Steampunk hippo

I found this at an op shop.  It cost me 50 cents.  It’s adorable.  It stands 3.5cm high.  It’s made of some base metal.  Other than that, I know nothing.  Any idea when/where it comes from?  I’m guessing modern & recent.

Steampunk hippo thedreamstress.com

Look at his cute little hippo tush:

Steampunk hippo thedreamstress.com

And his mouth opens!

Steampunk hippo thedreamstress.com

He’s missing one of the screws on the hinges of his jaw.

Steampunk hippo thedreamstress.com

His head turns all the way around too, and all his feet and arms rotate.

Steampunk hippo thedreamstress.com

He has a thing on his head, so you could wear him as a pendant, and one last screw on his tush.

Steampunk hippo thedreamstress.com

When it comes to steampunk hippos, Felicity does not approve.  I think she is worried that he is cuter than she is.

Steampunk hippo & Felicity thedreamstress.com

When I tried to get her to pose with him she kept trying to knock him off the windowsill.

Steampunk hippo & Felicity thedreamstress.com


  1. Aww! The cutest little thing! Makes me want to cradle it in my arms and tuck it in to bed.

    • I’ve looked pretty closely, but there are no signs of paint, so if it was painted, it’s been pretty well exposed to the elements. It would take a bit to get the last flakes off the joints and the inside of its mouth. He does have a weird waxy residue in spots – it’s quite robust, I can’t scratch it with my fingernail.

  2. How often do you see a cat that much larger than a hippo???
    He is cute. And amazingly detailed and functional for something so tiny!

    • We’ll, I’ve never seen a cat and a hippo together in any context before!

      He’s pretty nifty. A friend of mine has a set of Victorian animal miniatures that are tiny – mice that fit on your fingernail etc, and they are AMAZING. This is no-where in that category, but it’s pretty good!

  3. Lynne says

    Tell Felicity she is still the reigning Queen of Cuteness! But your wee hippo is charming. He is not recent, though modern would fit. I wouldn’t place him much later than the 1940s. There is a lot of charming detail – the wee buttons, the set of the face and the tush- that did not often happen to such toys after Disney got going. He would have been painted, I think. He’s had a rough life – glad he has made it to a safe place! Fairly safe – being batted off ledges is risky. 🙂

    • Oooh…do you really think he is that old? He rather reminded me of the hippos in Madagascar, so that’s why I though he was rather recent.

      He’s well out of harms way now – he lives on a hatbox next to my feather kahili, up on a high dresser, with the other things that are far too tempting for Felicity.

      • Lynne says

        I don’t think two of his screws are original – they don’t sit properly, and I think they’re different from each other. Pop him in your pocket the next time you’re going to town, and ask someone in the classiest second-handery selling vintage toys that you can find. I’m prepared to place a small bet that he is older than I am.

    • If the screws are original then he can’t be from before the 1930’s. They’re Phillips heads, which weren’t in production until sometime around 1934.
      Robertson screws were invented a few decades earlier, but before that all screws had slot heads.
      There is the possibility that the screws were replaced at some time(I re-finished a 1950s chair once that only had about half if of its original screws), but that’s unlikely considering the shape they are in.
      I wouldn’t think this hippo cute if he were bigger, but at 3.5 cm high he is cute. It’s amazing to see so many moving parts on something so tiny.

  4. Felicity is such a doll! What a fun and unique find – a little TLC will have him perfect in no time 🙂

    • She is a cutie for sure!

      I’ll get around to having the hippo fixed, but for now he’s safe just sitting on a shelf in my house. I’d rather have him be a little rough than have him fixed irresponsibly. Conservation vs. restoration etc until I can be sure of what it is.

  5. Claire Payne says

    Miss Fissy has nothing to worry about when it comes to being the cutest of them all.

    What will you do with your hippo? Put him on display?

    • Hehe. Probably not!

      The hippo is sitting on a stack of hatboxes (the toile de joie background to the photos above) on my tallest dresser, just next to a vase with the kahili. It’s one of the few places in the house Felicity can’t access, and he adds a nice bit of levity to the tableaux.

  6. JennyTheArtist says

    I found a hippo exactly like this one! It was in a barn for years and years. Did you ever find out anything more about it? I would love to know it’s history!

Comments are closed.