skin rocking horse

Restored Skin Covered Rocking Horse

The rocking horse illustrated above is our restoration of a formerly dilapidated horse that was made by the German company Bauer & Krause in the late 1920s or 1930s. The horse has a wooden frame and was filled with straw. Hide-covered horses have a long tradition in Germany, and there are examples that were covered with pony-skin, calf-skin or deer-skin.

In addition to the style of horse that was mounted on the safety stand as shown above, we have encountered and restored many of the more prevalent type of horse that was a pull-along horse mounted on a wheeled platform. The platform was often affixed to bow rockers in such a way that it could be used as a rocking horse or else removed and used as a pull-along toy.

Origins of Skin-Covered Rocking Horses

Carl Eduard Meinung is widely credited as being the inventor of hide-covered rocking horses. His leather goods company opened in Ohrdruf in Thüringen in 1865 and was soon producing calf skin rocking horses that were to be exported around the world. Meinung was particularly keen that the heads and legs of the horses were lifelike. The original horses were covered with the skins of stillborn calves.

Later in the 19th century and into the early 20th century, commercial rocking horse making expanded enormously. Germany, in particular favoured the hide-covered variant and later those covered with plush. Such rocking horses were much lighter than their wooden counterparts that held sway in Great Britain. That was of importance in export markets and German companies were able to export around Europe and elsewhere more competitively and so with great success. With the exception of countries in the British Empire, wooden horses remained largely limited to the British Isles and only had limited success in the USA and in other European countries.

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