Fernand Martin: The sweeping lady- “Ma Portière”

The first Martin of the “bonhommes” series from the second Fernand Martin period (1895 -1912) with number 147 and produced from 1895

From my own collection

The very first examples were produced with the famous “rubber band” mechanism.
Later they were executed with a “clockwork mechanism” they are easy to keep apart.
The model with the rubber band has the handle on top of the head to turn on, the model with the clockwork mechanism has the well-known Martin key on the back.
The difference can of course also be seen at the bottom when you look for the kind of mechanism.

Toys from the collection of the Toy Museum Soltau (“Spielmuseum Soltau”) in Germany

The rubber band model has two different places where it can be marked, one is a tin / lead seal against the metal skirt with the FM symbol on it.
The other is marked with an embossed FM logo against a bracket underneath the skirt.
The clockwork mechanism model is not marked she only has a Fernand Martin key.

Top left with lead seal–below left embrossed–right two differend Martin keys

The rubber band mechanism basically consists of three separate parts, the handle, the elastic and the movement part.
If the rubber band breaks, the mechanism will fall out at the bottom and the wind-up liver at the top so they may have been lost over the years.

Model with the rubber band mechanism Source: La Nature (Cnum – Digital Conservatory of Arts and Crafts – http://cnum.cnam.fr)

Two different boxes are known, with and without numbering, but on both boxes the “Ma Portiere” is equipped with a winding handle visible on the head, so the “first” version.
It is therefore not entirely clear when the boxes with or without a number were issued exactly.
Also striking is that in the catalog from 1898 the drawing was numberd left above. (see the first image at the top of this blog)

The first version is therefore with a “rubber band” drive, with this version you can clearly see the winding handle on top of the head.
The versions thereafter received the winding mechanism, but in the first copies the hole on the top of the head was sealed with a round plate.
Later versions have been given a head without a hole or plate.

Another separate component is the weight mounted on the left shoulder, meant as a counterweight for the movement of the mechanism.
The other counterweight is under the skirt at the end of the mechanism.

The mechanism moves her upper body from right to left.
If the movement to the right or left is at its end, the mechanism will be forced again by the two counterweights to move to the other side, so it looks like she is sweeping the floor. 

Very nice and realistic.

See also my previous blog: The Ma Portiere as a piece of art? https://fernandmartintoys.nl/the-ma-portiere-as-a-piece-of-art/

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