Collinsons & Sons are one of Englands longest rocking horse manufacturers in production and their rocking horses were manufactured from their factory in Liverpool from 1836 over several generations. until the 1990's after which the business & factory ceased. 

Queen Victoria visited the premises in 1851 and apparently the dapple grey was her favourite style. From this point on the Collinsons firm concentrated on making horses in dapplegrey. 

The early Collinsons rocking horses were nicely carved with flared nostrils, glass/wood eyes & turned upright posts to the stand. The dapples on these earlier horses were more subtle than that on the later period horses which were boldly dappled all over.

The later post 1950 Collinsons horses were given upholstery stud eyes and the style of the upright posts changed from turned to square in shape.

The more modern Collinsons are quite crude in their carving with less flaring of the nostrils, metal studs for the eyes and corderoy and leatherette saddles which all made for quicker / cheaper production in the factory.

The wood used for making the Collinsons horses was pine, including their legs This meant that the legs to be made thicker for added strength, Other manufacturers such as F H Ayres or Lines would have used beech for their horses legs, enablng them to be made thinner as beech is a stronger wood.

Please see the photos below for examples of various Collinson Rocking Horses & their attributes...

 

 

Collinsons & Sons Rocking Horse in original condition

The following attributes lead to this being a collinsons rocking horse.

1/ upright square posts

2/ red swingirons & brackets

3/ starlock washers on the end of the swingirons ( as in later models)

4/ metal stud eyes

5/ All over bold dappling

6/ Cordoroy & leatherette saddle/cloths

7/ Diamand shapes over the spigots on the top rail of the swingstand.

8/ Upholstery studs decorating the fabric rosettes.

Original condition Collinsons rocking horse

Note the square shaped upright posts on the swingstand of this Collinsons rocking horse which is in original condition. Also his metal stud eyes & diamands on his top rail of his swing stand. His shellac has aged a nice yellow patina.

A later Collinson & Sons rocking horse much originality

This Collinsons rocking horse has the bold dappling that they are reknowned for. Also the cordoroy & leatherette saddle, red brackets & swing irons and the typical diamand shaped pieces of wood on the top rail of the stand.

A Collinsons rocking horse that has been restored

This rocking horse was restored with dapples more subtle than it would have had originally. Its upholstery metal stud eyes were replaced with glass eyes & he also has a replacement horsehair mane & tail enstead of cows hair and replacement saddlery. 

The stand still retains the later Collinson features such as square upright posts, starlocks on the red swingstand ends & also the diamands on the toprail covering the spigots.

Refurbished Collinsons rocking horse

Another example of a Collinsons rocking horse that has been restored to his owners specifications. Subtle dapples were desired over the crude bolder ones he would have originally had. 

This particular horse although has the later square upright posts borders on circa 1950. He had wood half circle eyes which have been replaced with glass. His carving to his muzzle is nicer with more flaring of the nostrils than in some of the later period Collinsons. His stand is original ( albeit later painted green) and the bowler caps are added as part of the restore.

Collinsons Rocking Horse Large Size

This Collinsons was of a large size standing over 48" high. His original all over bold dapples is worn in places down to the gesso and wood.

His stand shows all the pointers to a Collinsons with starlock washers fitting the swingrails & the square upright posts with diamands covering the spigots.

His mane, tail & saddle and cloths are not original & are later replacements.

 

Rocking Horse by Baby Carriages of Liverpool

Although this page is to help you identify your Collinsons rocking horse I felt it would be helpful to show you a photo of a Baby Carriages rocking horse alongside, who also had their factory based in Liverpool.

Baby Carriages were the main competitors to Collinsons in the city and both firms share similarities to the way their horses were constructed. Both types of horses had their legs set in to the side of the body, rather than tenon & mortice joints, compared to companies such as F H Ayres & Lines.

Baby Carriages also had turned uprights to the posts like Collinsons in their earlier period horses and then changed to square upright posts in their later ones as seen in this photo.

The saddlery was adorned with many studs & the toprail of the stand also bears the diamand shapes as per Collinsons.

It can be difficult to tell a Baby Carriages horse apart from that of a Collinsons to the untrained eye. BUT there is a clue! Look at the shape of the legs where they join the body! They are of a slightly different shape & more refined, as is the general all over carving.

 

 

Baby Carriages rocking horse similar to Collinsons but with nicer carving