In the book: “Fernand Martin Toymaker in Paris 1878-1912” this figure is depicted on page 127 with number 188 in two versions called: “Le Charbonnier” and “Le Fort De La Halle”
In the book “The History of Martin Mechanical Toys” from Frédéric Marchande on page 109 he writes that there must also be two versions.
And here is example of another name that is depicted in the magazine Soleil Du Dimanche 03-12-1905.
This time, in a article written by Léo Claretie (a good friend of Fernand Martin ) and now he is named: Le porteur de farine. So we have now three different names.
I personally think that there is originally only 1 version because:
-The figures In the book: “Fernand Martin Toymaker in Paris 1878-1912” they are exactly the same figures.
-In the book “The History of Martin Mechanical Toys” they are exactly the same to.
-In both books are the same figures only they carries the bag in a different way, but that is possible by just bending the arm slightly.
The bag is attached to the carrier by a string that runs through the hand.
There is a hole straight through the hand. (See the left hands on both photos from the Bertoia auctions), there is also a hole in his right hand, but there is a cane in it.
On the most pictures that I have seen, this toy carries the bag on his back for exemple:
-You can see that on the toy what is in the collection of the French museum Musée des arts and Métiers – Le cnam, (this toy was in a gift from Fernand Martin to the museum).
-A part of a picture from the magazine La Nature from 1902 pag. 13. (see picture below)
-In the magazine: Soleil Du Dimanche December 03-1905 ( see picture above)
-In the Englisch Illustrated Magazin number 34 Dec. 1905 (see picture below)
-The poster from 1902 (see below)
On an original box, the only I have seen at a toy market, the name was “Le Fort De La Halle”.
Until now I have never seen a “Le Charbonnier” or a coalman, it should be exactly the same as the “Le Fort De La Halle” but covered with black coal dust.
Presumably all the other names then “Le Fort De La Halle” were given in magazines, publications etc. by the writers themselves.
There may be a “but” and that is if Martin maybe made a one-off or a very little series of a black model especially for an exhibition, perhaps to see if the public reacts positively to it.
Another proof that the name: “Le Fort De La Halle” the original name is, you can see it on an original Fernand Martin advertising poster from 1902 (on this poster you can see him standing at the bottom right, left of the pianist) showing with the bag on his back, and no “Le Charbonnier” is pictured on this, in 1902, hot poster.
If someone has a picture/photo or box label with a another name than the “Le Fort De La Halle”, and or of the black model, please send me an email with, if possible, a photo.