Q: We have a set of toy American Indians that consists of 11 figures, including the chief, an Indian on horseback with bow and arrow, another Indian with a gun, a female figure and others. They were in my husband’s family for years. The box they’re in says, “Elastolin, Made in Germany.” I would appreciate any information you can give me.
A: Elastolin is a trademark used by toy manufacturer O. & M. Hauser of Stuttgart, Germany. The company was founded in 1904 by Otto and Max Hausser. In 1912 Hauser began making miniature military figures out of a mixture of sawdust and glue. The figures were hand-painted and marked “Elastolin.” Figures representing soldiers from many wars, medieval characters, cowboys and Indians and other figures, including animals, were made in several sizes. Figures representing members of Nazi organizations and their leaders were made in the 1930s. The figures of Hitler, Goring, Goebbels and other Nazi leaders had movable right arms that could be raised in the Nazi salute. No figures were made between 1943 and 1945, when German industries concentrated on the war effort. Hard plastic figures were made beginning in 1955 and soft plastic figures beginning in 1970. Production ceased in 1983. Your American Indian figures are sought by collectors. Depending on complexity and condition, the figures sell online for $10 to $100.