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A10213 Toy horse, pull along, timber / leather / metal / possibly cow hair, maker unknown, probably manufactured in Germany, 1875-1899. Click to enlarge.

Pull along toy horse

  • 1875-1899
Skin-covered toys like this horse were the forerunners of the soft toys that emerged commercially in Europe in the late nineteenth century. Compared to timber, metal or plastic toy animals, those with a furry texture have long appealed to children, not only because of their feel but also because of their convincing portrayal of live animals. They closely resemble living animals yet withstand cuddling and torment without protest.

The earliest recorded toys covered with animal skin were toy …


Object No.


Object Statement

Toy horse, pull along, timber / leather / metal / possibly cow hair, maker unknown, probably manufactured in Germany, 1875-1899

Physical Description

Toy horse, pull along, wood / leather / metal / [calf skin] / [cow's tail hair], probably manufactured in Germany, 1875-1899

A toy pull along toy horse in a walking position mounted to a timber platform which is inset with four, cast-iron spoked wheels. The body is covered in brown and white (skebald coloured) animal skin, probably in calf hide, with a white mane and brown tail, both probably made of cow's tail hair. The horse has a realistically shaped head with glass eyes and painted timber features including teeth, black hoofs and a muzzle with flaring red nostrils. The horse is fitted with a leather bridle with white brow band and rosette and metal buckles and bit. The brown leather saddle has adjustable stirrup leathers and metal stirrups and is placed on top of a red saddle cloth.


No marks.



706 mm


710 mm


312 mm



  • 1875-1899

Probably made


This pull-along toy horse was probably manufactured in Germany.

German manufacturers were among the first to change their methods of production from the expensive and time-consuming carving, which required skilled craftsmen, to the less labour-intensive process of producing toy horses with formed bodies, only the head and legs requiring carving. The body could be formed of papier mache or it could consist of a wooden frame covered with hessian or burlap stuffed with sawdust, wood shavings or hay. Animal skin was stretched over the body, head and legs, calfskin being used in the upmarket models. The skins were cured by drying in the sun, using mineral salt mixed with alum, or sulphuric acid. The most expensive skin was from unborn calves, which was particularly smooth with fine, short hair. Most common were piebald and skewbald markings, although solid light brown skin was also used. Skins were applied wet, stretched tightly over the horse and held in place, and then cut to size. Final hand sewing of the skins occurred around the neck, under the belly and down the inside legs. The skin shrank on drying and produced a smooth snug fit. Most of the skin-covered horses were German; they were given manes and tails of cow tail hair in thin strips.



Probably missing is a handle which would have been attached to the front of the platform so the horse could be pulled along.


Credit Line

Purchased 1984

Acquisition Date

1 May 1984

Cite this Object


Pull along toy horse 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 October 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Pull along toy horse |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}