A Waldorf Wonder

Here's an early Waldorf pull-toy that is monumental in size, complex in mechanics and captivating in design.

A monkey sits astride a camel atop a four-wheeled base. When the toy is pulled, the rider guides the camel with wire reins while the camel’s head nods as he rolls along, and the illusion is complete.

The current Waldorf toy line is impressive but I’ve located precious few examples of either early Waldorf toys or pairings of monkeys and camels online. An Aesop’s fable (The Monkey and the Camel, of course!) has the monkey besting the camel in a vintage dance-off, but no riding is involved. Note that this example seems to run counter to much of the Waldorf philosophy of simplicity enhancing imaginative play, with a total of over fifty parts!

So let’s just enjoy a very special plaything that succeeds on every level- one that would keep children active and excited to share with their playmates, family and friends.

  

  

Notes

Manufacturer: Waldorf Industries, Germany

Date of manufacture: unknown, ca. postwar.

Marks: distinctive impressed Waldorf stamp; Made in Germany (marked twice).

Dimensions: 13-1/2” x 12-1/4” x 4” LxHxW

Condition: complete and excellent with slight fading to the paint. Box is incomplete and tattered exhibiting the same Waldorf logo as stamped on the toy.

Mechanism: wheeled pull toy. The camel’s actions are transferred from a bent axle between the two rear wheels, via a wire rod to an interior part of the camel’s head and neck piece which is balanced on a pivot nail. The monkey’s two pinned arms are connected by wire reins to the camel’s head; the monkey’s pinned upper body moves forward and back on a pivot pin located at his legs which are fastened to the camel’s hump.

Materials: softwoods, possibly fir and bass (wheels, axle supports, wheel washers, base, monkey figure parts, dowels) and unknown possible hardwood (camel figure parts).

Number of parts: wooden, 25; mechanical and fasteners, 26; string, 3; total 54.

Mechanics and fasteners: brass rod (axles, rods and reins); screw eye; escutchion-type brass pins (fasteners); wire staple (string connection, appears original).

Comments

A real nice example, my

A real nice example, my estimation as to date would actually be pre-war '30's. Thanks for posting this.

How beautiful

That is a really amazing toy. I had no idea the Waldorf people did anything like that in years gone by. Thank you. Waldorf educator in NY.