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Something about Antonini Company

The Antonini Company is the oldest of its kind in Italy, and is also one of those in Europe that have produced toy soldiers and military models uninterruptedly for a long time.
The first steps on this field were moved in 1910 by Francesco Antonini, who imported different sets of molds of "Gebruder Schneider" of Leipzig from Germany. The molds, which are still preserved in the Antonini laboratory, were made of aluminum, a real "modernity" for the time, and allowed to create lead Prussian soldiers, spearmen, British infantrymen, hussars, farm animals, Indians hunting bison, cowboys, Bedouins, small sailboats and even a nativity scene, complete with angels and comet.
In 1912 Francesco Antonini, satisfied with the results achieved, widened his activities directly creating his first molds and his own figures, which were distributed under the trademark "L.G.P." (Laboratory of Lead Toys).
The mark was reported only on the labels of the boxes and was not printed on the soldiers, which were instead characterized by the oval base that they still have.
The molds were made of bronze, composed of different parts, and allowed the construction of round models, instead of "half-round" as those of "Gebruder Schneider".
The first set of toy soldiers, that had a big success with the kids at the time, represented the Ottoman Army departments, against whom our army was fighting in the Italian-Turkish War.
These first series were followed by many others that kept the uniforms of the soldiers updated hand in hand with those of the "real" army soldiers.
In addition to the Italian soldiers, they produced several series of foreign soldiers as the Scots, the Napoleonic, the Zouaves and the eighteenth-century armies, as well as a nice variety of Italian masks of the Commedia dell'Arte.
The figurines of this period had a naive and nicely rounded look ( they were called PETTONI in the laboratory).
They were painted with glossy enamel and were toys to all effects, even if some years later they began to be requested by collectors and enthusiasts.
In 1927, to follow the new trends and new demands of the market which wanted "unbreakable" soldiers, as they were called then, the Antonini patented a special wood pulp, very hard and resistant with which he started a new production.
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La Bottega del Soldatino

 
The new soldiers were larger than those made of lead and were cold forged with bronze molds and big presses.
These new pieces began with gray-green uniforms of the Italian Army, Ascari, Dubat and Abyssinians, of the colonial troops as well as the liveliest ones of Carabinieri on foot or on horse with the related bands, Cuirassiers, Pontifical Guards, Swiss soldiers, Canadian Mounted Police, Indians , cowboys and the beautiful series of zoo animals.
They were sold under the brand F.I.G.I.R. (Italian Factory Unbreakable Toys Rome) that was printed beneath the whiskers, also these with the characteristic oval shape.
Since 1950, to satisfy the many requests that came by collectors of miniatures, the production of standard metal series was resumed using the old molds.
For the occasion the figurines were colored and refined with more details, while the company started to use an alloy with a high tin content for the melting, in order to make unalterable models, which no longer had the brief existence of a toy.
The most successful series were, as usual, the Italians with the entire army of 1861-66 and the one of 1896.
In 1968 the production of F.I.G.I.R. toy soldiers in wood pulp was stopped, because they were replaced on the market by the most practical plastic toys, while the Antonini company oriented its production on the metal collectible models.
Luciano Antonini, who had joined his father in his business when he was a kid, made the new series in a standard 54 mm size, replaced the cute and stylized trotting horses with more realistic horses in various positions and took modern fusion machines, with vulcanized rubber molds.
The new series began with the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Kingdom of Sardinia of the '700, gradually continuing with various pre-unification states of the Risorgimento as: Piedmont, Papal State, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Lombardo Veneto, Empire of Austria and recovering again the '700 with the Kingdom of Naples.
Dr. A. Pranzetti was the author of some models that deviate from the current production for their artistic value such as the police charge in Pastrengo, the epopee of Garibaldi and more.
Since the end of the 70s, L. Antonini began to produce, in collaboration with G. Del Vecchio, also models in mounting envelopes to assemble and paint.
They are models melted in many parts, with particular realism and details, created to satisfy even those who prefer to directly refine their figures, as many foreign collectors have been doing for years.
 
Where we are

Come to our shop!

La Bottega del Soldatino