The A. Schoenhut Co.ca. 1915?

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

Born into a family of toy makers in Wurtenberg, Germany, Albert Schoenhut (1848-1912) adopted the family trade at a young age. As a teenager, Schoenhut learned how to make toy pianos. Before long others began to notice the young man's talent. In 1866 John Dahl, a buyer for the American department store Wanamaker's, brought the 17-year-old Schoenhut to Philadelphia, where he worked as a repairman for toy pianos imported from Germany. Rather than strings, the hammers in these early toy pianos struck glass sounding bars-fragile components susceptible to damage during overseas voyages. By the time Schoenhut struck out his own and formed the Schoenhut Piano Company (later the A. Schoenhut Company) in 1872, he had redesigned the toy piano, replacing the glass parts with durable steel bars. Toy pianos remained a signature Schoenhut product, though over time the company's inventory expanded to include various toys and games, such as other musical instruments, dolls and dollhouses, circus figures, and rolly-dolls. By Schoenhut's death in 1912, the company had become the biggest toy manufacturer in the United States, and the first to export to Germany. Though the original A. Schoenhut Company went out of business in 1935, Schoenhut's sons began their own companies and carried on the family legacy. Though no longer owned by the family, Schoenhut toy pianos remain in production today.

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  • Title: Rolly-doll:Child
  • Creator: The A. Schoenhut Co.
  • Date Created: ca. 1915?
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Subject Keywords: child, girl
  • Type: Baby and Toddler Toys
  • Medium: papier-mache, oil paint, enamel, varnish
  • Object ID: 78.3475