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DICCIONARIO DE JUGUETES ARGENTINAS
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OCCHIPINTI & FERRERI (OF)




In her book Diccionario de Juguetes Argentinos (Dictionary of Argentine Toys, p. 171 & 172, see images below), Daniele Pelegrinelli writes about El Constructor Infantil. I include it here in its entirety for those interested in more detail about Occhipinti & Ferreri. The original Spanish text is further below, here an English translation:

[El Constructor Infantil] is part of that select group of enviable toys, perfectly made, polished, kind to the touch, capable of drawing an ideal link between play and pedagogy. It is made up of a variety of cardboard plug-in pieces that, mounted on a fiber base, allow the construction of chalets of different shapes and sizes.

For more details on her excellence, suffice it to say that the prestigious psychoanalyst Arminda Aberastury used it to systematize and update a test devised in 1937 by her colleague Erik Erikson. She transformed "the game of building houses" into a clinical procedure to be applied in therapy with children. She used El Constructor to diagnose, interpret and guide cases, developing a revealing projective technique that she made known in a short book, published for the first time in 1951, full of photographs of the unusual houses built during the analysis sessions and of the psychoanalyzed architects.

This is the most famous of the Occhipinti & Ferreri toys, but the firm produced a wide variety, mostly made of wood, the good workmanship of which was not the product of chance, but of the experience accumulated by three generations of carpenters. The Italian cabinetmaker José Ferreri started the family saga in 1908 when he bought a typical workshop located in Mexico 2751, called "El Nuevo Siglo", and founded, with the same name, a sawmill for trimmings and moldings, which he sold in 1912.

The sales slip, preserved along with other documents and family photos, says that he sold it "with all its machines, engines and tools, plus a small four-wheel drive with its corresponding horse and trimmings, for the amount of 5,650 pesos." He continued working in the Italia Redenta carpentry and furniture factory, installed in the meantime in partnership with his son Salvador.

In 1919, Salvador, who by that time had married Magdalena Santagostino and had three children –José, Edilia and Inés–, was in charge of this workshop, located at Bartolomé Miter 2360. Until the mid-1930s, the main activity was the manufacture of oak furniture for important furniture stores of the time. They moved twice, first to Rio de Janeiro 852 and then to their own premises, located at J.M. Bustillo 3256 (later 3254/70).

It is at that moment when Ferreri is associated with José Occhipinti and together they begin to produce toys with the OF brand. In an interview conducted in 1948 by Toys magazine, Occhipinti referred to its beginnings: «It was around 1934 when I began to worry about establishing a new industry in the country […]. For this I had to travel and see […]. This is how I spent almost a year abroad, presented by important introductory firms; and in Prague, in Nuremberg, in Brussels I spent weeks and weeks observing how a model was prepared, how it was assembled, corrected, controlled, even how an article was packaged ».

From that trip comes El Constructor Infantil, inspired by a Dutch toy. In this way, the commercial capacity and the ideas of Occhipinti are combined with the technical excellence of the Ferreri (at that time, two of Salvador's children –José and Edilia– worked in the factory) and from that alchemy the delicate pieces emerge

OF. Both The Builder and the other toys - The Child Engineer, trucks, miniature kitchen utensils, trolleys, party games, yachts with automatic steering, pianitos, furniture for dolls, bowling games, forklifts and many more – also reflect that original interest that had led Occhipinti to Europe seeking quality and excellence for its products.

In fact, the experimentation was constant. According to the aforementioned note, there was, on the ground floor of the establishment, a wide steel platform on which a motor had been installed, accompanied by a complete set of miniature carpentry machines, presses, handles, guides, levels, in short, a wide variety of instruments. It was a kind of laboratory where models that would later be produced on a large scale were designed and perfected.

The attention to detail in the finishing details of the toys reflected the degree of perfectionism they pursued in everything that was made. The materials used were also of excellent quality - guatambú wood, softwood, cherry, ash and carob - and a technique was used in the painting process that consisted of applying at least four, and up to eight, successive prints. It was done by hand or with a blowtorch, with enamels, varnishes and pyroxylin lacquers - also selected for their quality, low toxicity and their fixing power and intensity in color. The result was images with shadows and scrolls that give the appearance of volume.

Many toys were completed with accessories or metal stampings that were processed at the bellotti hnos plant. Also there they polished and finished the dies and carried out tasks for which they did not have specific machinery. In the 1940s, the plant was organized into several sections where almost sixty workers work.

Each year it offers one or two pieces to the FEP tenders and modernizes El Constructor Infantil turning it into El Constructor Infantil Privilegiado, thus giving it the tone of the time. Construcciones Populares, a house-building game made up of pieces of wood, followed this trend.

At the end of the 1950s, the company dissolved and the firm became Occhipinti y Cía. SRL. José Occhipinti continues with the factory; he exports to Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Santo Domingo and Cuba. In 1958 he was installed in Sarmiento 949, Morón, province of Buenos Aires.
Occhipinti & Ferreri toys are easily recognizable because - unlike the vast majority of wooden toys manufactured in the country, which were almost never identified with a brand - they always carry the characteristic "F" within an "O”.



Below the original text. If there is an error in the translation, please let me know!












ARMINDA ABERASTURY


Although this is quite a departure from the theme of this website, I thought it is quite interesting that Mobaco, in the guise of El Constructor Infantil, was used as a tool to help people rather than just as a toy.

Born in 1910 in Buenos Aires, Arminda Aberastury married a pioneer of psychoanalysis in Argentina. She was active both as a therapist and as a teacher, and focused on child psychoanalysis. She published 145 books and articles. She committed suicide in 1972, having been afflicted with a disfiguring skin disease. This biography tells more about her life.

As described in the The Dictionary of Argentine Toys,
Arminda Aberastury used El Constructor Infantil to systematize and update a test devised in 1937 by her colleague Erik Erikson. She transformed "the game of building houses" into a clinical procedure to be applied in therapy with children. She used El Constructor to diagnose, interpret and guide cases, developing a revealing projective technique that she made known in a short book, published for the first time in 1951, full of photographs of the unusual houses built during the analysis sessions.

I found that she wrote two books on this subject: El Juego de Construir Casas (The House Building Game) and El Niño Y Sus Juegos (The Child and his Games). The books are readily available in Argentina on the second hand site Mercado Libre.

Here some images of the first book, found on Mercado Libre:


























Images courtesy of Mercado Libre