechanical figures led them to become more and more a child's toy. Production of these figures continued until the beginning of World War I, and their popularity never resumed.