SUPPORT US. Covid-19 has significantly affected our fundraising. Please help!
Log InRegister
Home PageAbout MindatThe Mindat ManualHistory of MindatCopyright StatusWho We AreContact UsAdvertise on Mindat
Donate to MindatCorporate SponsorshipSponsor a PageSponsored PagesMindat AdvertisersAdvertise on Mindat
Learning CenterWhat is a mineral?The most common minerals on earthInformation for EducatorsMindat ArticlesThe ElementsBooks & Magazines
Minerals by PropertiesMinerals by ChemistryAdvanced Locality SearchRandom MineralRandom LocalitySearch by minIDLocalities Near MeSearch ArticlesSearch GlossaryMore Search Options
Search For:
Mineral Name:
Locality Name:
The Mindat ManualAdd a New PhotoRate PhotosLocality Edit ReportCoordinate Completion ReportAdd Glossary Item
Mining CompaniesStatisticsUsersMineral MuseumsMineral Shows & EventsThe Mindat DirectoryDevice Settings
Photo SearchPhoto GalleriesNew Photos TodayNew Photos YesterdayMembers' Photo GalleriesPast Photo of the Day GalleryMineral Photography

GeneralToys for Christmas

13th Nov 2015 21:31 GMTcascaillou

Christmas is coming, so here are mineralogy, geology and mining related toys and gadgets.

...yeah that thread is a serious threat to parental wallets :-D

Let's start with antique toys:

Atomic energy lab (1950s)
This playset was including various uranium ores, radiation detection devices, a guide to uranium prospecting...Read more about it here:

Coal miners automaton (1910s)
Look at their blissful smile...clearly shows how much fun it was do be working as a coal miner ;-)

Coal miner automaton (1910s)

Meccano Pithead (1930s)

Bing steam toys - Coal mine (1910s)
When pulley wheel is powered (by a crank handle), buckets of coal are carried to top of tower, coal miners with ore carts move along conveyer belt, and tinplate miner figures begin working behind the glass plate in the base, which can be illuminated by supplying power to the electric light mounted underneath.

Arnold tin toys - Coal mine (1950s)
With clockwork action (windup) railway, and spark sprinkler in the chimney

Marx Tin Toys - Busy miners (1940s)
With clockwork action (windup) railway

Technofix - Coalmine (1960s)
With mechanised (windup) mine train

Carlisle & Finch - Mining train (1910s)
With motorized (electric) locomotive

Buddy L Trains - Mining train set (1929)

Orobr - Mining dredge excavator (1920s)
See a video of this windup toy in action:

Excavator and minecart (1950s)
Crank handle operated toy: sand is lifted up and fills the mine cart, once the cart is loaded it rolls down and dump its load.

Road King - Mountain mining set (1974)
With crank handle powered track.

Skil craft - Geology lab (1960s)
Includes specific gravity kit and chemical analysis.

Rapco - Tumble Stones (1970s)
Rock tumbler set (electrical).

Pif Gadget - 'Le diamant mystère' crystal growing kit (1970s)
'The mysterious diamond'

Pif Gadget - 'Le cristal mystérieux' puzzle (1970s)
Pif Gadget's Mysterious crystal puzzle solved (1970s)

16th Nov 2015 16:49 GMTcascaillou

Some modern toys now...

Mineralogie 2000 (mineralogy set)

'Space Age' crystal growing kit

Rock tumbler set

Earthquake set

Volcano kit

Lava lamp volcano

Infinity mirror mine
Infinity mirror mine (close-up view)

T-rex tricycle
size: 12 x 8.5 ft

Dinosaur skeleton excavation Kit (glow-in-the-dark)
Extract a glow-in-the-dark dinosaur skeleton from matrix (various dinosaur models available).

Baby T-rex skeleton (by Untamed)
Animated, roars, and glows in the dark.

'Dino Xcavator' board game
Grab bones without setting off the 'roar' alarm.

Rock monster (Skylanders prism break series)
...with illuminated quartz tits :-D

Rock monster (Skylanders prism break giant series)

Another terrifying Rock Monster (Rocks & bugs & things series, model 'bloodstone')
Another terrifying Rock Monster (Rocks & bugs & things series, 'bloodstone')

The cuttest cuddly trilobite ever! (by Paleozoic Pals)
The cuttest cuddly trilobites ever! (by Paleozoic Pals)

Cuddly ammonite (by Paleozoic Pals)
All plushies from (let's note that plushies of other paleozoic invertebrates are also available).

Wooly mining set

Vintage soviet miner doll (1980s)
Hey kid, can you spell propaganda?

Hand-carved coal miner puppet
By B.C. artist Craig Thomas.

Lego ammonite

Lego city - The mine

Lego mining

Kyanite squad (by Enlighten)

Playmobil gold mine set

MicroMachines Timber trails mine set

Chile mine rescue playset (funny!)
Read descriptions for a good laugh.

Bigjigs Rail Coal mine (wooden railway)

'Gold mine' board game

3D crystal (gemstone) puzzle
In pink, blue or colorless.

Now, here are some mining vehicles toy models (Caterpillar, Komatsu, Atlas Copco, Sandvik, Bucyrus, Liebherr, etc.):
Toy model (Komatsu)
Toy model (Liebherr)
Toy model (Bucyrus)
Toy model (Sandvik Jumbo drill)
Toy model (Sandvik Crusher)
Toy model (Sandvik Loader)

JV models - Burnt river mine (scale model)

SierraWest - Deer Creek Mine (scale model)
Faller - Mine headgear 'Marienschacht' (scale model)

And here's a video of some impressive scale-modelling (underground mine):

At last, here's an idea to entertain kids at mineral shows: why not build a large watertight sandbox (using a thick plastic tarp), add a good layer of sand&gravels with tiny pyrite grains mixed in, fill with water, and provide the kids with large plastic plates (with conical rim). Just don't make water level too high so younger kids can't drown (adult watch required).

18th Dec 2019 03:26 GMTAlice Sikorski

Why wait until Christmas? The Utah DNR hosts 'gold' panning each year for the Geo-week. Haven't lost a kid yet. LOL.

18th Dec 2019 03:52 GMTcascaillou

Nice :-)
My 'adult watch required' mention was more in the perspective of a sandbox large enough for the kids to actually step in the water.

16th Nov 2015 16:52 GMTcascaillou

And for highly-connected today kids: video games!

Saurian, a dinosaur simulator:

Saurian (dinosaur simulator video game)

Gold Rush, a gold mining simulator:

Gold Rush (gold mining simulator video game)

For industrial scale mining, here is Underground Mining Simulator:

Underground Mining Simulator (video game)
Let's note that a 'Surface Mining Simulator' version of the game is also available.

Cybermine, a professional mining simulator:

Cybermine (a professional mining simulator)

Let's go for a Komatsu ride in cockpit view:

While it's nowhere near as realistic as the previous games, let's still mention Minecraft (which is a sandbox construction game which involves mining for ressources, such as ore and stone, before building anything):
Minecraft (video game)
This very popular game even has its own dedicated mindat article:

16th Nov 2015 17:15 GMTcascaillou

And if you don't yet have a gift for your better half...

Edible geodes (chocolate and crystal sugar)
Edible geodes ('amethyst and citrine', chocolate and crystal sugar)

Agate rug (wool and silk)
Agate rug (wool and silk, detailed view)
By & Kimberly McDonald.

Tourmaline tumbler glasses
By glass artist Jeremy Sinkus.

Pebble pillows (1)
Pebble pillows (2)
Pebble pillows (3)
Let's note that there are also pillows with a pebble-like pattern printed on them, but they don't look near as good as the above (which aren't printed but weaved)

'Electrolux Trilobite' (robotic vacuum cleaner)

Rock soap (aka gem soap):

Rock soap (aka gem soap)
Rock soap (black onyx)
Rock soap (jade)
Rock soap (green garnet)
Rock soap ("jade")
Rock soap (black opal)
Rock soap (agate)
Rock soap (geode)
Rock soap (smoky quartz)
Rock soap (amethyst)
Rock soap (tourmaline)
Let's note that soaps with veined inclusions will still look like rocks after dissolution of the facets.

Eventually, your better half will fully realize how serious your condition with rocks is :-D

16th Nov 2015 17:30 GMTRob Woodside Manager

Great!!! Thanks so much. Somebodies Xmases will be merrier.

16th Nov 2015 18:57 GMTChester S. Lemanski, Jr. Manager

What a wonderful assemblage of interesting mining-related stuff. Many are obscure for sure!

16th Nov 2015 22:27 GMTcascaillou

personal favourite: the cuddly trilobite!

16th Nov 2015 23:02 GMTJake Harper Expert

I really enjoyed this!

My favorite is the Atomic energy lab set!

17th Nov 2015 01:36 GMTEugene Cisneros Expert

I am probably one of the few living survivors of the Atomic Energy Lab. :-D

17th Nov 2015 05:53 GMTJoel Dyer

Wow, some really cool stuff in there - brought back some memories of various gadgets! For me, too, the trilobite is a favorite - where can I get one? One could cuddle up to the Trilo, and weep with him / her about broken or lost crystals on rock trips, or fantasize about great, rare micromineral finds one has just dreamt about :-)

The pebble pillows are great, too; esthetically pleasing furniture elements, which would fit in very well over here in Fennoscandia, as well as in Japan, surely.

Thansk for this thread!


17th Nov 2015 06:31 GMTcascaillou

Unfortunately I'm not sure this model is still available for sale (maybe ask

17th Nov 2015 12:59 GMTMatt Courville

Thanks for the fun post! (tu)

17th Nov 2015 16:30 GMTcascaillou

Glad you people enjoy it :-)

15th Dec 2015 21:53 GMTcascaillou

A blog dedicated to dinosaur related toys:

24th Nov 2017 11:37 GMTcascaillou

one month till christmas...

24th Nov 2017 17:18 GMTDonald B Peck Expert

WOW! What a collection. Wish I could find that toy store!

26th Nov 2017 09:05 GMTJolyon Ralph Founder

For some more fantastic mining technology, try this

26th Nov 2017 12:04 GMTJohn Montgomery Expert

Love the rock soap... great thread cascaillou

19th Nov 2019 07:07 GMTJolyon Ralph Founder

The Kyanite Squad!!!

17th Dec 2019 18:27 GMTcascaillou

Hahaha that Kyanite Squad thing is awesome, I have to add it to my list!

PS: I've updated the topic (replaced broken images and added a few more cool toys and decorative items)

17th Dec 2019 21:00 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

I absolutely love the mining models and old steel models. Obviously, these are from a time when mining wasn't so frowned upon like it is today. Thanks for posting these!

Concerning the plush animals, I'll have a real treat for everyone later tonight..... ;-)

17th Dec 2019 23:31 GMTGareth Evans

I think the mechanical toys came from a time when young boys enjoyed building things with their hands. However, OHSA and PC has severely limited the interest. Boys still build things with their hands but the number is decreasing steadily with each passing decade. I know of many young men who do not know how to gap a spark plug or do a lube change on their own cars.

Above is one of my Christmas toys. It is called a rotary table invented about 120 years ago. It enables you to do precision work on a milling machine like the 6-hole pattern in the cylinder of the steam engine shown in the lower photograph. It enables you to divide a circle into any number of degrees or seconds.

I will be getting some fixtures for the table so I can extend its use.

18th Dec 2019 01:41 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

Welcome to my Paleozoic Zoo!!

In addition to the Trilobite and Ammonoid, the Paleontological Research Institute has for several years produced a variety of plush "animals", including the Tully Monster, Tiktaalik, Dimetrodon, and one of their latest, Wiwaxia. I have been collecting them as they come out with new ones and have every one produced so far. Who says adults can't collect plushy animals? ;-)

18th Dec 2019 01:58 GMTcascaillou

Fantastic collection! and you even have the blue-eyed trilobite!

Do they still make it? Not that I need it but...ok I admit I want one :-D

18th Dec 2019 02:31 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

Unfortunately, I don't believe they do.
I have three of them. They are my "Travelbites" since one always goes with me in my travels around the world.

18th Dec 2019 03:08 GMTcascaillou

mail sent :-D 
...let's hope they still have one sleeping inside a dusty box, I'll adopt it.

This is definitely my very favourite amongst all the modern toys I posted, that creepy 'bloodstone' rock monster being a close second. In the antique category, I think the Arnold tin toys coal mine looks great, and of course, the Atomic energy lab stands out as a witnessing of 20th century history.

18th Dec 2019 03:15 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

Good luck!
They all had that "please take me home" look, which is why I have three of them...

18th Dec 2019 03:26 GMTcascaillou

hahaha I can understand that

18th Dec 2019 16:41 GMTTony L. Potucek Expert

Right now, Paul, I could use one of those riding the train from Winslow, AZ to St. Louis with Marcie.  Best to you and Natalie and enjoy your holidays!


18th Dec 2019 17:29 GMTcascaillou

Sad news. My heart is broken. Out of production since 10 years now.

18th Dec 2019 19:19 GMTGareth Evans

Actually it is not bad news if your wife, girlfriend, mother or sister is good with their hands. My mother and my sisters used to make their own clothing, so making a Trilobite soft toy should be a cinch for any lady who has good sewing skills. I even learned how to sew, which has proven handy on many occasions.

18th Dec 2019 20:34 GMTcascaillou

Funny considering I just sent the picture to my sister who love plushies, and as a professional dressmaker she answered that she could easily make me one.

18th Dec 2019 21:02 GMTGareth Evans

I do love the ladies - they are always there when you need them!
Mineral and/or Locality is an outreach project of the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Public Relations by Blytheweigh.
Copyright © and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2020, except where stated. Most political location boundaries are © OpenStreetMap contributors. relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.
Privacy Policy - Terms & Conditions - Contact Us Current server date and time: August 10, 2020 09:30:58
Go to top of page