National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Toy Locomotive Toy Locomotive
Rendered by Charles Henning (artist), c. 1940
watercolor and graphite on paperboard
overall: 37.5 x 48.5 cm (14 3/4 x 19 1/8 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Toys from the Index of American Design
Object 12 of 26

This locomotive is made from tinned sheet iron painted with oil colors and touches of gilt; it is fitted with a clock spring for propulsion. Clockwork mechanisms reached a peak in the twenty-five years following the Civil War. Locomotives were among the most popular clockwork toys. This toy dates from the third quarter of the nineteenth century. The cowcatcher in front, the eagle on the headlight, and the broad funnel characterize an early stage in the development of the American locomotive. A bell (now missing) was originally suspended from the scrolling frame arched across the top of the boiler. The locomotive runs on four cast iron wheels. In place of spokes, the wheels have ornate tracery.

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