The modern toy stems back to the development of micro-science in Europe in the 17th century and to the opinion that the universe is not subject to “God’s capricious and random will” but rather that it is a “functional machine”.

If God can make the world function according to functional and mechanical laws, Mankind must be able to do the same on a smaller scale. Mankind ought to be able to create a miniature universe - a copy of God’s blueprint.

For example, the French philosopher Descartes (1596-1650) wanted to make a machine which could move eternally to the honour of God, thus demonstrating the truth of both God’s existence and the function of the universe.

With Copernicus’ (1473-1546) new view of the Universe - that the Earth is only a small part of the universe and not its fulcrum - a new scientific and human ethos arose. Science, which until then had been comprehensive in its orientation, was now to become massively interested in fragments and the different parts of the human body, existence and life itself. Studies and descriptions of objects and fragments (e.g. maps and topography, lenses, light and prisms, internal human and animal organs, clocks, miniature machinery, etc.) were thus intensified.

The paintings of the Dutch painters Vermeer (1632-1675), Van Eyck and De Vries are superb examples of the era’s concentration on the “micro space” which followed in the wake of “discoveries of the human body, the individual objects in the immediate vicinity and the universe immediately surrounding us”.

Due to the new orientation of science, there was enormous interest in producing things and objects in miniature and exact models of machines and instruments.

It has since been established that inventiveness in this endeavour knew no limit. Interest, supply and demand were enormous - and has been ever since.

Particularly in Switzerland and Southern Germany, there were cottage industries which specialised in developing and manufacturing mechanical figures and objects in the form of toys. Interest in machines expanded and new life habits were introduced on the background of the interest and curiosity which these “gadgets”, objects and toys excited.



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