Le pantin (The Harlequin) in two versions

Fernand Martin has made two versions of these Harlequin figures
These figures were very popular with the children at the end of the 1800s
You could buy these figures from department stores, smaller toy stores, market halls and from street vendors.

picture of a collector plate

These Harlekijn dolls were for sale in various materials such as fabrics, wood and by Martin in the tin plate version

The first one he made was quite early in his career.
In 1882 he made an approximately 22.5 cm (8 ¾ ”) figure, and is called “Le Pantin Mecanique”
It is found in two color varieties in blue and in red
The special thing about this figure is that it has two faces, one at the front and one at the back
The mechanic was by a rubber band drive
In the museum in Paris Musée des arts and Métiers – Le cnam, the red one can be found, it was in the gift from Fernand Martin to the Museum
As the photos of the museum contain a copyright, I cannot show it here, but a digital visit to the site is worth looking at, see this link:
enter the keyword “Fernand Martin” at “rechercher”.
The photo you can find at number 0001664-143

Here the blue one, the photos are from the : front – side – back
You can see that the front and back are both with a face
Photos with thanks to the Toy Museum Soltau (“Spielmuseum Soltau”) in Germany

The second version was made from 1896, so in the second period of Fernand Martin.
The product number is 152 and the name is “L’assiette Au Beurre Et Le Pantin”
This is also known so far in two color varieties in Blue / red and in Red / blue
It is quite small and only around 10 cm (4”) in size, the drive is here through a pull rope
If you pull this, the arms and legs start to move, Lehmann also had a similar effect with his well-known Climbing monkey.
This figure does have a clear front and back

Left the Le Pantin with box from the Toy Museum Soltau (“Spielmuseum Soltau”) in Germany collection, the other two photos courtesy of Michael Bertoia Auctions

Both figures are extremely rare to find.

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