Could the toy that is seen in the background on the portrait of Józef Mehoffer’s wife have been manufactured in one of the Myślenice workshops? The picture was painted in 1904. It reflects the scene from...
The tradition of manufacturing toys in the region of Myślenice started between World War I and World War II. An important place for manufacturing toys — even if it was for a short time — was Poręba and then the villages of Trzemeśnia, Łęki and Osieczany. Production was started by the three Witas brothers from Poręba...
In the past wood was the basic material used to manufacture toys, just like plastic is nowadays. Children were able to acquire toys in one of three ways: they could make them by themselves (among the exhibits from Małopolska’s Virtual Museums there is a bicycle made by a 12-year-old...
The year 1913 signalled the transition from theory to practice in Polish pattern-design, the origins of which date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Kraków, a group of artists, craftsmen and architects joined forces with the Society of Polish Applied Arts to create the Kraków Workshops Association.
This small bike made by a peasant boy for his younger brother has no pedals or brakes – it is suitable only for downhill riding... We should pay attention to its construction – an indication of creativity and imagination. A two-wheeled bike with a frame of two wooden slats and handlebars made from a debarked stick.
A unfolding case used for playing backgammon, chess and so-called “Polish draughts” is an example of the activity of workshops operating in Eger in the 17th and at the beginning of the 18th centuries. Their works enjoyed popularity in Europe at that time, due to their interesting designs and unique method of colourful relief intarsia applied for ornamentation.
Tadeusz Seweryn (1894–1975) — Director of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków — describes this bike in the scientific catalogue sheet as follows: ”A bike made of wood by a cattleman, Franciszek Gucwa. The full wheels (spokeless) are connected with wooden ploughs. The front one has handlebars, heavily fitted with iron at the place where it is connected to the axis of the bike.
This wooden steam train was made by Tadeusz Matusiak in the German prison camp, Luckenwalde (Stalag III-A), in 1944. Tadeusz Matusiak, who was born in Kęty in 1907, was a house painter by profession; from an early age, he painted pictures and carved in wood with great passion. He was a very talented artist.
A cart pulled by wheeled horses or rocking horses used to be one of the most favourite toys for children. Nowadays, it is coming back to store shelves in a fashionable and ecological design. This wooden cart is part of a larger collection of toys from the museum in Myślenice and the object used to present the history of folk toy manufacturing in general. Folk toys are more than merely usable items as all of them have their own history and all members of a family were engaged in the production process. They were made mainly by peasants in the winter time, when they were able to carve toys because of less agricultural work.
In the 19th century and up to the mid-20th century, Kraków was a major centre of the folk toy industry. This was because during winter (when bricklaying ceased), the masons of the suburbs of Kraków: Zwierzyniec, Krowodrza, Czarna Wieś, Ludwinów and Podgórze (which was a separate town until 1915) could earn extra money by building and selling cribs, as well as going carolling with puppet nativity scenes. They were also engaged in the production of popular toys to be later sold during annual spring fairs.
A toy cart, or actually a platform on wheels with holes to thread a pulling cord through and 31 figurines arranged on it, rocking while the toy is pulled. The whole toy, including the platform and the figurines, is made of polychrome wood. The rectangular platform with its bevelled corners and wheels are painted green. The edges are coated with white, yellow and pink paint, and the spokes are marked with yellow, blue and red.