Outlander Toys

Outlander Toys was inspired by the Starz new series, Outlander based on books written by Diane Gabaldon that I am totally addicted to …. living vicariously thru …sad but true. Since the series at this point is more about the adults few toys are shown but it got me to wondering what kids played with in the 1700’s. Since children had to grow up a bit faster basically most of the toys were based on adult rolls that they aspired to. Girls had dolls and boys swords… so far the first season the kids have been shown playing with swords and tag.

At first I was having trouble finding photos on toys of this period and then I found so many that I realized I could not get this completed in a day so created a Pinterest page that I will continue to add to  at http://www.pinterest.com/artoftoys/toys-from-1700s/

I have yet to find a single picture actually labeled Scotland or Scottish from 1700s but I am sure children had toys even if they made the dolls from rags and the swords from sticks…kids will be kids.

The toys we still have in museums were basically made for wealthy children and some were quite elaborate. Our best records are from paintings but again usually are of children with wealthy parents so are not always true representation.

Here are a few of my favorites to start with!


knuckle bones

The origin of knucklebones is closely connected with that of dice, of which knucklebones is probably the more primitive form. This is a game of very ancient origin, usually played with five small objects. Originally the “knucklebones” (actually the astragalus: (a bone in the ankle or hock) those of a sheep, which were thrown up and caught in various manners. This evolved from a dice game into modern day Jacks.



There are many paintings of girls and women sitting with dolls of this period. Most are carved wood or rags.

english girl with doll170os


Great old toy that is an aircraft consisting of multiple wings tethered to an anchor system. Frequently a wing of a kite is referenced as “kite”.

(c) Government Art Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationMaster Stenninge (with faithful hound and fab kite!) by Mason Chamberlin the elder (circle of) c. 1750

Rocking Horse

17th century rocking horse illustrates the plank-sided construction. Note the remains of footrests and the dummy pistol in the wooden holder.

17th century rocking horsepicture from book by Constance Eileen King


Ok this is my favorite a working canon… this would not meet current day Safety Standards for toys!

Toy Canon 1700There are MANY more toys to be added – Cup and Ball (today are called Kendama), tops, hoops and more dolls … check the Pinterest site you will be amazed.

Gailec for toys is cluicheag back translations:

  • toy
cluicheag f. ( genitive cluicheig, plural cluicheagan)