|On my new rocking horse, "Billy" |
- note mother hiding on the left holding me on!
|Cowgirl Cassandra on Billy at age 3.|
|Billy ridden by a young friend...|
A Brief History of the Rocking HorseFor centuries as far back as ancient Greece and Persia, children have been enamored of toy horses, playing kings and queens, knights and damsels, cowboys and cowgirls, & etc., with these timeless toys, whether on a stick, pulled by a string, or built on wheels or rockers.
Rocking horses first appeared in Europe, notably in Germany, in the seventeenth century and were especially popular in England during the Georgian and Victorian eras, when only the wealthiest of parents could afford such a luxury. These elaborately handcrafted masterpieces, featured leather saddles and bridles, glass eyes and real horsehair manes and tails and were believed to help develop children's' balance for riding real horses.
Rocking horses were also produced in the United States, as well as in Europe, during the Victorian & Edwardian eras, as the Industrial Revolution introduced a larger and more affluent middle class as well as less expensive productions costs. In 1880 a Cincinnatian invented and patented the “Safety Stand” or swinger base, which largely replaced the curved “bow” rocker of early years. Many antique tin-types, cabinet cards, and early black and white photographs of children and their rocking horses can be found in both the U.S. and in Europe.
Production progressed through the mid-twentieth century, at which time the crafting of fine rocking horses almost ceased. During the past 20 years there has been an increasing quantity of skilled craftsmen around the world producing and restoring quality rocking horses.
A Sampling of Current Rocking Horse Craftsmen…