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Paper Toys of Yesteryear

This year's Christmas Display compiled by the Archive is the third in a trilogy, following our 2015 and 2016 exhibitions on wooden then metal toys.

The costumes above are very grand, modelling outfits from a wedding dress c1950s back to elegant gowns of the 1920s and earlier.

Paper toys are constructed in several ways, by folding, as in paper airplanespaper fortune tellers or Origami, or by cutting, decorating or assembling pieces of paper with glue or tape to create a paper doll or paper model.

The history of paper toys can be traced back to the art of origami [based on the Japanese words Ori, which means to fold, and Kami, which means paper]. The craft was for only the rich at first because the cost of paper was very high. As time went by new methods of making paper were developed which lowered the cost of paper. This allowed the art of origami to be more accessible to all people.

Paper dolls have been popular toys throughout the last couple of centuries. Unlike the origami and modern paper toys these are usually flat 2d dolls. Often various paper clothes and such things are used to decorate the doll. Much alike the modern paper toys they would often print dolls that resemble popular celebrities, singers, and political figures. They also would print these dolls in magazines for children to cut out and colour.

Now-a-days, most modern paper toys are digitally distributed patterns that are printed  and cut to be folded into the desired shape. 








A very complex
pop up book


January's Feature in the Foyer


Ralph Cleland's pin & ink sketches - a selection of these, done on a sepia wash, will be on display in the foyer of the Coach House Museum from 26 January 2018 for approximately 6 weeks.  Ralph Cleland was a talented pen and ink artist with an eye for historical buildings.  The Edwardian style in Feilding appealed to him and after retiring from his paint shop he spent time in the 1970s capturing some these in both pen & ink, and in watercolours.  


A peek into the past ...

The Archive is currently processing a digital collection of historic photographs collected over the years by Brian Hunter.  Included in the collection are buildings, businesses, places and people.

Matsubara - Aldridge Homestead
in Bunnythorpe, 1910
Manawatu YMCA 1918


Park & Smith Family
Boating on the Manawatu River, 1880s

F. MacKenzie, Fruiter
Jack Trewin Boot Depot



Utuwai School, 1903 Waituna West Village, 1906



Memorial Service in Feilding town, 1923

Lethbridge Family



Pilkington Writer's Fund

 See 'About Us' page for more details.


Feilding & Districts is a dedicated repository for the area's history.
If you have any historical documents or photographs about this area or its people,
please consider donating them to the FDCA.