Sometimes you read stories of old times where you see a person called a “toymaker”.
Was there ever really a person who could make a living making say toy trucks and dolls?
The way I look at it toys, were an afterthought. Maybe a woodcarver made some tops or wooden dolls or say a tinsmith would make little figures that moved. But was it ever a full time career for someone say back in the 1600’s?
‘Toy-shops’ certainly existed by the late seventeenth century, although the word ‘toy-maker’ isn’t recorded until the mid-nineteenth century. The complication however is that ‘toys’ weren’t quite what we would think of them as being. They were instead trinkets and knick-knacks in general. The shift to toy shops being specifically for children was gradual and is sometimes difficult to pinpoint. The classic toyshop was more the result of industrialisation and changing shopping habits in the nineteenth century.
In the 1600s the manufacture of children’s toys was mostly still very small-scale (pun not intended), usually literally cottage industries. Doubtless, as you assume, some were produced by craftsmen as minor side-lines. But by then Nuremberg was already known as the major manufacturing centre for children’s playthings and there some producers probably were already able to specialise.
Toys were found in Pompeii, many small carved animals, spinning tops and small wheeled toys. It seems likely the larger cities of Rome had toy-makers/shops. The large population and concentration of disposable income makes it pretty likely.
Yes, toys are ancient. But Urbanredneck is looking for a time when there was someone who made their living exclusively (or at least primarily) by making toys, as opposed (say) to a farm parent who makes their kid a doll or model tool in between sharpening the scythe and milking the cows.