Wind-Up

Karel Grod

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Wind-Up

Wind-up toys are usually powered by springs and their evolution history is one to tell. They were discovered in the 15th century by a German inventor known as Karel Grod. He is attributed with coming up with the first types of wind-up toys which included a mechanical eagle and metal fly. Since then they have continuously evolved with several other inventors coming onboard to add their advancements. Later in 1509, a fellow inventor Leonardo da Vinci from Italy came up with a wind-up lion that was a more advanced toy compared to what Grod had earlier discovered. In a bid to provide proof to his argument that all animals are complex, Rene Descartes this time round created a windup human girl which also had its share of impact in the toy market. It was however withdrawn form the market after many men claimed to have been frightened by the toy.

By the year 1800, the market demand for wind-up machine art hit a rock bottom paving way for wind-up toys to reap even more benefits from the unfortunate situation. For this reason, their costs went down causing them to be sold at very cheap prices. They were also produced in large quantities since their demand was equally high. The outwitted wind-up machines were to be later incorporated by the wind-up toys and were as a result designed in very many types and forms. Many toy makers in European countries started manufacturing tin wind-up toys as several other designs began to crop up.

This liberalization of the market beckoned a bleak future for the wind-up toys as their demand began sinking to the lowest and unimaginable levels. They as a result started losing popularity in the mid 60s owing to the entry of modern technology into the market. As such, small and cheap alkaline batteries were introduced to the industry in 1960 allowing motors to function and run effectively without necessarily using the much popular wind-up mechanism. Then in late 1970, plastic toys were introduced by the Japanese company Tomy which marked its entry by producing the first classic robot that could walk on its own. This was the climax of the wind-up toys evolution as many other forms of toys have since flooded the market giving buyers a variety of choices to choose from.

Contrary to the belief of many people that they are very complicated to operate, the wind-up toys work in a very simple way. Their operating mechanism may vary from one type to another but their energy principle is almost the same. However, there are few recognizable differences as some are powered by rubber bands while others work using springs. Regardless of the operating mechanism, all wind-up toys employ the use of gears to transfer the potential energy to all the movable parts for easy movement. The gears furthermore help the toy to take control of its direction and speed.

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