In the early 19th century, pedlars and street traders sold cheap toys carved from a single piece of wood, mainly produced by rural craftsmen or in small backstreet factories and sweatshops. In the late 19th century these toys were replaced by even cheaper toys stamped out of tinplate and die cast which were exported from Germany. Many of the toys were clockwork and were developed as a sideline of watchmaking. They were originally made in the 1830s for the amusement of adults.
Much of the metal toys trade was based in Nürnberg and companies such as Bing and Issmayer began production there in the 1860s.
There were three main methods of printing designs onto tinplate:
The range of tinplate toys was varied and included penny toys as well as more expensive lithographed die-cast models and tin cars.
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