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Balance Toy


This is one of several circus-themed balance toys that the Eameses collected, all of which disguise a lesson in physics in the form of a whimsical miniature toy. In this example, a tiny red acrobat balances atop a ladder by holding a swooping arch that is weighted on either end. The Eameses were firm believers not only in the educational potential of toys, but also in the discoveries that could emerge from toy production. As Charles told an interviewer in 1977, “Rather than looking at toys as miniature architecture, I would look at them as miniature science. Much of hydraulics found its way into toys, displays, and tricks before it became a mechanical science. Static electricity went a long way in toys before being developed much as a science.” For the Eameses, the scientific explanations behind toys and tricks did not detract from the sense of wonder they could spark. Many of their films and exhibitions sought to pair wonder with information and, in their view, understanding that this toy relies on gravity and balance to keep the little acrobat upright did not make the feat any less delightful.

  • Medium:Metal, paint
  • Dimensions:7 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 4 in. (19.7 x 21.6 x 10.2 cm)
  • Item:T.2019.2.100.8