This is one of my favorite Christmas-related articles from the archives. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything else on these macabre playthings but it sounds like this guy’s son had a fantastic holiday that year.
From The Evening Statesmen, December 31, 1906:
‘We have had morbid, decadent literature for a long time,’ said a family man, ‘but I never expected to see the day of morbid toys.’
‘What do you mean by morbid toys?” a bachelor asked.
‘Toys dealing not with pleasant, agreeable things, but with things shocking and tragical,’ was the reply.
‘Three morbid toys are numbered among the Christmas presents of my second son.
The first is a mechanical railroad accident. You wind up a train and set it on a track. Off it goes, but in crossing a bridge an arch collapses, and the train falls, breaking into half a dozen pieces that can be put together again, and scattering passengers and luggage everywhere. An ambulance and stretchers are among the accessories of this railroad accident toy.
The second is a doll’s hospital-not a doll’s house, but a hospital-with little operating tables, little medical bottles, saws, bandages, splints and whatnot.
The third is a toy funeral in a box, like a Noah’s ark; but instead of a procession of bright pink cows, green lions, yellow bears and so on, we have here a black procession of little cabs, a hearse, and tiny black figures walking two by two.'”
*Originally posted in 2015.