This is a very early toy from 1885
Length approx. 17,8 cm/ 7 inches
Height approx. 12,5 cm/ 5 inches
No final product number is known for this toy.
In the book by Lourens Bas : Toymaker in Paris 1878 – 1912 he is listed under number 16 on page 45 but we now know that the numbering of the “first” period is completely different, see my article https://fernandmartintoys.nl/the-numbering-of-the-fernand-martin-first-period-who-can-help-me/
It has long remained unknown how this toy looked like but an article written by Renaud Fournier in the Antique Toy World Magazine of december 2016 mentions that one copy was found at a French auction, but a second copy has since been found at a French auction at Galerie de Chartres January 2022 at Le Coudray.
This toy is very fragile and both found pieces have missing parts such as broken hands, arms and heads.
These toys also appear not to be made of cardboard, as is stated in the book by Lourens Bas: Toymaker in Paris 1878 – 1912, but of tinplate and cast metal.
The front is lithographed and the back is blank tinplate.
The whole rests on two transverse strips.
The three figures are flexibly mounted on a rod.
On the front is written at the top the word Massacre and at the bottom in small FM Bté S.G.D.G. Paris Modele Déposé.
In the past, this toy will have been delivered in a box with one or more small balls to try to knock over one or more of the three figures.
The figures are a devil, a polichinelle and a pierrot made of cast metal.
We are not yet 100% sure from catalog images or the sales box whether this is really a Martin, but there are a few indications that this is a Martin:
- the reuse of the devil figure in the Le Jeu De Force from 1884 and the Le Diable En Boîte from 1890.
- the text : FM Bté S.G.D.G. Paris Modele Déposé, which can also be found practically written in the same way on other toys from that time such as the Les Joyeux Danseurs and the Les Courageux Scieurs De Long….
Photos of the toy: Jeu De Massacre, courtesy Renaud Fournier and Galerie de Chartres