By Uwe Ritzer, Nuremberg
The fact that toys can be quite expensive is not a recent phenomenon. His son and heir to the throne was not yet in sight when Louis XIV, the absolutist sovereign of France nicknamed “Sun King”, ordered something very special from him as a precaution. The craftsmen of Nuremberg were supposed to constitute two armies, made up of several hundred infantry and cavalry, each measuring about ten centimeters. The numbers should be very flexible in order to simulate the battles as realistically as possible. The future king would have to learn the craft of war effortlessly, hence Ludwig’s plan. The order was taken over by the Nuremberg masters Gottfried Hautsch and Johann Jakob Wolrab, one of the blacksmiths of the circle and the other of the goldsmiths. After four years, the miniature army was ready. “It cost a huge fortune,” explains Helmut Schwarz, doctor of history and long-time director of the Nuremberg Toy Museum.