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History of Wooden Rocking Horses

Updated on August 5, 2010

History of Wooden Rocking Horses

Worldwide, creating wooden rocking horses and turning them into children’s toy has been a favorite pastime for over hundreds of years. It is recognized that hobby horses was in existence since ancient Persia. About 400BC, Greeks also have passion for these wooden horses. As early as the Age of Chivalry back in 1300s, wooden wheeled horses were made for children to recreate the jousting games. And in 9th century Europe and America, specifically in England, pull along horses became popular.

Earliest Wooden Rocking Horse

The earliest record of the wooden rocking horse was shaped like a half moon with a log body in between the two rockers and boarded sides. And it is assumed that it was taken from a cradle’s design. The earliest wooden rocking horse in existence however is from 1610 which is said to be owned by King Charles I. And through the succeeding centuries the rocking horse design was developed and perfected as heads and bodies became more intricate carved and painted.

Modern Rocking Horse

The modern rocking horse we know and appreciate today is a brainchild of England in the 18th century. Now you can find all kinds of rocking toys. This rocking toy was intended for the wealthy market and its objective is to help children with their balance in preparation for riding the real horses.

Modern Rocking Horse

Horses from Eood as Makers Carve

In the late 18th and early 19th century, spotted rocking horses took the spotlight as they became popular. White horses with black spots were the first to come in existence and the reverse effect came about later on. They made the horses from wood as makers carve them and apply gesso, a whitening material which also looks like plaster. This material made it easier for the creators to smoothen the surface, thus making it easier to paint. The only drawback with gesso is its very time consuming. The drying period alone can take up to 10 hours.

Americans on the other hand developed the safety-stand which was later on patented in England by Philip Marqua in 1880. However the patent was not renewed as the years passed by, allowing anyone to put safety-stands on their wooden rocking horses. This feature became more and more popular in the early 20th century. Why? Because rocking horses on safety stands require less space and gave shorter and safer ride for children than bow rockers.

Baby on Rocking Horse

Thanks to the advent of modern technology, the natural wood horses became possible and popular. Without it, carving wood to make rocking horses will be very time consuming to be done with bare hands.

All Child’s Play carries some very unique and unusual rocking toys such as rocking Harley Davidson’s and Rocking John Deere toy. You are free to visit their website to find more exciting toys for your kids.


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      Valerie 7 years ago

      I never had a rocking horse as a kid, but I did have a spring horse and a rolling toy horse that I played with often. Kids nowadays are lucky to have so many variations of the lovable rocking horse.