In 1885, Fernand Martin made a bell ringer, Martin number 14, and calling him “Le Sonneur Endiable”,
It is a very early and fun toy.
But maby the George Flersheim factory took it more then 30 years later and re-released it with a few changes.
They renamed him “Je Sonne La Paix” and it got number 246
The “Je Sonne La Paix” is in English: “I ring [for] the peace“, in other words “I ring [to celebrate] the peace” referring the celebration of the end of the WW1 on November 11- 1918, in which Flersheim himself fought and died.
If you look quickly, you see almost no differences but they are indeed there.
Here the differences in detail:
-the Martin version (14) has the FM name stamped on top of the base plate in the Flersheim version (246) no text is stamped on top of this base, but there is a piece of fabric on the side with the name “Je Sonne La Paix” printed on it.
-If you look at both toys at the bottom, you see, under the male figure at the Martin (14) , an elongated piece of iron mounted as a weight and at the Flersheim (246) a solid plate is soldered and stamped the round FM logo on it.
-The Martin version (14) has a rubber band drive, that of Flersheim (246) a long spiral spring in the pole.
-At the top there is a French flag at Flersheim (246), for this a hollow pipe has been placed in the roof for the iron flagpole with a fabric French flag.
-The roof has also been given a slightly different relief.
-The bell has also been given a slightly slender shape by George Flersheim
Has it been proven to be produced by Flersheim?
We are not sure but the future will tell.
But since there are too many modifications to this toy from the original from 1885, I still think it was made professionally and not by diligent home craftsmen.
It is currently the last piece that is still numbered.
It is certain that after the death of George Flersheim some unnumbered toy pieces were produced, time will tell which and how much.
And it is strange that this number 246 has been used twice.
Under this number by Victor Bonnet in 1919, his first produced toy is also numbered 246, it is the “Le Auto Transport”.
The images / pictures used are with courtesy of Michael Bertoia and from the own collection