Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 113th birthday of Alexander Calder, inventor of the mobile. And fittingly, the mobile in their logo moves when you “push” it with your mouse — or tilt your Google Chrome and accelerometer-equipped laptop!
Although famous for his hanging dynamic sculptures, Calder actually got his start designing wooden push and pull toys. My family has seen Calder’s original models on display at the small but wonderful Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The exhibit includes replicas for kids to play with. According to the museum:
Alexander Calder’s original prototypes of push and pull toys were made in the 1920′s. The Gould Manufacturing Company in Oshkosh, WI produced them for the mass market. Though trained as an engineer, Calder began to focus on making art soon after graduating from college. In the meantime, he had to make a living. Even as a boy, Calder had always enjoyed tinkering with bits of wire to make imaginative toys with moving parts, so he created a series of playful wooden pull toys for children, eventually finding a company willing to manufacture them.
Follow the links on the Berkshire Museum website to find information and activities related to Calder’s toys!