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The Tin Woodman of Oz

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Written by  L. Frank Baum
Illustrator  John R. Neill
Published  1918
Publisher  Reilly & Britton

The Tin Woodman of Oz is the twelfth book in L. Frank Baum's series of Oz books. It's subtitle is A Faithful Story of the Astonishing Adventure Undertaken by the Tin Woodman, assisted by Woot the Wanderer, the Scarecrow of Oz, and Polychrome, the Rainbow's Daughter

Baum dedicated the book to his grandson, Frank Alden Baum.


A vagabond child called Woot the Wanderer comes to the tin castle of the Emperor of the Winkies, the Tin Woodman. The boy is welcomed by the Tin Man and his guest the Scarecrow. In the course of conversation, Woot asks how the Tin Man became tin. The Emperor tells his story.

Originally a normal man of flesh and blood, Nick Chopper had fallen in love with a Munchkin girl named Nimmie Amee. She was the oppressed servant of the Wicked Witch of the East. Nick wanted to marry Nimmie, but the Witch found out about them; she enchanted Nick's axe so that it "accidentally" cut off his leg. Nick had his missing leg replaced with a tin substitute. Nick persisted in his suit, as did the Witch in her malice. The loss of his leg was repeated with his other leg, and his arms, and so on, until he was entirely made of tin. Nimmie Amee still wanted to marry Nick; but he had no heart, and could not return her love. He went in search of a heart — but rusted in the rain, and remained motionless until Dorothy and the Scarecrow discovered him. In time the Wizard of Oz gave him a heart; it was a kind heart, but not a loving one.

The three decide to find the lost Nimmie Amee; the Tin Man now believes it is his duty to marry her. The trio set out the next day. After meeting, and escaping, the Loons of Loonville, they have a serious encounter at the castle of Mrs. Yoop. She is a Yookoohoo, and the wife of the Yoop in The Patchwork Girl of Oz. Mrs. Yoop is a giantess, and performs malicious transformations for her selfish amusement. She has already captured the rainbow fairy Polychrome and turned her into a canary; she changes Woot into a green monkey, the Tin Man into a tin owl, and the Scarecrow into a straw-stuffed toy bear.

Woot, however, manages to steal the giantess's magic apron, which allows the four to escape. After various adventures they reach the farm of Jinjur, and are able to convince her to summon help from the Emerald City. Princess Ozma is eventually able to restore all four to their previous forms — though to do so she has to impose the green monkey form on Mrs. Yoop, a rough poetic justice.

On the road again, the party reaches the spot where the Tin Woodman rusted in the rain — and there they discover another tin man. He is a soldier, rusted stiff; once lubricated, he reveals himself as Captain Fyter. After Nick abandoned Nimmie Amee, the Captain had fallen in love with her, but also encountered the wrath of the Wicked Witch, with a comparable result. Captain Fyter joins them in their search.

They next find Ku-Klip, the smith who made both tin men. He has lost track of the girl they seek; but he informs them that he used different parts of their meat bodies to create a hybrid creature called Chopfyt. The Tin Woodman also finds his severed human head in a cupboard; it is alive and talking, but he-or-it is a dull and disappointing respondent.

After further adventures with an invisibility field, a Hip-po-gy-raf, and a professorial pig, the group finally find Nimmie Amee. She turns out to be married to Chopfyt, and has no interest in either Nick or Fyter. Polychrome returns to her rainbow, and the others go to the Emerald City. Ozma appoints Fyter to guard duty in the Gillikin Country; she gives Woot permission to continue wandering about; she will look out for him and protect him when she can.


The Party




The Tin Woodman of Oz provides important background data for the Oz mythos. A passage in Chapter 12 describes how the fairy queen Lurline placed an enchantment on the land, which negated the normal process of aging, sickness, and death; and how Lurline left a fairy of her band (Ozma) to oversee the place.

Regarding the Tin Man's confrontation with his head: severed heads that continue to live and talk appear repeatedly in Baum's works. Princess Langwidere has an entire gallery of them in Ozma of Oz, Chapter 6; and there is the head of the Cook of Fuddlecumjig in The Emerald City of Oz, Chapter 12.

For an earlier green monkey in Baum's work, see "Twinkle's Enchantment."

The Nine Tiny Piglets are said here to be the children of Mr. and Mrs. Swyne, which contradicts the origin given to them in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.


The Tin Woodman of Oz is unique in the Baum canon in the richness of its extant manuscript sources. It is one of the rare Oz books for which Baum's original MS. is still available (it is now at the Harry Ransom Research Center of the University of Texas); and an intermediate draft of the book's nineteenth and twentieth chapters also exists (currently in the collection of Yale University). Comparison of the two MSS. with the published version shows Baum's skillful revision of his story to enhance its emotional effect.

In the largest change, the original version of Chapter 19 merely connects the scenes in Ku-Klip's workshop and Nimmie Amee's house. In revision, Baum added complexity and diversity with the introduction of the invisible country, the Hip-po-gy-raf, and Prof. and Mrs. Swyne.


Baum's fantasies had entered a period of declining sales after 1910. The Tin Woodman of Oz reversed this trend: its first-year sales total of 18,600 was higher than the figures for earlier books like The Sea Fairies (1911), Sky Island (1912), and Tik-Tok of Oz (1914). Significantly, the sales of earlier Oz titles also rebounded from previous decline, many selling 3000 copies in 1918, and two, The Marvelous Land of Oz and the previous year's The Lost Princess of Oz, selling 4000 copies. Baum earned royalties of $6,742.52 from his Oz books that year. (In 1918 the average annual salary of a clerical worker was $940.) Even Baum's non-Oz fantasies were affected by the upsurge: John Dough and the Cherub (1906) sold 1,562 copies in 1918.

This reversal of fortune was important in Baum's evolution from merely a popular children's author to a cultural institution. The reasons for the reversal are complex and debatable. The psychological shock of the trench-warfare carnage of World War I may have inspired a wave of nostalgia for a simpler time, with Baum's books representing a lost age of innocence.

New edition

In 1955, Reilly & Lee issued an edition of The Tin Woodman of Oz with new illustrations by Dale Ulrey.


A computer-animation film of the book was made in 2007 by Hash Inc., the designers of the "Animation Master" computer program. The movie was created to promote the software, which allows users to generate their own computer animations. Overall, the film is a close rendition of the book, with a few significant changes: perhaps most notably, Captain Fyter is replaced with a tin version of Nimmie Amee was on YouTube.

The Hash Inc. film is available on YouTube; see External links below.


  • Katharine M. Rogers. L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.
  • Robert Wohl. The Generation of 1914. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1979.

External links

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