Child’s play with old toys! – the most innocent and fun leisure of the human being

Child’s play with old toys! – the most innocent and fun leisure of the human being

According to info received by Portugal Post has introduced its version of Europa old stamps. In this issue, the topic relates to childhood, to the most innocent and fun leisure of the human being: Child's play! Materialized in many different objects, the Portugal Post covers a universe over one hundred years old ‒ a period which marks the beginning of the industrial production in Portugal. It includes toys from various collections ‒ Museum Carlos Machado in the Azores, the Toy Museum in Madeira, the Caramulo Museum and the Portuguese Toy Museum, in Ponte de Lima.

At the end of the 19th century, Portugal was an essentially rural country, focused on a rudimentary agriculture and without major technological ambitions. The production of toys intertwines with handmade production, seeing as these industries were formed mostly by people from the same family.

The raw materials with greater expression were wood and paper pulp, of which good examples are the toys produced by Agostinho de Oliveira da Costa Carneiro, whose children and grandchildren solidified the manufacture of toys in the north of the country, and those of Augusto de Sousa Martins who, in 1892, founded the factory "A Infantil".

In paper pulp, it is worth mentioning the production, in Lisbon, of A. Potier, engineer by profession, who, in the early 20th century, wrote a true treaty of pedagogy on the importance of toys in schools ‒ hence his toys revealing unique details. In the following decades, some tinplate manufacturers stand out in the north, like Luciano Moura, José Augusto Júnior and Adriano Lopes Coelho de Sousa. The registration of productions was often made with the initials of the manufacturer's name: LM, J.A.J. and, in the last mentioned case, his branding in the tinfoil toys materialized one of his names ‒ Coelho (rabbit).

In Portugal, disturbing political changes take place, the monarchy falls, the establishment of the Republic takes place and, until the 30s of the 20th century, the country is shrouded in permanent crises that harm industrial development. However, it is during this last decade that a revolution in the production of toys takes place and, besides the production in wood, paper pulp and tinplate, plastic production arises. The pioneer who started producing a fragile plastic was the Luso ‒ Celuloide company of Henriques & Irmão, Lda., founded in 1931 in Espinho. In the 50s, this company is dismantled giving way to OSUL and Hércules, two of the many companies that came to produce on a large scale for Portuguese overseas markets.

The existence of demand leads to the significant increase in production in all types of plastic and the geographical concentration of companies is now located at the centre of the country, where tradition in the manufacture of glass allows for an easy adaptation to this new kind of toy. Companies like Baquelite Liz, Faplana, Plásticos Santo António, UPLA and Nedina exported dolls, cars, trains, sewing machines, stoves and airplanes and the market absorbed it all. The north kept producing and J.A.J., which had now changed its name to JATO, and companies like Fabrinca and Soinca continued to manufacture wooden toys with high quality. Still in the north of Portugal, the biggest games company won a dimension that would last until very recently ‒ everyone knows Majora!

Portugal Post: Child’s play with old toys! First Day Cover

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