Boats have been around as long as there have been humans on the earth. Boats are one of mankind’s earliest inventions, and improvements to the boat have been steady throughout the course of history.
It is the nature of human children to play and mimic the world around them, especially when mimicking adults. Like today’s kids, children of ancient and not so ancient past have made and played with toys, like toy boats. Toys as far back as 4000 BC are regularly found by archeologists, and its not surprising that toy boats have been among their discoveries.
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Children are fascinated by boats, for numerous reasons. The earliest boats where powered by types of oars such as the ones found on canoes or the larger trireme type boats. As early as 3000 BC people were starting to use sail power on their boats, but until the invention of the rudder around 800 AD by Chinese inventors, boats were steered by their oars.
No doubt children of the past marveled at the boats they saw, with men traveling to distant lands returning with strange new animals and goods, this surely invigorated the children’s imaginations and their fascination with the boats and all the activity going on around them. Without doubt children of the past made and played with toy boats, fantasizing about living a life full of adventure by traveling on them to distant lands, seeing exotic places, animals and people.
It was by the beginning of the 1780’s that sails gave way to steam power. France had radically changed ocean and river transportation with steam powered boats. The first steam powered boats had external water wheels mounted on both sides of the boat or ship to provide thrust. Again, there isn’t any doubt people of all ages found this fascinating, and playing with toy boats at that time would have fulfilled any child’s dream.
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In the middle of the 1800’s the screw propeller was invented which was a major contribution to maritime technology, the screw propeller is still in use by almost all boats and ships today. Along with the inventions of the gasoline and diesel engines has forever changed how boats both big and small were propelled, and this has impacted the way boats are still being designed today. With each new technological design of boats, people of all ages are continually fascinated in their evolution, leaving children desiring toy boats of each new type and design.
As time goes by, the technology in ship and boat designs change, along with the propulsion systems that move them across the waters and the weapons mounted on their hulls. One thing does remain the same, the imagination of a child. With the myriads of types of boats floating on the oceans, rivers and lakes today, there are many toy boats for children to play with. Giving a toy boat to a child is a great gift that will help them to sail off on their own adventures to distant lands guided by their imagination.
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