Le Petite Pianiste

Martin number: 189

First production in 1902

Dimensions: 13.5 X 15.5 cm / 5,3 inch 6,1 inch

A very nice toy with movement and music. After winding up, the pianist moves his hands from left to right over the keyboard and a piece of music sounds. Even our grandchildren can watch and listen with pleasure to this special piece of history.

This Le Petite Pianiste won a prize in 1901 during the first major Concours Lepine in Paris, during this competition Fernand Martin bought the rights from the inventor Mr. Bosquet, Martin then produced it himself and sales started in 1902. 

Source: BNF Gallica Bulletin des lois de la République Française January 01-1903
Picture from the original 1908 catalog

From the Le Petite  Pianiste are two versions that do not differ on the outside, the difference is in the melody, one for the French-speaking market and one for the English-speaking market.  

French song: J’ai du bon tabac

Englisch song: God save the King

There is also a very rare version known, the pianist is a woman, I have seen one on the internet, it was part of an collection of an American collector, and the second known was owned by a friend of mine and is currently on display in the toy museum in Germany in the city ​​of Soltau. Even if this version is not an original, it turned out very well.

Courtesy “Spielzeugmuseum” Soltau Germany

We see Le petit pianiste with and without hair, it could be that in the later years the competition with the German toy import became too high and cutbacks had to be made, on many toys were cut backs like cheaper material, fewer handling in the production, fewer parts and presumably the wig disappeared from this pianist.

The cuts were not big, but you can also see that with the labels on the boxes, they became smaller, which is a very small cut, but given the very large production, it was ultimately a big cut. less storage, less paper and less glue.

assembling the piano

Both pictures from: The English illustrated magazin dec. 1905

applying the hair to the pianist
Inside vieuw, picture from the magazine Femina december 12- 1902

At the time, this pianist was already a lot more expensive than other Martin toys, this had to do with the very complex mechanism, which meant that not only the material costs, but especially the labor costs, were a lot higher. But when I see how many are left, he must have sold well.

look at the prices. Magazine : Revue des Nouveautés January 1910

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