Milton Bradley's Myriopticon Toy Theater Featuring Civil War Scenes, 1866

The Myriopticon, A Historical Panorama of the Rebellion. Published by Milton Bradley & Co. Springfield, MA. Housed in original branded box, approx. 8.5 x 5.5 x 2.5 in. The toy, manufactured by Milton Bradley ca 1866, consists of a cardboard box decorated to look like a proscenium stage, complete with illustrated curtains, bunting, a medieval king and queen, a harpist, and a tambourine player. A large framed opening in the box reveals hand-tinted engravings of the Civil War's most important events, featured on a paper scroll that is wound around two scroll tubes on either side of the box. A wooden key is then used to rotate the tubes, moving the panorama scenes across the frame. Originally, the toy also came with printed tickets and a script for narration, however those items are not included in this lot. 

Though popular since the late eighteenth century, panoramas became an exciting way to allow curious Union and Confederate audiences to experience some of the sights and sounds of the Civil War. Yards-high paintings would move across a theater stage and present audiences with some of the most important scenes from the war. Toys like The Myriopticon, though marketed mostly to boys ages seven to twelve, played into this keen interest in the events of war and the popularity of panoramas across the country. Young boys could imitate great showmen, putting on their own miniature panorama exhibitions for friends and family members to enjoy.


Outer and inner box both with heavy wear to edges, including some paper/pain loss. Paper scroll has at least a few small tears to bottom edge, though they do not appear to affect the operation of the toy.

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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