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British Soldiers

toy soldier | play set

The first known toy soldiers appeared centuries ago in ancient Egypt. Early military miniatures, made of wood, stone, clay, or tin, reached a relatively limited audience. By the late 18th century, however, toy manufacturers began to produce toy soldiers in mass quantities, primarily made of lead or composition (a mixture of sawdust and glue). The "little men" depicted the armies of England, America, France, Germany, and their opponents, encouraging youngsters to engage in play that had creative, educational, and patriotic qualities. After World War II, miniature, intricately painted plastic soldiers made their debut, launching the toy soldier to new heights of popularity. For many, collecting the tiny soldiers has become a hobby; some avid collectors have amassed thousands of the miniature figures.

  • Material: molded plastic | paint
  • Origin: England
  • Object ID: 113.4142
  • Credit Line: Gift of Marcia and David Gitelman
Creative Commons License