Ragged Soldier Sutlery and Vintage Volumes

Generally in Alphabetical Order but with Some Obvious Placement of a Couple of Categories at the Top




Dolls & Accessories

Articles: Virginia's Veranda

About Us & Picture

Books, Modern

Books, 19th Century Reproductions


Craft Supplies & Sundries


Dolls & Accessories

DVD about Emma Edmonds


Needlework Necessities and Novelties

Parlor Games & Entertainments

School Supplies

Sundries and Craft Supplies

Tin Soldiers


Wholesale Information

Order Form

Ordering Information

Contact Us

Speaking and Consulting

About the Toys

A note to potential buyers: One of our suppliers has started the practice of using a heat branding process to burn the name of the company into the wooden toys. We are trying to get unbranded toys but, if they come with the brand already in place and you need "clean" toys for a historic setting, it can be removed with some sandpaper. We leave this up to the customer since, in some situations, the brand is inoffensive.

Children of all time period have had toys but many of the toys in the nineteenth century were made by mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, other relatives and friends, or the children themselves. Materials and constuction techniques would usually be considered simple today and levels of realism varied quite a bit, often requiring the addition of considerable imagination to treat a created object as the intended toy. Purchased toys were a rarity for many children. Many toys for sale were originally made by other craftsmen, e.g., a wood carver or tinsmith, as an amusement or sideline. However, after the civil war the wealth of the world economy, improved transportation and increased world commerce saw toymaking flourish as a product manufactured in factories devoted only to that product.

Most toys made before and during the time of the civil war were made of wood, paper, cloth, or leather. This factor, combined with the simplicity of the majority of toys, meant that, when a toy was outgrown or damaged, it frequently was thrown out or cast into the fire. Surviving samples are few in number so often our information comes from painting, engravings, or advertisements. Diaries are another potential source of information but children, as a rule, are indifferent keepers of regular entries in diaries. Even narratives prepared later by the original participants suffer from the clouds of time and the shifting of events in the memory.

Using available resources, we have documented the toys shown here as best we could. A portion of that documentation is shown with the discussion of each toy. However, if anyone wishes to explore an individual toy in greater depth, they can contact us directly. Likewise, there are a scant handful of toys we include that we are still searching for a credible reference. However, we have included them, usually under the "possible and probable" rule, because they are so much in keeping with the attitudes of the time period. Such toys are identified as lacking solid documentation.

The information provided about the history of the toys shown here is provided free. Shameless plug!! If you wish to purchase a toy like the ones shown, make your purchase from Ragged Soldier Sutlery as a show of appreciation for the research that has gone into this site. We can use the money to do additional research and explore other toys and games. To read our information and then make a purchase elsewhere does not assist our research efforts. End of shameless plug!

Reproduction Toys

ToyShort DescriptionPrice
Ball & Cup Ball and Cup was a popular game, especially during the 1850's. This is a simple to use version consisting of a wooden cup on a handle with a ball attached by a string. A similar but larger version is in the children's room at the Arlington House. $ 8.35
Bilbo Catcher Another version of the ball and cup, this type is shown in illustrations from the mid-nineteenth century. The ball can be caught either in the bowl or by catching a hole in the ball on the spike.$ 9.25
Bones Originally made from bones of animals, these musical instruments became a common instrument in minstrel shows. These sets are made from wood. $ 10.75
Bull Roarer An ancient noise-making device known in many cultures as far back as ancient Egypt. As it lost its spiritual importance, it became another way children could delight in making noise. When you swing it around, it makes a sound like an airplane. For an idea of what it sounds like, a similar design was used in the movie Crocodile Dundee 2.$ 6.70
Buzz SawSometimes called a horizontal top or water cutter, this toy is a disc with strings going through two holes. When you pull on the strings, the disc spins. If you then relax the strings, the disc rewinds to spin again. Known in America from at least the colonial period. $ 5.00
DrumA small version of the field drums used by soldiers in controlling their movements. Marching Drum
$ 28.35
Field Drum
$ 35.00
FlapjackAn acrobatic toy consisting of a jointed figure suspended from two strings. When the strings are tightened by squeezing the toy at the bottom, the acrobat swings up and over the strings.$ 6.70
Flying Machine Flying toys of this type date from the 16th century. By rubbing the center shaft between the hands, the propeller on top makes the toy fly.$ 4.20
Jacob's LadderThis was known as a Sabbath toy because it could be played with on Sunday due to its Biblical reference. The blocks almost magically flip over when held on the end and the toy can also be used to form "pictures." This set has eight panels and includes an instruction sheet.$ 8.35
Jaw HarpA simple musical instrument of the time period.$ 6.25
Jumping JackOut of Stock. We are looking for a new supplier. This is a jointed toy in the shape of Humpty-Dumpty. When you pull a string hanging below, the figure jumps around while swinging its arms and legs.$ TBD
Jump RopeA jump rope made of twisted yucca hemp roap with wooden handles on the ends. No synthetic materials or braided rope used.$ 8.35
Limber JackA mechanical man that is mounted on the end of a stick. When held on a flat paddle and the paddle is bounced with the finger, the man dances on the paddle.$ 17.95
Monkey on a Stick or "Mephisto" This was sometimes also called a jumping jack. It consists of a jointed monkey connected to a slide on a handle. When the slide is moved back and forth, the monkey does acrobatic maneuvers.$ 15.00
Ox Yoke PuzzleThis puzzle is almost identical to one shown in an 1860 Peterson's magazine. Solution included. $ 5.00
Pecking Bird Carved birds of this type were being made in Germany for export at the beginning of the 19th Century. The action of the jointed bird as it pecks is amusing for all ages. $ 8.35
Pecking Chickens A group version of the pecking bird, this toy includes four chickens that, when the weight is gently swung in a circle, peck in order.$ 16.70
Peg TopA classic top that is wrapped with a string and then thrown out to spin. Tops were always mentioned in boys' activity books and used in a variety of games.$ 4.85
Pollock's Toy TheatreThis theater that you can build comes as a large format book. You cut out the pieces, glue it together, and put on a play.$ 16.50
Pollock's Blackbeard the Pirate Toy TheatreThis play is similar to the previous item in that it comes as a book and you can cut out scenery and players and use the script included. Click on this item for a full writeup.$ 13.95
PopgunUsing a simple piston almost identical to that shown in a boy's activity book printed in the 1860's, this popgun fires a cork attached to a string. If the handle is pulled back, it reloads. $ 11.25
RattletrapThis is another toy that appeals to children's delight in making noise. Sometimes called a watchman's rattle or just a noisemaker, a similar design was made in Germany during the 19th Century. It consists of a wooden strip flapping against a gear as the toy is swung around on its handle.$ 8.35
Spindle TopThis is the easiest top we have to spin. It has a handle to hold the top steady while the string is pulled to start the top spinning.$ 9.60
Tin SoldiersThese have their own category. Just click on the link.See separate page
Toy TheatreGo up a few items to "Pollock's Toy Theater" and "Pollock's Blackbeard the Pirate Toy Theater".See individual items
Twirly TopThis is a simple finger top where you give the spindle a quick twist to spin it.$ 1.00
VillagesTwo different toy villages similar to those made in Germany during the nineteenth century and exported to this country. There are two sets which are described in the full page writeup which is reached by using the link.Village I Set
$ 8.75
Village II Set
$ 10.75
Whip Top This top takes some practice but, once started, it can be given more energy to keep it spinning and spun as long as the child's interest lasts. It is a stout top with a separate "whip" made of a wand with a leather thong attached. The spinning top is whipped to make it spin faster. Because using the top involves flailing it with the thong on the whip, use of this top by young children is not recommended and it should not be used in crowded conditions to avoid accidentally striking bystanders. $ 5.75
Whistle Check with us before ordering. We've had some difficulty with keeping this in stock. For civil war period use, it will need to be sanded to remove a painted text on one side $ 1.00