Object of Month: Rocking Horse

by Gilda on December 6, 2014 · 1 comment

Rocking Horse

Meadowlands Museum Collection, 83.2.1rocking horse photo

By: Alex Russo

The rocking horse: one of the seminal toys of childhood. It has been around in one form or another for centuries. Crude toy horses have been around since 500 B.C.[1] appearing in places like Egypt, Rome and Greece. The Ancient Grecian variety of toy horse was the precursor to the popular “Hobby Horse”, featuring a stick as the body of the horse. [2] These toys were extremely popular, lasting in this design up until the 16th century when they developed into a “Barrel Horse”. This design was a log on four wooden legs, sporting a crude horse head.

It wasn’t until the 17th century that the toy horses took on the “deeply curved rocking base”.[3]

 Despite all of the aesthetic changes, the Rocking Horse was still not done undergoing transformations. The beloved children’s toy entered its heyday during the 18th century. They became works of art, lovingly handcrafted by inventors and artisans, moving away from the crude renderings of the past. At this time, dappled grey horses (as legend has it, Queen Victoria picked this exact model out, launching this model into immense popularity) on bow rockers were very much in style in affluent parts of Great Britain. They also flourished in parts of Germany and America until the middle of the 20th century.[4] Parents bought their young children these finely crafted toys in hope that they would help the child practice their balance for when they switched to the real deal (that is riding actual horses, of course).[5]

 By 1880, the Rocking Horse would undergo its last major aesthetic change. In Cincinnati, Phillip Marqua would invent and patent the “safety stand”. This put the Rocking Horses on a fixed, static stand while the horse only moves relative to the stand.[6] This innovation not only saved families on precious space in their homes, it quelled any fears of the little-ones fingers or toes getting caught under the big bow rockers of the rocking horses of yesteryear. This iteration of the Rocking Horse surpassed the Bow Rocker version far and wide, finding its way into nearly everyone’s home, and becoming the staple toy of innocent childhood amusement.[7]

 The Rocking Horse that the Meadowlands Museum is in possession of is a beautiful dappled grey horse, slightly worn with age. The horse has a tan saddle seat, green velvet saddle skirt, two stirrups and sits on a static spring, metal base. The company McKee & Harrington of Lyndhurst, NJ, produced the horse. McKee & Harrington was the premier manufacturing companies in the area at the time, helping to usher in the Industrial Revolution. They were most notable for producing bicycles, baby carriages and rocking horses.[8] The exact date that the rocking horse was made is not known, but from the appearance of the horse suggests that it was made in the late 1880’s.


[1] “The History of Rocking Horses.” Last Modified 2005. http://www.rockinghorses.com/rocking-horses/history-rocking-horses.php

[2] “The History of Rocking Horses.”

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] “History of Rocking Horses.” Last Modified 2011. http://www.legendsrockinghorses.co.uk/history.shtml

[6] “History of Rocking Horses.”

[7] Ibid.

[8] “Lyndhurst History.” http://www.westfieldnj.com/whs/history/lyndhurst.htm

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Scouts 11.2014 1 Scouts 11.2014 2 Scouts 11.2014 3

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Rutherford prepares for the holidays!

by Gilda on November 26, 2014 · 1 comment

Family Fun Bulletin

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Snow Day

by Gilda on November 26, 2014 · 0 comments

Due to the inclement weather, the Meadowlands Museum will be closed to the public today, Wednesday, Nov. 26, and will re-open on Friday, for our Family Fun Day!


Getting Prepared for Coins for a Cause!

by Gilda on November 22, 2014 · 0 comments

Loretta Young from Boiling Springs Savings Bank is showing off the posters for the event! We can’t wait to see you all next Saturday, November 29, for this fabulous fundraiser! Thanks Boiling Springs, for being such a wonderful supporter of The Meadowlands Museum!

Coins for a Cause at Boiling Springs Bank


Please join us for Family Fun Day: Around the World in Arty Days!

When: November 28, 2014 from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

Where: The Meadowlands Museum

What: Make crafts from around the world, in conjunction with our current exhibition, “Around the World in 80 Days.”

Cost: $7 per child, from ages 5-18. Children 4 years and under, and adults, are free.

Please contact Jesse Gordon to sign up! jgordon.mmus@gmail.com/720-989-6735.

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Coins for a Cause 2014

by Gilda on November 15, 2014 · 0 comments

Do you hear those coins jingling in your pocket? Do you see shiny coins gathering in your cup holder in your car? Bring them to Boiling Springs Bank and donate them to a good cause – helping the Meadowlands Museum! When you use Boiling Springs’ FREE Coin Counting Machine and donate your coins, 100% of your donation will be given to The Meadowlands Museum.


Event Information

Date: Saturday, November 29, 2014

Time: 9 AM – 1 PM

Location: Boiling Springs Savings Bank, 280 Union Avenue, Rutherford, NJ 07070


Coins for a Cause 2014 JPEG


Family Fun Day is coming!

by Gilda on November 8, 2014 · 0 comments

We are in the midst of planning Family Fun Day, for November 28, 2014! Stay tuned for more details. In meantime, for more information, please call or email Jesse Gordon, for more information (720-989-6735 or jgordon.mmus@gmail.com)


Great article in The South Bergenite

by Gilda on November 8, 2014 · 0 comments

The South Bergenite newspaper featured a story on our current exhibition, Around the World in 80 Days. Follow the link below to read more!



2014 Scarecrow Day was a blast!

by Gilda on October 22, 2014 · 0 comments

We had so much fun at this year’s Scarecrow Day. Thank you to all of the families and Girl Scout Troops who came and participated. We are looking forward to seeing you all next year!

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