History of tin soldiers
"There were once five-and-twenty tin soldiers – all brothers, as they were made out of the same old tin spoon. Their uniform was red and blue, and they shouldered their guns and looked straight in front of them. The first words that they heard in this world, when the lid of the box in which they lay was taken off, were, "Hurrah, tin soldiers!" This was exclaimed by a little boy, clapping his hands as they had been given to him because it was his birthday, and now he began setting them out on the table. Each soldier was exactly like the other in shape, except just one, who had been made last when the tin had run short; but there he stood as firmly on his one leg as the others…"
The worldwide famous and touching fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen vividly depicts both the overwhelming joy that the children feel when they see the tin soldiers as well as the production process of the toy miniature figures. They are mass-produced and come out of the mold identical. What makes them unique is the skillful painter's brush and the time that leaves its marks. .
There is a wide variety of figurines that commonly portray warriors and can be made of tin, wood, plastic, bronze or lead and can be flat two-dimension as well as fully rounded. In fact, they were originally flat and were often called "Little Eilerts". Flat soldiers are still produced now even though the three-dimensional lead figures are more popular.
Ancient origin of tin soldiers
The most ancient toy soldiers were found in the tombs of Egypt and are dated about 2500 BC. The Egyptian figures were created for the purely ritual purposes comparing to the later usage.
The royal toy
The miniature combat figures were designed across the medieval Europe for the monarchs to use them both for their war strategy sessions as well as for their children to play with.
Emperor Napoleon's son had a 117–figures set of toy soldiers made of gold and it is considered to be the most expensive toy in the world.
The Russian Emperor Peter the Great was the owner of a great collection of miniature artillery figures.
The Russian Emperor Peter III had a famous collection of soldiers made of tin, wood, wax and… cotton that were bound with sugar powder.
Famous Nuremberg miniatures
The Heinrichsen family company in Nuremberg became the world famous tin soldiers production center and earned the internationally recognized "Nuremberg miniature" title for their toys. There were other producers of tin soldiers in those times, but Heinrichsen created a huge range of subjects and poses, surpassing his competitors.
Ernst Heinrichsen introduced a standard size for infantry (30 mm) and cavalry (40 mm) warrior figures.
When did mass production of tin soldiers started?
Tin soldiers were the first toy soldiers to be mass-produced in the 18th century during the reign of Frederik the Great, the King of Prussia, and inspired by his military victories. Later the British toy company created a hollow casting method in production of tin soldiers which made them cheaper and lighter.
"Flats" and 3D tin soldiers
Some passionate collectors and historians consider the flat tin soldiers to be the most authentic ones. They are more suitable for the rules of the military games: easy to move around and show them being defeated at the battlefield. France is considered to be the birthplace of three-dimension figurines.
Tin soldiers in literature
Hans Andersen's tin soldier is undoubtedly the most well-known literature figure, but not the only one. Herbert Wells, the British writer and the "father of science fiction" created a set of rules for playing with toy soldiers and meditated on some philosophical aspects of war in his book Little Wars.
Educational and historic value of tin soldiers
Tin soldiers are often produced in accordance with the archeological research, so they can have historic and educational value. They can depict a specific historic period. The most popular among the collectors are Napoleonic, Victorian, American Civil War and both World War I and II miniature armies.
Guinness World Records tin soldier
The largest tin soldier has been designed and built in New Westminster, Canada in 2000 to honor the founders of its location. It is 32 feet (9.8 meters) of height, 5 tons of weight and is made of stainless steel.
Our collection of tin soldiers
We present you our collection of tin soldiers from ancient Roman and Greek tin soldiers figurines to European, including Russian and Ukrainian, tin soldiers sets.
Zestful attention is paid to the creation of these metallic miniatures! Particular attention is given to the carving and proportion of this miniature so that art can do justice to the amazing warrior as this pose is not a regular one- it speaks of never ending courage and determination to succeed. Add this to your collection and own a piece of hand molded history.
Miniature tin soldiers are made with great care. Don't miss your chance to add these masterpieces to your collection and own a little piece of history.