Difference between: La Casseuse D’assiettes / Madelon Casseuse D’assiettes.

This very beautiful toy was first produced by Fernand Martin’s successor, Mr. Georges Flersheim.
In the late 1920s, approximately around 1928, these toys were produced again in a slightly modified form by Georges Flersheim’s successor Mr. Victor Bonnet
The height of both versions is approximately 19 cm / 7,5 inch

The differences are mainly in:
Georges Flersheim version is named: La Casseuse D’assiettes
Produced from 1913
Product number 233
A characteristic Flersheim key
Produced in a red and blue version

Victor Bonnet version is named: Madelon Casseuse D’assiettes.
Produced from around 1928
Product number 260
The body is no longer hand-lacquered, only her face and hat with bow are hand-lacquered.
A distinctive Victor Bonnet key
Got cloth clothes

Christmas catalogue: Samaritaine 1929-1930

The number of dishes and the color of the dishes may differ depending on the version.
Georges Flersheim’s version only had “white” dishes.
Various color versions of the plates were found in the Victor Bonnet version.

  • Only “white” dishes.
  • “White” dishes with a “red” dish on top attached to the rod
  • Dishes in “red” with gold-colored stars as decoration
  • Dishes in “red” with gold-colored dots as decoration

The bottom dish that is attached to the hands is colored “white” in the Flersheim version, in the Bonnet version it is “white” and features a red factory logo with the text VB&CIE PARIS MADE IN FRANCE

‘La Casseuse d’Assiettes’ was inspired by a comic strip featuring a girl called Becassine.
The comic strip was first published ‘La Semaine de Suzette’ (February 1905), a weekly edition for girls and very soon Becassine became a French icon.
In 1913 Flersheim made her into a fantastic toy but he was not allowed to use the name Becassine because it had been registered as a trademark in 1910.
I found a book: La Semaine de Suzette with the first 26 weekly numbers of 1914, in this book the publisher placed advertisements, in which he sold ‘Becassine Casseuse d’Assiettes’ at 2.90 Francs, without naming Flersheim.

Book: “la Semaine de Suzette”, from 1914 10-ième année – Premier semestre 
Advertising 1 Bécassine 001 from “la Semaine de Suzette” No. 9 – 2 avril 1914 ( 10-ième annéé)
Advertising 2 Bécassine 001 from “la Semaine de Suzette”No. 11 – 16 avril 1914

Advertising 1
Advertising 2

Below you can see two patents about this toy, the first is the France patent with number 458560 of Mai 29 -1913 and the second is the German patent with number 270852 of July 13 – 1913, on the patent drawings you can see how complicated and ingenious the mechanism is. If you look at the mechanism from the inside you will also see solidity.

Part of the French patent
Part of the German patent

The Box:

The differences between the box of the Flersheim version and the Bonnet version are clearly visible

The top of the box of the Flersheim version
The inside of the box of the Flersheim version
The top of the box of the Bonnet version
The inside of the top of the box of the Bonnet version

The operation is as follows: after turning the mechanism, the figure vibrates forward, after a short time the dishes are thrown into the air and the figure falls backwards. Then the dishes must be gathered together again, placed on the support rod and the rod with the dishes must be pushed back into the bottom dish that is fixed between the hands.

Courtesy Greg DeSanto : International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center

Carl Bagessen, born in 1858 in Denmark.
In 1895 he was a contortionist at Cirque Rancy in Lyon, under the name “Corkscrew Man”.
He also had a comedy act very similar to our toy in action where he drops a huge pile of plates on the floor.
For twenty years, Bagessen brought this act to all the variety theaters in the world.

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