Part three -Les Joujoux

This is part three of a series of five, a free translation of a part of the book LES JOUJOUX written by Mr. Pierre Calmettes in 1924.

If you haven’t read part one or two yet, click this link(s):

The fabrics are cut with a small mold cutter and the sleeves of the suits are not sewn together, to simplify the work they make tubes of fabric several meters long, we make meters and meters of them, and when they costume connected they are first cut into pieces and use, they are cut in a few seconds to the size of the arms to be covered.

The mechanical figures are dressed so quickly that the eye can hardly follow them in the hands of the seamstresses; they take them naked to the left and they go to the right covered with their pants and their jacket, or their dress and their bodice.

Provided the clothes hold up, we don’t look at the size of these points.

Neat stitching would not match the relative durability of this toy.

These mechanical toys must be popular toys, it is by their final appearance that they are funny and precious, by their gestures, by their attitude and it makes little difference whether their resource has an intrinsic value or not.

The brown bear “L’ Ours Martin” version with the lacquered head made in the George Flersheim period.

Whether these dolls represent a clown walking on hands, a firefighter climbing a ladder, a pianist beating a piano, a violinist playing his violin, or a carpenter sawing wood, they are all dressed in coarse fabrics hastily put together.

But when they indulge in their debauchery, these automata are fun and picturesque, they have everything you need to please kids, and if they were luxuriously dressed it might be much less fun for the children.

In addition, the simplification of their costumes allows for the most unexpected transformations of the same articulated carcasses.

By changing the uniform of a French police officer into an English police officer.

We turn an American shoe shiner into a Parisian shoe shiner, the soldiers dress, according to the orders, with all the allied uniforms and with the same skeleton we can also make other effects, you could turn them into for example an African singer, a soldier Annamite (a soldier from Vietnam), an Eskimo or Indian.

The clothes, the color of the skin and the hair are different, but the gears that drive them are the same.

And what also does not differ is the number of operations that have to be performed, one after the other, to convert the iron sheets taken from the rolling mills into moving toys.

The pianist

One of the most complicated subjects prepared in the Martin workshops is the pianist, hairy and suitably dressed, he strikes his piano with a tempo worthy of the composers Bauer, Pugno or Paderewski.

Sixty-two parts are needed for the assembly and it goes through two hundred and twenty hands before it is finished.

The cop (les Agents) with the white bat, which was topical a few years ago, claimed the care of one hundred and twenty-seven hands, engaged in one hundred and twenty-seven consecutive operations or steps.

We followed this cop on our first walk through the factory, we saw it go into the steam cutters with the iron blades at the entrance and we saw it come out of the shop, locked in beautiful cardboard boxes, colored in blue and red, the colors of the city of Paris.

The cop is out of fashion, but figures are still being made in the factory that resemble it anatomically. They are simply dressed in different costumes and given newer names.

To us, the amiable director of the workshops was kind enough to let us follow through the sequence of operations of this good cop who has occasionally become a faithful guardian of our Parisian streets.

The torsos and heads are punched into two parts after cutting, which will meet during assembly.

These pieces are cut from pieces of black iron for the torsos and copper for the heads.

After stamping, a special machine evens out the burrs, drills the holes for mounting the body on the legs, the mechanism in the body and the head above the mechanism.

This consists of springs, gears, a regulating exhaust and two “cranks”. These “crutches” are one of the inventor’s finds.

They make the cop move according to the immutable rules of military marching, that is, by jerky gestures.

It is these “crutches” that, lifted in turn by the engine and leaning on the ground, push the body forward, the body is in balance.

Assembled, the little cop has a good set up.

The gears are carefully oiled and then checked successively by the clockwork makers and experts. These allow only the toys with perfect movement and balance to the go dyeing.

Accepted by the review committee, the agents are brought in trays of fifty for the workers who paint two hundred a day.

This Les Agent (The Cop) you can see in the Toy Museum in Soltau Germany

An cop uniform consists of: trousers, a tunic, a cape and a cap.

We dress the figures in batches of fifty.

Regular clothing requires the use of a foot of fabric, cut into three parts, which fit together with wide seams.

The three buttons and the decorations on the jacket, cut from silver paper, are attached to the jacket by the glue machines.

It is also they who put the black paper belt and add the gold paper buckle.

The cap, stamped at the same time as the head, in the same piece of metal, is colored black, red and white.

To complete the uniform, all you need to do is glue a cardboard hand to the bottom of the left sleeve that floats, without a metal arm. to be completed in one hour. When fully clothed, the cops are sent back to the controlling keywind clockwork makers.

Read next time further in part 4

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