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It’s That Shopping Time of Year

A. Schoenhut Co., Philadelphia, PA.  Illustrations of Schoenhut's Marvelous Toys, circa 1908, Toy Pianos.

Today is Black Friday and since toys are a popular item to shop for at this time of year, we decided to feature a trade catalog all about toys.  Maybe holiday shoppers in the early twentieth century took a look at this catalog . . .

Many of the pages in Illustrations of Schoenhut's Marvelous Toys advertise A. Schoenhut Co.'s Humpty Dumpty Circus toy figures, but the company sold much more, including toy wooden boats, dolls, and toy pianos.

Schoenhut Toy Pianos were advertised as "real musical instruments" which were tuned to perfect concert pitch and never went out of tune.  "On it many a good musician has, as a child, taken his first lesson."  To teach children the stretch of fingers necessary to play a full-sized piano, the keys on these toy pianos were spaced the same distance apart as the keys on a full-sized piano.  The first Schoenhut Toy Piano was made in 1872, and a genuine Schoenhut Toy Piano had the name "Schoenhut" written in gold letters on the front-board above the keyboard.  At the time this catalog was printed, Schoenhut Toy Pianos came in a variety of styles and were priced anywhere from 25 cents to $20.

Illustrations of Schoenhut's Marvelous Toys, a circa 1908 trade catalog by A. Schoenhut Co., is located in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library.  More images from this toy catalog can be found on the Galaxy of Images.

—Alexia MacClain

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