"THE PREACHER", by IVES, CONNECTICUT, ca 1885:
This great clockwork toy is also a wonderful piece of American folk art. When wound the black figure hammers his bible on the pulpit. The color of the toy varied and this particular example is a gem in that aspect. Though it has some losses and loss of motion, the quality of the sculpture, its cloth clothes and painted surface are very attractive.
The Ives Manufacturing Company (1868-1932) was founded in Plymouth, Connecticut by Edward Ives, a descendant of Plymouth colony governor William Bradford. The company initially produced paper dolls whose limbs moved in response to hot air, but soon began producing a wide range of toys, including a toy cannon that shot using real gunpowder and clockwork powered dolls and animals that could move. The clockwork toys were designed by Jerome Secor, Nathan Warner, and Arthur Hotchkiss and by the 1880s, Ives was a leading producer of these toys. Emphasis shifted to trains as its designs were copied by other toymakers who were willing to sell them more cheaply. It was the largest manufacturer of toy trains in the United States from 1910 until 1924, when Lionel Corporation overtook it in sales.