Find out more about the "Jack in the box"
The first mechanical or wind-up toys were made back in Grecian times - but the art was revived by watch makers and clock makers during the 15th century. Early in the 16th century, a German clockmaker named Claus made a box for a local prince whose son was about to celebrate his fifth birthday. A simple wooden box with metal edges and a handle, and with a turn of the crank produced a simple tune and out popped a "Jack," a Devil, a comical version with a leering smile. Other nobles took note of the child's toy and the idea spread. Technology by the 18th century meant that it was a 'common toy' or novelty often in use for all ages. It was around this time that the image of a devil in a box became cartoon fodder for rogue politicians and other public figures held to ridicule. Another theory as to the origin of the jack-in-the-box is that it comes from the 13th century English prelate Sir John Schorne, who is often pictured holding a boot with a devil in it. According to folklore, he once cast the devil into a boot to protect the village of North Marston in Buckinghamshire. This theory may explain why in French, a jack-in-the-box is called a "diable en bottle" (literally "boxed devil"). Two boys playing with a jack-in-the-box in an 1863 illustration The toy gave its name to the fast food restaurant chain Jack in the Box, which features a mascot named "Jack" who resembles a toy clown from a jack-in-the-box
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