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“New York” Toy Boat


At one point the Eameses intended to make a film about toy boats, similar to Toccata for Toy Trains, but it ultimately did not come to fruition. They continued to add to their toy boat collection, acquiring examples during their own travels and also receiving them as gifts from friends. And as with their trains, the focus was on well-crafted toy boats, rather than on models. This hand-painted tin boat is a good example of a toy that represents—but does not strictly copy—a battleship from around the turn of the 20th century. Although it flies the US flag and bears the name New York on its bow, it was produced by German toy manufacturer Märklin. Founded in the mid-19th century, Märklin is best known for its toy trains, but the company produced numerous toy boats, including several military battleships and submarines, in the 1890s to 1920s. Many of these came equipped with miniature cannons, now missing from this example, which would have fit into the keyhole-shaped notches in the half-cylinders that appear around the perimeter of the toy’s deck.

  • Medium:Painted metal, wood, wire
  • Dimensions:With wheeled base: 19 x 30 x 8 in. (48.3 x 76.2 x 20.3 cm)Without wheeled base: 18 1/2 x 30 x 8 in. (47 x 76.2 x 20.3 cm)Wheeled base: 1 1/4 x 14 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (3.2 x 36.8 x 8.3 cm)Key: 3 1/2 x 2 in. (8.9 x 5.1 cm)
  • Item:T.2019.2.313