Rapid-Firing Pistol (Lego)

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Exhibit

Rapid-Firing Pistol (Lego)

Toy Pistol, Lego Co (Patent 632298 1946-1950).jpg (i)
BTMM map 025.gif
location:

Arch Two , Area 25
Lego before Lego (display)


1949


A black plastic rapid-firing toy pistol (Halvautomatisk legetöjspistol) made by the Lego company from about 1949 onwards.

A wooden version of the pistol was being produced in 1945, and a patent was applied for for the pistol's design in 1946. The plastic versions started being made in 1949.

Lego and anti-war sentiment

Since Lego are well-known nowadays for their policy of not producing models of contemporary weaponry or military items, the existence of the toy pistol may come as something of a surprise.

Denmark entered World War Two (1939-1945) as a neutral country, then became a protectorate of Germany, and progressively lost more and more control over its own affairs until it ended up as a country under full military occupation, meaning that guns were very visible, and their presence had a very strong emotionally-charged meaning. With the end of WW2 in 1945, it would be quite understandable that the occupation would impact on children's play, and that children would naturally want to reenact scenes that they'd seen or imagined, and the pistol is supposed to have been one of the company's biggest sellers in the years just after the War.

(Lego are also supposed to have produced a crude wooden toy machine gun at around the same period)

We don't know when Lego started producing the toy pistol. We'd be surprised if they started making it during WW2, as a child running around with a black toy gun that wasn't obviously not a real gun, would have run the risk of being taken for a member of the Danish resistance and shot by German soldiers. Even if this didn't seem likely (e.g. if a region didn't see much military activity), parents would probably not have wanted to run the risk, or to risk having something that looked like a real gun lying around the house.

After the war, being able to buy your child a toy gun may have seemed, perversely, like a way of celebrating post-war freedoms.

External links

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