Oldest American Toy Santa Discovered

An archaeological investigation in Akron, Ohio has uncovered the first mass-produced toy Santa Claus in the United States.  The figurine is 2.5 inches tall, dressed in blue, and was recovered amidst thousands of marbles and penny toys from the site of a toy factory that burned to the ground in 1904.
Today the archeological site is Lock 3 Park, but in 1884 is was The American Marble & Toy Manufacturing Company, site of the world’s first mass-produced toys -- clay marbles and penny toys.  “Marbles were made using a device [that] allowed one worker to make 800 to 1,000 clay marbles per hour... So significant was the economy of scale, that one penny could buy a handful of marbles or dozens of different penny toys. The Blue Santa was a penny toy..."  Before Dyke opened his company, there were only hand-made toys, beautifully painted, clever in design and so expensive only the world’s wealthiest families could afford a toy... “From that point forward, all children could have a toy,” says Cohill.

The figurine is wearing a blue cloak.


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J. C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell did fat, jolly, red-clad Santas well BEFORE the Coca-Cola advertisements. Red-coated Santas appear on Christmas cards from the 1880s and 90s, and of course Nast's Santa goes back at least to the 1860s.

The claim that the modern Santa began with a commercial artist in the 1930s is preposterous on the face of it. Surely the Coca-Cola Santa Claus must have been a stereotype of long standing; otherwise people would have been scratching their heads, wondering: "What in heck is this fat bearded man in red supposed to be?"
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@Dr. Pizmo

If it exists, it might have to be disposed of. A lot of those old synthetic PVC toys leak chemicals. I found this old ET doll, and the skin was cracked and oozing this stuff out of the PVC fragments still on. He looked pretty nasty when I found him.
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