Jack-in-the-box:Clown Jack-in-the-box


The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

The origins of the jack-in-the-box are unknown, although written references to a toy by this name, or Punch box, appeared in the 16th century. The Punch box label associates the toy with Punch, as many early jack-in-the-box figures resembled the puppet character. Other names for this simple movement toy include Johnny Jump-up, Surprise Box, and Admiral on a Stick. Most examples from the late 17th and early 18th centuries concealed figures with hideous features, a characteristic that may have lead Rousseau to suggest that the jack-in-the-box could be used to remove the "groundless fears of children." German and American toymakers produced the toy into the 19th and 20th centuries. Advertisements of the 1890s pitched the jack-in-the-box to the adult practical jokers. Well into the 20th century, the toy has become a favorite of the preschooler, and over time, the design and construction of the toy has been altered to appeal to youngsters and to withstand toddler handling.

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  • Title: Jack-in-the-box:Clown Jack-in-the-box
  • Date Created: 1925
  • Location: Germany
  • Type: More Toys
  • Medium: painted, papier-mache, paper, lithographed, wood, cloth


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