Small Talk

Pretty Little Angel Sulphide

Angel Sulfide Marble

Highly-coveted sulphide marbles get their name from the figure inside that looks like it’s made out of sulfur. Largely manufactured in German cottage industries from the mid-19th to the early 20th century, the tiny figures are actually made of porcelain clay. Animal sulphides are the most common type. People, numbers, or angels, like the one pictured here from the Larry and Cathy Svacina Collection, are harder to find.

Because antique sulphides were handmade, it’s not uncommon to find flawed or off-centered figures. Others have trapped air bubbles or pontil marks. While some collectors may seek out these imperfect gems, others believe they are, as these heavenly hosts say, “no good.”

Comfort Objects

Theo and Beau

It might have been a blankie, a doll, or a stuffed animal… children find comfort in objects like these and they just can’t let go. The more ragged it becomes, the more it’s loved, from a ratty piece of silky ribbon barely hanging on to the blanket edge to a pink cow that has lost almost all of its stuffing.

Last month, blogger Jessica Shyba wrote a post about her son’s most unusual comfort object and it’s just too cute not to share! Every day when her son Beau falls asleep for his afternoon nap, the family’s new puppy Theo snuggles up with him. Jessica has been sharing photos of the cuddling pair on her blog and on Instagram under the hashtag #TheoandBeau. If you can handle the adorableness, then check it out!

We Challenge You To A Duel!

Dueling Pistols

Rooted in the medieval code of chivalry, the practice of dueling to resolve a conflict or defend personal honor has been around for centuries. In America, we often hear about the famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804. To keep the stakes even for both members of a duel, gun manufacturers began creating custom dueling pistol sets that included identical pistols.

This 1/12 scale miniature set by Eric Pearson reduces the size, but not the artistry. Nestled in a velvet-lined case, these pistols are so precisely calibrated that they are actually functional! That’s right, if you loaded these minuscule shooters with gun powder and a tiny musket ball, they would actually fire. Don’t worry, we haven’t tried it; we’re too nervous that mom’s premonition might come true: “you’ll shoot your eye out!

Toys with a Past

FAO Schwarz

Did you know Monopoly started as a game to teach people how terrible it was to have a money-gouging landlord? Or that the Etch-a-Sketch debuted in France as the Magic Screen? Or how about that the Slinky was originally supposed to cushion naval vessel instruments?!

Join Christopher Bensch, Vice President for Collections at The Strong, home of the National Toy Hall of Fame and National Museum of Play, as he explores the history of Hall of Fame inductees at FAO Schwarz. We’re guessing only Santa’s workshop has more toys than FAO Schwarz!

Slow Down This Season With Slow Toys

Slow Toy Awards 2013

Twenty-five years after the Slow Food Movement gained traction, filling bellies with delicious traditional and regional cuisine that utilized the local ecosystem, the Slow Toys Movement was formed by Thierrey Bourret in the United Kingdom. According to Bourret, slow toys encourage traditional play, boost creative thinking, inspire the development of one’s own imagination, are not made of plastic, are without batteries, are sold in independent toy shops, are durable, stand the test of time, and are without thousands of functions.

Every year Bourret takes nominations via email and a panel of judges choose the seven top slow toys of the year. 2013’s winners were all made out of wood except for a construction set with metal parts, and plastic cables, gears, and wheel hubs that can be constructed different models. Many of the wooden toys may look familiar, from the train set and building blocks to the doll stroller and tiny tricycle. We love this movement, which elevates beautifully crafted wooden toys and much-loved dollhouses that encourage creativity and imagination!

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