View current stock of this book >
Lothar Meggendorfer was born in Germany in 1847. After completing his technical art studies he became a popular magazine illustrator. He spent many years on the staff of the German satirical magazine 'Fliegende Blatter' and also worked for Munchener Bilderbogen.
Meggendorfer's popularity today is based solely on his ingenious mechanical picture books for children which he began creating in the late 1880s. Many of his German titles were published in multiple editions. Many were also translated into English, French, Spanish, Italian, Bohemian, Hungarian, and Russian. He is considered the creator and chief innovator of moveable toy books - and deservedly so. His books are much sought after and demand a high price on the rare occasion when they turn up on the market in good working order.
Click here to view scenes from Meggendorfer's books...
'The Genius of Lothar Meggendorfer' contains reproductions from Meggendorfer editions published before 1900. The last moving model in this book has a clear backing on the reverse of the page so that one is able to view the moving parts when the tab is pulled - I can assure you, it is a very complex mechanism!
'Always Jolly' is an example of the many early Meggendorfer titles which are true moveable books operated by pull-tabs. Intricate levers are hidden between the pages to give movement. Tiny metal rivets which are tight curls of thin copper wire are used to attach the levers so that a single pull-tab can activate all the levers, even giving a delay to some moving parts as the tab is pulled further out. The book is larger than a 'normal' book in size, being 13 inches from top to bottom and 9.5 inches across. It contains 8 full page moveable images accompanied by a verse on the facing page.These include: The Angler, The Naturalist, The Forgotten Latchkey, The Lion, The Elephant, The Portrait-Painter, The Musician & The Pianist.
In 'Always Jolly' I particularly enjoyed the introductory plea made by Meggendorfer to the children who might play with the book:
Meggendorfer passed away in 1925 leaving a lasting legacy in the form of his ingenious moveable books.
Contributed by Sonia Bryant