Automaton "Jumbo elephant"

    Automaton "Jumbo elephant"



    Roullet, Jean

    Papier-mache, leather, fabric (velvet), ivory

    Height 36 cm, 16 kg


    When winded, the toy clumsily moves like a real elephant and periodically claps its large ears.

    Barnum presented this automaton to Mr. Wesley Redhead of Des Moines, during the farewell tour of Barnum and Bailey Circus in the 1880's. As a friend, Barnum rented a plot of land from the successful local entrepreneur Redhead for the circus site, and was a guest in his luxurious house during his stay in Des Moines. Before leaving, Barnum presented Redhead a toy elephant, which was very similar to the famous Jumbo elephant from the Barnum's circus, and was considered the largest in the world.

    Together with the mechanical elephant, copies of historical photos of the Barnum's Circus parade along the main street of Des Moines (copies from the original glass slides), as well as documents and personal records of Mr. Redhead regarding the circus tour, have been preserved. The toy elephant was kept in the Redhead family before being acquired by Museum "Collection".