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English Top and Handle


Of all the kinds of toys found in the Eameses’ collection, tops were one of the most numerous, totaling over 100. The majority are made of wood or metal, and they represent a wide range of designs that are powered in various ways. Some are spun with the tug of a coiled string, others use spiral plungers (called augers), and in many cases, a flick of one’s fingers is all that is needed to set them twirling. Ray and Charles amassed their top collection by acquiring examples from countries all over the world, including Mexico, India, Japan, Taiwan, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, England, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, France, the Scandinavian nations, and the United States. This example comes from England. It is one of several English painted wood tops included in the collection, and consists of two parts: the top itself and a handle that helps wind and release the toy. To use it, first you insert the top’s stem into the handle and wind a string around the stem, leaving one end extending outward. Then, you quickly yank the end of the string to set the toy in motion.

  • Medium:Wood, paint
  • Dimensions:Top: 7 x 2 1/2 in. (17.8 x 6.4 cm)Handle: 6 5/8 x 1 1/2 in. (16.8 x 3.8 cm)
  • Item:T.2019.2.247.40, T.2019.2.247.41