This toy shows a cowboy riding a horse. If you wind up the clockwork mechanism, the horse starts to move. You can explore how the toy works and see how it moves with our friends at Culture Street.
'Cowboys and Indians' was a popular theme for toys in the 1960s and 1970s as 'Westerns' - stories about the American Wild West with cowboys and Native Americans (as 'Indians' are now called) - were popular with film and television audiences.
Cowboys were often paired with Native Americans, and you can see this toy's Native American partner on Show Me.
Things to think about...
Why do you think wind up mechanisms were used in toys? Can you think of other ways toys can be powered?
Our friends at Culture Street have a wide range of resources relating to this tin toy and their other findings at the V&A Museum of Childhood.
- Teachers notes relating to KS2
- An online activity which demonstrates the mechanisms of the toy
- A video introducing the toy (What we found)
- A video showing how the toy works (How it works)
- An interview with Esther Lutman, the curator of the museum
- A Q and A with the Director, Rhian Harris
- More information about the V&A Museum of Childhood
- The horse and rider are of lithographed tinplate cast in two halves along the length and held by tongue and slot joints. The rider and the horse's legs are separately attached. The horse is brown with red; yellow; white; blue and black trim. The ears are of dark brown rubber and the reins an orange thread. The rider represents a cowboy and is pink with light and dark blue; white; yellow; red; green and orange. The integral key is under the body of the horse which houses the clockwork mechanism. When wound the horse springs up and down and tosses the rider about. *HAJI in a lozenge shape with MADE IN JAPAN printed on the left top of the saddle. Mansei Toys was established in 1951.
- This toy shows a cowboy riding a horse. If you wind up the clockwork mechanism, the horse starts to move. You can explore how the toy works and see how it moves with our friends at Culture Street.