The Martin toy bicycle

Séraphin Fernand Martin1888

Musée des arts et métiers

Musée des arts et métiers

The 120 or so pieces in the museum's "Martin toy" collection are a precious illustration of how people played and enjoyed themselves in the Belle Époque. Séraphin Fernand Martin (1849-1919) made these small objects, which are representative of daily life at the time and feature various themes — news, entertainment, occupations (The Courageous Pitsawyers, The Eminent Lawyer) — or attest to technical progress (The Martin Bicycle), while others are more anecdotal (The Spider and the Fly, The Devil in the Box, The Ostrich, The Martin Bear). At first rubber bands or small lead pellets powered the toys, but later they were given simple clockwork mechanisms enabling them to imitate the movements of people and animals.

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  • Title: The Martin toy bicycle
  • Creator: Séraphin Fernand Martin
  • Date: 1888
  • Date Created: 1888
  • Location: France
  • Provenance: Musée des arts et métiers
  • Subject Keywords: Automate / Jouet / Mécanique / Belle Epoque
  • Type: Alliage ferreux
  • Inventory number: Inv. 14177-0036-001
  • Credits: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Michèle Favareille