Jumping jack | mechanical toy

ca. 1970s

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

A simple toy of five pieces and string, the jumping jack crosses a puppet with a doll or paper doll. The jumping jack consists of a torso and head with four limbs attached in a manner that allows the arms and legs to swing. A tug on the string that connects the fasteners holding the limbs in place moves the arms and legs in unison. The origins of jumping jacks are not clear, though the toy has been found in Eastern and Western cultures for centuries. Mechanical toys like jumping jacks have been found at archeological sites of ancient Egypt. A relative familiar with carpentry could easily produce the toy for a child, and the jumping jack may have been one handmade item that many children of the 18th and 19th centuries played with. Modern versions, those hand-crafted and mass produced, remain popular to this day.

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  • Title: Jumping jack | mechanical toy
  • Date Created: ca. 1970s
  • Subject Keywords: jester
  • Type: Mechanical Toys, More Toys
  • Medium: plastic, printed paper, string
  • Object ID: 112.1019
  • Credit Line: Gift of Theresa Fletcher