One of the most beloved toys in Switzerland, the endearing animals crafted by the artisans at Trauffer Holzspielwaren may just be what your home needs to usher in the Lunar New Year
The phrase “Don’t have a cow, man” was used by the mischievous little troublemaker Bart Simpson during The Simpsons’ run in the 1990s as a way of telling his elders and peers not to sweat the small stuff and just let things slide. We, on the other hand, are telling you to have a cow: specifically, one of Trauffer Holzspielwaren’s adorable wooden cow toys.
Since 1938, the Swiss toymaker has been putting smiles on the faces of children across the globe with their beautifully crafted wood toys that are made in the shapes of farm and forest animals endemic to Switzerland. While the current line includes creatures like the famed Bernese Mountain dogs (St. Bernards) and people like acrobatic flag-spinners and alpenhorn players, it is Trauffer’s cows that continue to charm and captivate both locals and tourists alike.
Each little cow is a miniature replica of the milk-giving Holstein-Friesian and Simmental cows that are common in the Berner Oberland: those beautiful black and white or brown and white-spotted bovines that have long been a part of the landscape in that part of Switzerland. Trauffer cows are either black- or red-spotted, are available in different poses, and are embellished with miniature versions of the iconic Swiss cowbell with the intricately embroidered collars.
While these were primarily made for the enjoyment of children, the appeal of Trauffer’s wooden animals is such that adults who had at least one of their pieces eventually go on to collect them or buy their own children little farm playsets from the brand’s perennially popular collection. It is interesting to note that, even with the coming of mobile games and state-of-the-art playthings, these simple little toys continue to appeal to both children and adults.
And why not? For children, they are a great way to inspire imagination and creativity. Among adults, there is much to admire: excellent workmanship, for example, as well as an adherence to delivering their best work to the world.
A Tradition of Charming Craftsmanship
Toymaking is a family thing for the company with third-generation member Marc Trauffer currently at its helm. Playfully referred to by longtime fans of the brand as “the man with the cows,” Marc says that his family is in the business of making children happy. He has been quoted as saying that Trauffer’s motivation as a company is to “put a sparkle in the eyes of children around the world.”
And they have done just that over the past 83 years with miniature animals and figurines made with care and adherence to the highest possible standards for product quality, craftsmanship, and children’s safety. Indeed, Trauffer Holzspielwaren prides itself on:
- 100% designed by Swiss artisans;
- The use of FSC-approved and organic linden wood, which means it conforms to standards for sourcing environmentally sustainable materials;
- All production is done in Switzerland; and
- Fair transport practices.
Consider a Herd of Your Own for the New Year
According to Oriental tradition, the coming of the Lunar Year of the Ox is a year for diligence, reliability, strength, and resilience – all of which are natural qualities of cows and oxen. For this reason, having Trauffer cow or starting a collection of Trauffer cows is a great way to celebrate a New Year that we are all bravely facing after the trials of 2020 with the same strength and resilience as those docile yet reliable cows of the Oberland and with the same sense of wonder as the generations of children who have enjoyed – and continue to enjoy – these adorable little cows.
Pictures: Trauffer Holzspielwaren