Paper magic, part I: Paper Theater

Some time ago we showed our selection of inspiring vintage toys, now it's time for another special thing, which gives a lot of joy since late 18th century - for little owners, as well as for adults. Tiny paper theaters - richly decorated scenes with illustrated sceneries, printed on paperboard and ready to assemble at home. It's not only a charming decoration, but also a kind of interactive toy, a great tool which can be used to play and to learn at the same time. That's why in some places paper teathers are still popularized and really appreciated. Older versions of theaters from previous centuries can be seen in toy museums, such as Toy Museum in Karpacz (Poland), where this paper scene is a part of collection of Henryk Tomaszewski (founder of Wroclaw Mime Theater):

Here's also an example of paper doll from the exhibition of Toy Museum in Roden (Netherlands):

A cradle of toy theaters is based in London, in Pollock's Toy Museum which is famous mainly because of this kind of toys. There is also the Pollock's Toy Shop where you can buy your own toy theater. Shop was originally established in the 1880s by its namesake, Benjamin Pollock - creator of paper teaters.

On this 1920 newsreel you can see how Mr. Pollock created his toy teathers:

Pollock's Toy Museum even prepared an app which gives an opportunity to create your own victorian "paper" teather - of course, digitally:

And even though the real charm of toy theatres is hidden in paperboards, from now, if you can't take your own paper theater with you, there's always a possibility to take an alternate, digital version.

Other great sources of images and infos about whole paper theaters and single elements - backgrounds, scenes, pieces:

50 Watts

This Pinterest feed with really good examples of toy theaters


Photos: Magdalena Koscianska (more about toy museums - here)






Posted: Sep 08, 2015 | Tagged: paper, retro, theatre, toys, video, vintage

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