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The History of Jack-in-the-Box

The first Jack-in-the-Box toys began to appear in the 16th century and are thought to have evolved from squeak toys that first appeared in Europe in the 1500s. These early Jack-in-the-Box toys were often more scary than funny, but as attitudes towards children softened, the toys became cuter and less fearsome. Early manufacturers made the boxes out of wood, and later printed cardboard. In the 20th century, Jack-in-the-Box toys were famously made out of lithographed tins. The clowns were first made from papier-mâché, then bisque, then celluloid; they are now most commonly made of plastic. Today, Jack-in-the-Box toys often swap the traditional clown for characters beloved by kids, including Winnie the Pooh, the Cat in the Hat, the Three Little Pigs, Curious George, or cute animals like kittens and dogs. While not quite as popular as they were during their heyday, Jack-in-the-Box toys remain a common sight in playrooms today.

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