Back from the future

When I started to collect old tin robots more than 30 years ago, I couldn't imagine the huge variety of toys that ingenious and visionary inventors had constructed. I didn't have more than a handful of books to draw on.

Even at that time BOOGAERTS was one of the pioneers among the collectors. He tried to compile information of as many robots and toys as possible from the few existing collections for his book "Robots". Also in Japan there were the first publications. KITAHARA had his first museum for old toys and published beautiful books on his collections. In Germany the book "Roboter und Weltraum-Spielzeug" (Robots and Space Toys) was published. The biggest motivation for the toy industry was of course the development of space flight and the landing on the moon in the late 60s.

Unfortunately many toy producers in Germany had already given up their business at this time because of the enormous pricing pressure from overseas.

In Japan toys weren't only produced more cheaply. Most of the most versatile and imaginative robots and space toys were invented there. However, even in the 40s and 50s people began to try and foresee the technical development in the future. Uncountable books and novels on the exploration of space and the design of the future appeared and many of these ideas found their expression in German toys at that time.

Visions from the past - once created for the future and meanwhile overtaken by the future itself - these mystical, fantastical and sometimes bizarre toys demonstrate which tremendous expectations people had of the future. While computer technology and telecommunication developped even faster than anyone would have imagind, space travel still was in its infancy. We don't even seem to know our own planet well enough to deal with it adequately - desperately seeking new visonaries.

This web site does not claim to be exhaustive. It should give a glimpse into the world of fantastical toys and be a useful guide for collectors. I like to research on the history and the stories around these antique toys, but looking for facts and figures has become very difficult throughout the years. So, sometimes I have to throw my knowledge overboard because of recent findings and often a story needs time to grow. I'm always extraordinarily thankful for feedback and corrections, so feel free to contact me.