At the turn of the century, Philadelphia toy maker A. Schoenhut seized upon the circus mania that had spread across the nation, producing miniature versions of the beloved circus performers and animals. Called the Humpty Dumpty Circus-a name inspired by a popular play of the time-the toy line became an immediate success. It featured ten core performers, over thirty different animals, and a wide variety of accessories, ranging from simple props like chairs and ladders to elaborate, three-dimensional canvas tents.

In 1923, Schoenhut introduced a less-expensive, reduced size circus. Many, though not all, of the performers and animals from the original sets appeared in the reduced size sets, and the smaller figures had the same features as their larger counterparts. Several types of clowns have appeared under the big top, including the white face, known for his clever pranks. Albert Schoenhut modeled his white face clown after the Humpty Dumpty troupe performers that also inspired the name of his circus set. Though their costumes vary, most of Schoenhut's clowns wear patterned one-piece suits, red shoes, and pointed hats. Of course, they also have white painted faces with expressive red and black details.

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  • Title: Figure:Clown
  • Creator: The A. Schoenhut Co.
  • Date Created: ca. 1925, ca. 1925
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA, Philadelphia, PA
  • Subject Keywords: clown, circus, clown, circus
  • Type: Play Sets, Play Sets
  • Medium: wood, cloth, paint, elastic cord
  • Object ID: 77.2483, 77.2483

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