November 03, 2015

FIGURE OF THE WEEK #90: Egyptian War Elephant by the Wooster Family 1950s

Egyptian War Elephant by the Wooster Family

This elephant was created by the Wooster Family in the 1950s. In the 50s, August Paul Wooster was considered the top window washer in New York City but ran a tin soldier business on the side. Working at night or when it was raining and he couldn’t wash windows Paul molded the figures for the family to assemble and paint. The Wooster’s had a toy soldier shop and mail order catalog in New York City under the name Knight's Castle where they sold their own figures as well as imported soldiers from Germany France and England. A little larger then a clothes closet the shop ran a world wide mail order business and has counted King Farouk of Egypt, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and the Eaton brothers of Detroit who owned one of the countries largest collections with over 40,000 figures as customers. Another major client was the US State department although no one knows why.

The elephant was originally sculpted in wax by Mrs. Wooster who did the sculpting for all the families creations. Cast in solid lead this monster weighs over 10 pounds. Assembled and hand painted by sons Earl and Clive, these are 70mm and sculpted in a German Elastolin/Lineol/Heyde hybrid style.

This piece was originally created for the Eaton brothers and is one of several beautiful pieces from Ancient Egypt including a Pharaoh’s Procession, Egyptian War Chariot, a second elephant and a massive Pyramid under construction. Now part of the Michigan Toy Soldier Collection it was purchased from the family about 15 years ago. These are beautiful examples of hand made labors of love from a by gone era. I'm not even going to quibble with the fact that I know of known example of Egyptians ever having War Elephants! Look for more from this fabulous collection in future posts.

Click to enlarge
Wooster 1950s catalog
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