Clockwork ‘Kommando Anno 2000’ toy car made by Schuco, Germany, c.1938

Made by Schuco in Germany, c. 1938.

The Kommando Anno 2000 tin-toy car is a futuristic design made by the German toy manufacturer, Schuco, between 1938 and 1941, and is said to have been modelled on the Maybach limousine. The car’s name can be translated as ‘command in the year 2000’ and refers to the fact that the car can be activated by a loudly spoken voice command into the louvred vent in the roof. The air generated from speaking or blowing down onto a moveable leather flap or diaphragm under the vent starts or stops the car. ...

Summary

Object No.

2008/158/15

Physical Description

Toy car, 'Kommando Anno 2000', with key, clockwork operated, metal, made by Schuco, Nuremberg, Germany, c. 1938, used by Wyatt family, Hobart, Tasmania, and Roseville, New South Wales, Australia, 1930s-1960s

This toy four-door sedan is finished in black enamelled tin and is clockwork operated, with a chrome radiator, bumper bars, wheels, and front split windscreen. The wing bonnets can be raised to reveal a tin-printed lithographed representation of a 6-litre engine. Once wound with a key, which can be inserted in the side, the car can be activated by pressing the lever protruding from the vent in the roof. The front wheels can be turned by moving the single foglamp or headlamp near the front bumper. The rear bumper can also be pushed in to make the car go faster or pulled out to make it move backwards. If it hits an object while reversing, the rear bumper is pushed in and the car changes direction.

Dimensions

Height

45 mm

Width

90 mm

Production

Notes

As with all the Schuco toys, the Kommando Anno 2000 car was designed by the company's founder, Heinrich Muller (1887-1958), who is said to have held over a thousand patents for his toys.

Muller was educated with a view to his becoming a businessman but gravitated towards the field of technology. By the age of seventeen he had already developed his own ideas for toys, and with his brother produced cars, torpedo boats, Zeppelins and aircraft. Early on he proved himself to be resourceful, imaginative and practical and at the age of 22 began his career as a model maker with the Nuremburg toy manufacturer, Bing, where he earnt a reputation as a man who could not only invent the toy but develop the machinery and tooling to build it.

In November 1912 Muller together with his partner, the merchant, Heinrich Schreyer, established Schreyer and Co. It was a good combination of Muller's creativity, technical ability ad expertise in research and design, with Schreyer's marketing ability. They began by making felt and plush covered mechanical toys in a workshop comprising an area of only 150 square metres in Roon Street, Nuremberg. Business went well but the First World War interrupted their hopes for expansion. The firm was reorganised in the spring of 1919 with another investor, the textile merchant, Adolf Kahn, and new factory facilities were established in the basement of the Wagner drive-belt factory at 26 Singer Street, Nuremberg.

In 1921 the new trade name of 'Schuco' was introduced. Muller's mechanical toys were much in demand, especially the hopping, squeaking and trick-performing figures. Although the company was very successful at this time, it was after the move to a larger factory at 30-32 Further Street, and the commencement of toy car production in the mid 1930s, that the Schuco legend really began. The 'Wendeauto' (Turning Car) which never ran off the end of the table was a sales hit as was the 'Studio-Auto' a simple name for the legendary Mercedes 'Silver Arrow' in which the German racing aces of the day, Lang, Stuck and von Brauchitsch, drove from victory to victory. In both design and technology, this toy was outstanding, featuring functioning geared steering, swing axles, a free-running clutch and crank starting. The Kommando Anno 2000 is a simpler and more robust design in which the car was stopped and started by blowing or speaking through the roof vent.

The Second World War brought toy production to a complete standstill. After hostilities ceased, Nuremberg was in the United States-administered zone of Germany and the company was able to obtain a licence to operate from the occupation forces. Toy production was combined with the manufacture of more practical and much needed items but in 1949 Schuco returned to full toy production. The 1950s heralded a golden age: facilities were expanded, pre-War favourites were reintroduced and the company became dedicated to marketing a new model every year. Schuco cars of this time were best known to children living outside Germany. In 1952 Schuco was Nuremberg's largest toy manufacturer with 800 employees in premises measuring 13,000 square metres. Muller was the driving force behind the company; after his death in 1958 the company gradually lost its place and was out of business by 1976.

Franzke, Jurgen (ed.) "Tinplate Toys from Schuco, Bing, & other companies", Schiffer Publishing Ltd, Atglen, PA, USA, 1995

Made

Schuco c. 1938

History

Notes

This toy car was given to the donor in Hobart, Tasmania, between the late 1930s and early 1940s. He took great care of his toys and after moving to Sydney in the 1960s with his family it was packed away. The car is part of a collection of toys presented to the Museum by the Wyatt family in 2008.

Used

1938-1942

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Ruth & Richard Wyatt, 2008

Acquisition Date

5 August 2008

Cite this Object

Harvard

Clockwork 'Kommando Anno 2000' toy car made by Schuco, Germany, c.1938 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 November 2018, <https://ma.as/380426>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/380426 |title=Clockwork 'Kommando Anno 2000' toy car made by Schuco, Germany, c.1938 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 November 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Know more about this object?

TELL US

Have a question about this object?

ASK US