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The Performing Sea-Lion mechanical toy

Object Name: Mechanical toy
Date: 1899
Related People:
Medium: Iron, tin, paint
Dimensions: Overall: 3 x 8 x 5 in. (7.6 x 20.3 x 12.7 cm)
Place made: Europe, Germany, Brandenberg
Description: Tinned sheet iron gray sea-lion with black markings, beige underbelly, and red collar; jointed flippers connected to central wheel; tail mounted on pair of wheels; when pushed or pulled, flippers move to create a swimming motion.
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Morris W. Abbott
Object Number: 1957.258
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Marks: inscribed: on underside of tail: "MADE IN GERMANY/ENGLISH PATENT/[two stars]/D · R · G · M [bisected by trademark consisting of spindle press with interlaced letters 'EPL'/DEUTSCHE ARBEIT"

Gallery Label:

"The Performing Sea-Lion" (no. 445) was manufactured from 1899-1935; however, this version of the trademark, registered by E.P. Lehmann in 1896, was only used before 1900 (p. 174), dating this example to 1899. The toy is powered by a coil spring mechanism made out of piano wire, and cannot be overwound. Lehmann used real piano wire, purchased from a company in the Black Forest (pp. 161-62). See also p. 180 for illustration of advertisement (See Publications).