The making of horses into children’s toys was considered to be a pastime for a quite a long time based on hundreds of years. It is acknowledged that hobby horses existed in Persia and ancient Greece at around 400 BC. Even in the 1300’s, as the Age of Chivalry was at its peak, there were wheeled horses to re-enact jousting games for children. By the mid of nineteenth century, many pull-along horses were manufactured in England, Europe and America.
The arrival of the rocking horse as the earliest products was half-moon shaped with boarded sides and log body between the rockers. It had a very naive head. It is assumed that the structure was inspired from baby cradles. The earliest rocking horse that is acknowledged to be still in existence is believed to be a belonging of King Charles I since it dates from C1610. This sort of rocking horse was constructed through many centuries with various heads and bodies that look sophisticated, and were flamboyantly painted and carved.
The horses on bow rockers that are widely known today are a product of the eighteenth century in England. At that time, only the wealthy and the rich could afford it. These were basically developed to assist in balancing children to enable them to ride real horses.
However, spotted rocking horses emerged on the surface in the late eighteenth century, early nineteenth century and were usually printed in white with black spots. In the contemporary world where we see white and grey background with black dappling is believed to be a later craft.
The horses were carved, roughly rasped and were painted with gesso. Gesso is a whitening material and has a plastic effect. The wood was easier to use since it only required a bit of finishing that was smooth enough to paint on. At the same time, a lot of energy and time was consumed in the process when the gesso was hot. This was coated repeatedly and each coat took around 10 hours to dry.
The security feature of the safety stand horses that were an American invention was given the copy rights in England during 1880 by Philip Marqua. This copy right was, however, not renewed and presently, every other person has the authority to make horses on legal notice. By the early 20th century, the safety stand horses were widely known as compared to bow horses owing to the fact that the former occupied lesser space.
The worldwide acknowledged and pursued antique horses were produced by F.H Ayres who lived in London in the 1860’s and was involved in producing sports goods and board games as well. The rocking horses were traded via major outlets such as Harrods and Selfridges. Other well known producers from the late 10th century and early 20th century enlist J&G lines, Lines Bros. Wilson, Collin son and Leeway.
With the emergence of modern technology, the prospects of the popularity of the natural wood horses can be predicted. Due to the advance in modern technology, we have enough means to rub down the curved wood and carve delicate shapes in an easy manner. These then have a smooth surface to give a polished finish to the entire look of the horse. Hence it can be easily said, that the days of the wooden horse are not yet gone.