The first Martin toy: The real swimming fish

Martin started in 1875 with his first attempts to make toys but in 1878 the first real toy was a real swimming fish with patent number 128445 from Jan-01-1879

This Fish is about 19 cm / 7,5 inc long.

Courtesy: Toy Museum in Soltau Germany

In the early days Martin used a rubber band (elastic) as the drive.
By turning it on, the toy started to move.
The system consists mainly of a crank, a rubber band and a movement mechanism.
The drive mechanism was adjusted for each toy, such as up and down, right, left, spinning etc.

The first piece of Martin: the fish from 1878 Poisson Nageur and as you see Martin started with the product number 100

Page from the Catalog 1898 (from my personal collection)
Drawing Source La Nature : (Cnum – Digital Conservatory of Arts and Crafts –

The crank is in the nose, inside the fish is the rubber band and the mechanism is on the tail.

Parts: between the both hooks coms the rubber band, see below
This demo model is made with an original crank and the mechanism with the tail.

In this demo model you can see clearly the mechanism in operation,
By turning the crank and hold the tail, the rubber band is tightened (twisted)
The other side of the rubber band is hooked onto the movement mechanism, the tail.
When you release the tail again, the tail swings from right to left so that the illusion of swimming is simulated.
Simple but effective.

The only drawback is that the rubber band can age and then break quickly.
If it breaks, the hook and mechanism will fall off and mostly get lost.

Martin sold the patent for a swimming fish with a rubber band engine to the Englisch company Cremer Dolls Toys Games 210 Regent street London and that was the beginning of his fortune, he started in 1880 his first factory.

Courtesy: Pook & Pook with Noel Barrett

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