As you can see from many of my posts, I enjoy antique images featuring children with their toys. This photo, circa 1905, is a great one! Not only does this little gal have two great dolls and a toy horse – she also has a wonderful Schoenhut Toy Piano! What a day of outdoor play she must have had with these toys! I wonder if she and one of the dolls played a duet! Or, perhaps the dog sitting near the piano was the virtuoso!
The Schoenhut company is still in operation today and I have added a history of the company’s early years according to their website, http://www.toypiano.com:
Albert Schoenhut (1848-1912) was born in Wurtenberg, Germany to a toy-making family. His father and grandfather made wooden dolls, rocking horses, and wagons. At a young age, Albert began making toy pianos in his home. The hammers on the early toy pianos struck a sounding bar made of glass instead of the strings used on real pianos. He later exchanged the glass bars for those made of metal, making the instruments more durable. Albert’s toy pianos, more than just playthings, stayed in tune and were accompanied by sheet music to encourage children to play.
In 1866, John Dahl, a buyer for Wanamaker’s department store, heard of young Albert’s talent and brought the 17-year old to Philadelphia where he worked as a repairman on glass sounding pieces in German toy pianos that had been damaged in shipping.
Albert struck out on his own in 1872, founding the Schoenhut® Piano Company. As his toy piano business grew, Albert added other instruments including a ukulele-banjo, xylophone, and glockenspiel. He also expanded his line to include dolls, circus figures, and toys.
By the time of Albert’s death in 1912, Schoenhut Piano Company® was the largest toy company in America and the first in the United States to export toys to Germany.
I came across a Schoenhut Toy Piano for sale – the same model as shown in the antique photo – on a site specializing in antique dolls. I have included a photo of it below! Visit http://www.whimsicalrose.com for more details!