a free translation of the article from the magazin: LE PETIT JOURNAL from January 1 1914
NEW YEAR’S DAY TOYS are the cheerfulness of the boulevards and the joy of Parisian children New Year’s Day is the occasion of official receptions and family celebrations, but what, especially in Paris, characterizes the New Year’s celebrations, is the animation that does not cease to reign on the boulevards, where the adjacent small market stalls that amaze the children and therefore many parents are interested.
This year, the number of these outdoor shops has fallen slightly due to the regulation banning so-called “spinner” lotteries.
We know that the same regulation also suppressed open-air markets, known as “flea markets”, which were held in different neighborhoods, notably in Les Halles around January 1.
On the other hand, the crowds on the boulevards this year are even bigger than the previous ones.
Perhaps this rise can be attributed to the disappearance of the huts and fairground attractions in the peripheral districts and the outer avenues where the festival boulevard de Belleville continues.
From the Madeleine to the Bastille, the small industrialists offer their passers-by real wonders of ingenuity, and you could say ‘in spirit, in innovation, and the eyes never tire of admiration. It is thanks to competitions they have encountered from various quarters and official encouragement for their personal initiative that toy manufacturers have been able to make progress in their industry, allowing them to present toys to the public that are, as they say, scientific because they are step to follow modern developments.
We were able to judge ourselves by taking advantage of the beautiful dry weather yesterday and. cold, which the previous days had certainly not foreseen, to take a walk on the boulevards.
And, like children, we had a brief review of the Toy of the Year, “Parisian Items” that are universally known.
The first thing that strikes us is not the least amusing, it is a barber with a very thick coat who shampoos a brave man of Bartholomew who could rival the crime with the best polished parquet in our museums.
This toy is called, as it should be, the “Barber of Seville”.(MARTIN NUMBER 196- L’ARTISTE CAPILLAIRE) –
The grimaces of the client being rubbed are nothing compared to those of a chimpanzee who, on an elastic rope, like the monkey in the fable, dances and moves at best, then flips.
This “four-handed” is more convenient but no more graceful than a red bear, its neighbor, elegantly dancing a tango.
What still attracts attention is a boxing match in which the champions perform the most daring and perhaps the most forbidden punches in the ring. “Sports are moreover worthily represented; Billiards, where the player makes an admirable pileup at each stroke; the shooting of a Mexican hunter”
Finally, skating performed by a skating enthusiast whose roller skates are a masterpiece of precision. (MARTIN NUMBER 229 LE PETIT PATINEUR) –
The latter, reproduced in one of our photos, is a great success.
But the pinnacle of sports toys is “Looping the loop”.
This toy consists of an evolved monoplane held in place by a wire and “walk the loop” on three occasions with an ease admirably reminiscent of Adolphe Pégoud’s prowess. (Adolphe Pégoud. This 24-year-old Frenchman had given aviation a new dimension: that of aerobatics.)
Walkers talk about this toy, just as they talk about the little washing-up girl (MARTIN NUMBER 233 – LA CASSEUSE D’ASSIETTES) who takes three steps and then drops her plates with an awkwardness as funny as Baggessen’s. (Baggessen is a comedian whose hilarious jokes spontaneously make you laugh)
It would take too long to list all the new toys, let’s just mention other toppers: the jockey who brings back the Mona Lisa (MARTIN NUMBER 225 VOLEUR DE LA JOCONDE), on a mountain the duelists, the violinist (FERNAND MARTIN NUMBER 160 LE GAI VIOLONIST) and the pianist (FERNAND MARTIN NUMBER 189 LE PETIT PIANISTE), two funny little toys that we also recognized.
Finally, the “Triple Entente”, (agreement on the alliance formed in 1907 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Third French Republic and the Empire of Russia after the signing of the Treaty of Saint Petersburg.)
A patriotic toy , representing France and Russia and greeting England. In addition to these trendy toys, there are other, but less numerous, toys from yesteryear
Here and there we have encounters with externally pleasing adults, for whom these evoke memories of their childhood and certain children who do not seem to long for others. It gave us the opportunity to witness a scene that was moving in its simplicity: a girl of about six years old, who was with a relative who, on the boulevards, refused all the beautiful gifts they offered her. – No not that! neither! She said repeatedly. – What do you want?
The child did not answer.
Suddenly, she rushed to a small merchant whose sales stand was installed on a basket. – That is what I want ! she said.
This merchant sold simple little classic dolls for thirteen cents, dolls despised by certain little girls, perhaps influenced by their young brothers, but dolls with a quality that proves that these dolls still have lovers.
And there are, thank goodness! numerous enough to keep trade prosperous.
And yet, the fact is, the “doll” no longer reigns indisputably in the stalls of the small barracks of the boulevards.
A trade that has nothing to do with the entertainment of childhood, and which is already prosperous, because it conquered the right of the city among the Parisians thanks to the “prefect of the police”, is that of point protectors intended for hat pins.
One of the small stands where they are sold, decorated with a sign in large letters, is under siege by many women and girls.
A little further on we pass a saleswoman who stands by shelves full of beautiful “New Year’s Eve” books, books with scarlet covers and gilded edges.
We ask him if the sale is going well. – No, she said to us, the time has passed when as a child I even helped my dad who ran all this small booth and we struggled to satisfy the enthusiastic customers.
But today’s kids, once they leave the cradle, only dream of sports.
It is the active life, they say, the modern life that wants that. We have to bow to this.
And with regrets about the past, the trader tells us an anecdote from that past.
About fifteen years ago, a child eagerly looking at the promising display was noticed by a man who invited him to choose a book he liked and gave him this book as a present.
The donor left, but after some hesitation, the child decided to sell the book back to the stand keeper.
This woman was outraged and blamed the child for his trading instincts.
The child then bursts into tears and admits that in the midst of his joy at having a wonderful educational book, he had thought of his sick mother, bedridden in a room without a stove.
And the child – so had tried – to cash in on his gift to buy medicine for his mother. – And there you have it, the merchant concludes philosophically, this is how books not only shape the minds, but also the hearts of children!