Noisemakers!

Douglas Wood
Submitted by Douglas Wood November 16th, 2010
Certifikitsch WinnerClassique d Camembert

A few weeks ago I posted my Halloween noisemakers, which prompted a conversation with Allee in which she included a few of hers. We both agreed to get the rest of our collections out of storage and share at AWMok, so here’s my stash. I realize I couldn’t have picked a more annoyingly busy background for this photo than this rug in my office, but the lighting was best in this room. I’ve got lots of more detailed photos below, grouped by type of noisemaker, and including my favorites.

Most of the noisemakers are from the 1930’s (maybe because the Depression cried out for them?) but mine range from the 1920’s to the early 1960’s.

I’m a sucker for Conga Lines, in real life and in any medium.

Here’s a close-up of the Carmen Miranda noisemaker from the 1940’s:

This is one of my very favorites– a lyrical clown and fairy in a sort of Art Nouvean style.

Love this party girl, standing in a giant Champagne glass:

This is pretty wild too– really captures the craziness of the Jazz Age:

My favorite round one from the 30’s:

These are “clickers.” Love the Bathing Beauty at top left and the 1950’s bug in the middle (bottom).

This horn was made in France:

Clowns, balloons (upper left), more clowns, kids and bells.

Love this illustration:


These are music boxes. The two in front are really old. They all make a sound that completely evokes the past.

This music box is from West Germany and is from the early 60’s, I think.

This one’s also from West Germany. Go figure.

A tambourine from the 50’s:

Also from the 50’s:

These European ones are made of wood and make a great hollowy sound.

Finally, this is the oldest of the bunch, from the early 20’s. It’s called a gragger and is huge– over 11″ in length. It makes the loudest, most nerve-shattering sound you can imagine as the hard wood plank gives against the ridged wood wheel.

16 Responses to “Noisemakers!”

  1. Allee Willis

    Allee Willis

    WOW!! Now THIS is a detailed and excellent post!

    You certainly beat me to the punch in dragging your vintage noisemakers out. And what a stunning collection you have! I don’t have anywhere near as many as you do but I, thankfully, have a few of the same ones you do. Mine are mostly of people dancing or playing instruments. But on the whole you have much rarer ones than I do as well as more different types. But you’ve inspired me. My fingertips are starting to itch which means that an eBay shopping spree will happen right after I finish this sentence…

    Seeing your collection inspires me to look at the genre a little more carefully!

  2. Planet Joan

    Planet Joan

    This is an amazing collection- Do you have them on display, or are some packed away? The graphics are so great, and in such good condition.

  3. MyFunCloset

    MyFunCloset

    Never have I ever seen a noise maker collection like this. Highest praise for qualtity, variety & graphics. No one favorite. All great!

  4. Markydoodle

    Mark Milligan

    Thanks for sharing this! I love the art work on all of them. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a gragger somewhere when I was a kid, or something similar-I saw the pic before I read your comment, and knew the noise immediately!

  5. Douglas Wood

    Douglas Wood

    Thanks, everyone for your comments. Nothing like positive feedback from one’s peers. Thanks, Allee for the Camembert!

    Nessa– so cool to see that gragger noisemaker on the ground in the Alice in Wonderland Illustration. Guess those were around even earlier than I thought.

    Planet Joan– I used to have a lot of them on display in my office (which seems to be the repository for many of my chotchkes as my wife likes a more minimal design approach for the rest of the house), but I wanted to make room a for big old surrealistic Mexican folk art mask so I now just have a handful on display and the rest are in storage.