It defied the onset of computer games and plastic toys, it's a common sight in children’s bedrooms and souvenir shops and it embodies pure, unadulterated Swissness: the piebald wooden cow has been made by Swiss firm, Trauffer, for 75 years.
Trauffer manufactures more than 200 different wooden figures: horses, donkeys, Saint Bernard dogs, crocodiles, ducks, flag-throwers and even the Holy Family.
However, it all began in 1938 with the cows, which remain even today the company’s best-selling figurines. They never fail to bring a smile to a child’s face, especially at Christmas time.
Nowadays there are numerous varieties of the Trauffer cow: standing, sitting, eating, as a calf, bull or cow and in different colours.
The family-run business, which is based in the Bernese Oberland, has produced more than 400,000 figures this year alone, including 150,000 cows. The miniature models are largely made and painted by hand.
The company uses wood from Swiss forests and follows criteria set down by the environmental organisation, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
(Photos: Gaetan Bally, Keystone. Text: Andreas Keiser)