We shop regularly at Weird Stuff since it is right down the street from us. We get all kinds of goodies; mostly parts for projects, but also the occasional computer or flower pot. We had a very successful shopping trip recently, and came home with a set of Russian stacking dolls (a.k.a. matryoshka, plural: matryoshki).
Our matryoshki are in the form of a matched set of American bushing boxes in graduated sizes. They stack together beautifully, making a nesting toy of the best kind.
Matryoshki are a relatively recent Russian tradition, and you can read plenty about them on wikipedia or any site that sells them, such as RussianCrafts, where you can see examples of many varieties. The most excellent image you can find of nesting dolls is this x-ray from Science Photography.
Each set of dolls has a central theme or artistic motif, as demonstrated by the orange and maroon styled set being unstacked here. These particular matryoshki happen to have some fantastic vintage printing. There’s also something about the set that is appealing in the same way as the drill chuck, clamp, and plier food chains.
Below are a couple more lovely vintage boxes we purchased that don’t fit in our nesting set.
In case, you’re wondering, Nice ball bearings are from the Nice Ball Bearing Company which was founded in 1902 by William Nice, Jr., and is now a part of RBC Bearings.
For the hardware junkies, these are a couple of the bushings that came along with the boxes; on the left is the Thomson Super Ball Bushing for a half-inch rod, and the one on the right for a one-inch rod was removed from the largest matryoshka to make room for the smaller nesting dolls. It’s pretty enough to just crawl inside. Shouldn’t all doll sets come with hardware this wonderful?