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Tin Woodman

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Tin Woodman

200px-Tin Woodman
The Tin Man as depicted in the books

Title Nick Chopper the Tin Woodman, Emperor of the Winkies
Gender Male
Species Tin Man (formerly Munchkin)
Origin Munchkin Country
Residence Tin Palace (Winkie Country)
Occupation Lumberjack, Ruler of Winkie Country
Affiliation Dorothy Gale, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Winkie Country
First Appearance The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

"For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world."
―The Tin Woodman[src]

Nick Chopper, The Tin Woodman is one of the more popular and important personages in the Land of Oz.


The Tin Woodman is a fictional character created by L Frank Baum. Author and creator of the Oz legacy. His real name is Nick Chopper but he is also known as 'Tin Man' for short, and just like his nick name, he is exactly just that. For he is made entirely of shiny hatllow silver tin, and cleverly jointed together, although he rattles and clanks a little as he moves. He always carries his handy Axe and he is tireless and has no need for food or drink or sleep, but he was prone to rust before he was nickel-plated.
Rusted in the thick woods.
JesseofOzAdded by JesseofOz
With or without a heart, he was always the most sensitive, tender and emotional of Dorothy's companions (just as the Scarecrow was the wisest and the Cowardly Lion the bravest). When he accidentally crushed an insect while walking on the yellow brick road to see the great Wizard, he was grief-stricken and, ironically, claimed that he must be careful about such things from then on out, while those with hearts do.
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Tin Woodsman as a Human
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not need such care. (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)

The Tin Woodman remains alive, in contrast to the windup mechanical man named Tik-Tok, the royal army of Oz, Nick Chopper was not turned into a machine, but rather had his "meat" body replaced by a metal one with no internal organs (heart, brain, etc.). Far from missing his original existence, the Tin Woodman is proud (perhaps too proud) of his untiring tin body as he is so unique out of any one else in Oz, there are plenty of loins and scarecrows throughout the land but there is only one man made of tin. He keeps it brilliantly polished and his tin joints well-oiled.

Tin Woodman and Scarecrow
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His appreciation of his heart notably contrasts with the Scarecrow's pride in his brains, reflecting a common debate between the relative importance of the mind and the emotions. This, indeed, occasions philosophical debate between the two friends as to why each one's choices are superior. Neither convinces the other, but they remain the closest of friends.

The Tinwoodman rusted in position.
JesseofOzAdded by JesseofOz
The Tin Woodman is so well-loved that the "Shining Emperor Waltz" was written in his honor by Mr. H.M. Wogglebug, T.E. When the Wogglebug later asked about his genealogy, he claimed, "I am a Tin Woodman and you may enter me in your book under the name of Smith, for a tin smith made me, and as Royal Emperor of the Winkies, I do not care to go back to my meat connections."
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Marvel Comics version of the Tinwoodman.
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The Tin Woodman holds Toto as he chit chats with the Queen of Field Mice.
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The Tin Man has a rather humorously sad and sweetly tragic history, he was originally a rather healthy and handsome human being who was born as a Eastern Munchkin named Nick Chopper. His father, also a Munchkin man lived in a small cottage hidden away deep in the woods. Nick's father was a skilled woodman who chopped down trees for a living, and when Nick grew up he became a woodman as well.

After his parents died, Nick had no other family to turn to, so to stop his loneliness he decided to find a mate to marry and start a family of his own with. Nick fell deeply in love with a beautiful Munchkin girl named Nimmie Amee, who worked as a full time maid and belonged to an old widowed woman near by. Nimmie Amee also had deep feelings for Nick so Nick promised his future wife that he would build a nice steardy house for her to run away too, all he had to do was chop some trees down and start building. Now, This old woman who owned Nimmie Amee eavesdropped on the two lovers talking one day. She did not want to lose her servant, so she secretly paid the Wicked Witch of the East two sheep and a cow to prevent her servant from becoming a bride to elope with Nick in anyway possible. The Wicked Witch cast an evil spell and enchanted poor Nick Choppper's axe to slip in his hands when he used it to swing. Instead of hitting the wood of the tree trunk, his axe strangely chopped all of his body parts clean off one by one. After each accident, a nearby tinsmith replaced the lost part with a tin one until eventually his entire body was made of tin, even his head. But his new tin body had no heart, so he lost his love for Nimmie Amee, to her horror, and never saw her ever again.

Some time later he was caught out in the forest during a storm while chopping down trees to pass the time and rusted solid. He stood there frozen in one position for an entire year until Dorothy Gale and the Scarecrow found him as they we're both both traveling in Oz to see the Wizard. Nick decided to join them in their journey to the Emerald City and ask the great Oz to give him a heart to love again. After many adventures in Oz and meeting the Cowardly Lion, the group of new found friends made it safely to they're destination. The Wizard sent them to destroy the Wicked Witch of the West, and after they succeeded the Winkies asked the Tin Woodman to be their ruler. He chose to return to the Emerald City with his companions where they discovered that the Wizard was a humbug. The Wizard cut a hole in the Tin Woodman's chest and inserted a silk heart stuffed with sawdust, which proved to be very soft and tender. (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)

This tenderness remained with him even after he became Emperor of the Winkies, as evidenced when he refused to let a butterfly be killed for the casting of a spell. (The Patchwork Girl of Oz)

The good friends help one another
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When Dorothy returned home to her farm in Kansas, the Tin Woodman returned to the Winkie Country to rule as emperor. He had himself nickel-plated and later had his subjects construct a palace made entirely of tin — from the architecture all the way down to the flowers in the garden. The grounds also feature tin statues of the Emperor's personal friends. (The Road to Oz)

The Tin Woodman of Oz
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The Tin Woodman has had many other occupations as well as that of Woodman and Emperor. He commanded Princess Ozma's army and was briefly turned into a tin whistle. (Ozma of Oz) He also served as defense counsel in the trial of Eureka the kitten. (Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz)

Nick Chopper finally set out to find his lost love, Nimmie Amee, but discovered that she had already married a man constructed partly out of his own discarded limbs. For the Tin Woodman, this encounter with his former fiancée is almost as jarring as his experience being transformed into a tin owl, meeting another tin man, and conversing with his ill-tempered original head. (The Tin Woodman of Oz)
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The Tinwoodman lives in a Tin Castle. After the Wicked Witch of the West died the Tinwoodman rules over the Winkie people.
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Book Appearances

Background Information

The Tin Woodman had no name in the first Oz book; L. Frank Baum called him "Niccolo Chopper" in his 1903 stage adaptation, and "Nick Chopper" in The Marvelous Land of Oz and after.

The Tin Man was a major character in the comic page Baum wrote with Walt McDougall in 1904-05, Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz.

Baum's successors in writing the series tended to use the Tin Woodman as a minor character, still ruling the Winkie Country but not governing the stories' outcome. Two exceptions to this pattern are Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, by Ruth Plumly Thompson, and Lucky Bucky in Oz, by John R. Neill.

In Magic Land the Tin Woodman is the Iron Woodman, Iron Woodcutter, or Iron Lumberjack (depending upon translation). In The Great Wishy Woz he is Metal Guy.

In L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz: The Graphic Novel the Tin Woodman resembled a robot with no heart, illustrated in the style of W. W. Denslow.

Modern fiction

In the novel The Tin Man, by Dale Brown, the eponymous protagonist is a power-armored vigilante whom the media and police have dubbed The Tin Man for his physical resemblance to the Wizard of Oz character.

The Tin Woodman is a minor character in author Gregory Maguire's revisionist novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, its Broadway musical Wicked and Maguire's sequel Son of a Witch. In the book, Nessarose, the Wicked Witch of the East, is seen enchanting the axe to swing around and chop off Nick Chopper's limbs. She does this for a peasant woman who wishes to stop her servant, probably Nimee Aimee, from marrying Nick Chopper. This seems to be close to the Tin Man's origin in the original books, but from the Witch's perspective.

In the Musical adaptation of Wicked The Tin Woodsman is revealed to be Boq, a Munchkin whom the Wicked Witch of the East, Nessarose, fell in love with when they were at school together. When she discovered his heart belonged to Glinda, she botched a spell that was meant to make him fall in love with her, but instead shrunk his heart to nothing. To save his life Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West was forced to turn him into tin. Not understanding her reasons, he pursues Elphaba with a single-minded vengeance for his current form.

Peter Schulenburg provides a treatment of the Tin Man's unique home in The Tin Castle of Oz.

In Magician of Oz (2009), by James C. Wallace II, the Tin Woodman's Tin Palace is the destination for Jamie Diggs (great grandson of O.Z. Diggs), Dorothy, Glinda, and Princess Ozma as they travel from Glinda's Red Brick Palace in the Large Red Wagon, pulled by the Sawhorse. Signs along the way refer to his palace as "Nick Chopper's Place". There is also a chapter named "The Grand Potato Soup Luncheon", which takes place in the Tin Palace and features a sumptuous banquet of Potato Soup prepared by Aunt Em for Jamie Diggs.

Depictions on Stage and Screen

The Wizard of Oz stage performance

In 1902, Baum helped to adapt The Wizard of Oz into a wildly successful stage extravaganza. David C. Montgomery played the Tin Woodman opposite Fred Stone as the Scarecrow, and the team became headliners.

Silent Film

Oliver Hardy played the Tin Woodman in a 1925 silent version of The Wizard of Oz starring Larry Semon as the Scarecrow.

1939 Movie Adaptation

Jack Haley
The Tin Man was a wood-chopper who had rusted in the forest near his cabin when Dorothy and the Scarecrow met him. He sang the song "If I only had a Heart" and agreed to accompany her to the Emerald City to see if the great Oz would give him a heart. He saw the Wizard together with the party. Later, when Dorothy and Toto had been abducted by the Wicked Witch's Winged Monkeys, the Tin Man, Lion, and Scarecrow dressed up as Winkie soldiers and infiltrated the castle in an attempt to rescue Dorothy. As they were escaping with her, the witch was killed. (The Wizard of Oz)
Buddy Ebsen as Tin Man
Ebsen the original Tin Man
LarrySpring96Added by LarrySpring96
The Tin Man was played by actor Jack Haley. Buddy Ebsen was originally cast to play the role, but the character's makeup originally contained aluminum powder; Ebsen accidentally breathed the powder into his lungs and was rushed to a hospital. This forced him to give up the role. Haley based his breathy speaking style in the movie on the voice he used for telling bedtime stories to his son, Jack Haley Jr.

The Wiz

In 1974 Tiger Haynes portrayed the Tinman on broadway, The tinman in this production was similar to the one in The
Tiger Haynes
LarrySpring96Added by LarrySpring96
Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He was once a real man who was a woodsman. A wicked witch put a spell on his axe which cut off his limbs. He went to a friend of his that was a tinsmith to see if he could fix him up. He did again and again and again. Until the woodsman was now the tinman.In 1978 a film adaption of the show, gave the role to Nipsey 
Nipsey Russell
LarrySpring96Added by LarrySpring96

Russell.The Tinman in the film is a rusty old animatronic Coney Island man who was the fastest metal mouth on the midway ( as he said). Then once the park was about to close he had plans to go beyond being a theme park attraction but he was abandoned in the park once it was closed for many years and was sat on by he's wife Teenie who was the laughing machine. But once Dorothy and the Scarecrow enter the amusement park, he cries for help to get there attention. Once they push Teenie off of him he tells them that he doesn't have a heart and wants one so he can love all humanity. So Dorothy invites him to come and see the wiz. Once they oil him up, he becomes apart of their session.

Return to Oz

The Tin Woodman, in Return to Oz.

The Tin Woodman was turned to stone along with the other Ozians, until Dorothy Gale returned to Oz and rescued him, after which he was reanimated and happily greeted his friend from Kansas. (Return to Oz)

The Muppets' Wizard of Oz

The Muppet Gonzo the Great plays a similar role, the Tin Thing, in 2005's The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. In this version, he is the Wicked Witch of the West's research assistant, transformed into a robot to prevent him wanting a day off to marry Camilla the chicken.

De musical The Wiz

In 2006, Jerrel Houtsnee portrayed the Blikkeman, which is the tinman in dutch. This was a modern update version of the Tinman. He seemed to have been made from old radios from the bottoms and knobs on his torso and the speakers on his legs. But he has flashing lights on his back. So its unknown what he's made from. 

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Beef Ravioli Commercials

Tin Man Beef Ravioli
The Tin Man is surrounded by hungry children.
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In 2006, the Tin Man was the protagonist in a pair of television commercials for Chef Boyardee brand canned Beef Ravioli, in a costume identical to the design used in the 1939 Oz film. In the commercials, the Tin Man (played by Australian actor David Somerville) is pursued by groups of children due to the fact that an oversized Beef Ravioli can label has been affixed to the back of his cylindrical torso (which he doesn't notice until the midpoint of the first commercial); thus, he appears to be a very large, mobile can of ravioli. In the first ad, the Tin Man escapes from his pursuers only to discover that the building he ducked into is an elementary school cafeteria full of hungry children.

Tin Man Beef Ravioli side
The Tin Man runs from the children.
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The second ad begins with the Tin Man running through a residential neighborhood, accidentally adding to his pursuers when he stumbles across a backyard birthday party; after fleeing across a golf course (while dodging balls from the driving range), he is cornered in another backyard and threatened with a garden hose (playing on the Tin Man's classic weakness of rusting). As the scene shifts to the image of a Beef Ravioli can, sounds of water hitting metal and the Tin Man's cries for help are heard. (Beef Ravioli commercials)

Tin Man

Tin man wyatt cain
Wyatt Cain, the former Tin Man.
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In 2007, the Sci-Fi Channel released a three-part miniseries titled simply Tin Man, which was a re-imagining of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In this story, the Tin Man character was not actually made of tin, but was a human detective named Wyatt Cain; He was part of a police force known as the Tin Men. Additionally, Cain is first encountered locked in a tin container as a cruel form of punishment, quite similar to the immobile state in which Dorothy encountered the Tin Woodman. While imprisoned in the tin suit, he was forced to watch his family's massacre over and over again by Azkadelia, an evil sorceress and this story's version of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Dorothy and the Witches of Oz

Tin Man Witches of Oz
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The Tin Man comes to New York and participates in the battle against the Witch's forces. He's one of the few Ozians that Dorothy knew in childhood in Oz, that didn't appear in New York in some form prior to the battle with the witch, although her friend Rick briefly believed himself to be the Tin Man, until the real Tin Majn showed up. In that battle, the Tin Man had a one-on-one battle with the Nome King, which he eventually won. (Dorothy and the Witches of Oz)

Jim Shore

Jim Shore launched a special edition for the Tin Man based on W.W. Denslow's illustrations.
Jim Shore's special edition.
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In Video Games

Emerald City Confidential

Governor Chopper
Governor Chopper.

The Tin Man, known as Governor Nick Chopper, is still the governor of Winkie Country, although he's been corrupted (to some extent) like all the other citizens of Oz, due to the events of the Phanfasm War. While he's still a good man, who wants to help his people, he's become impotent since The Frogman gained so much power in Winkie Country through coercion. The Frogman now also employs Nimee Aimee as his servant (and possibly girlfriend), with whom the Tin Man is still in love. As a result, Governor Chopper has become cynical, often over-indulging in his cans of oil. (Emerald City Confidential)


References to the Tin Man in popular culture

  • In the song "Tin Man" by the band America, the lyrics state that "Oz never did give nothin' to the Tin Man, that he didn't didn't already have." This is an obvious reference to the fact that the Tin Woodman was a very caring character, possessed of much figurative heart, if not a literal one.
  • In The Muppet Show episode that guest-starred Brooke Shields, Fozzie Bear dresses as the Tin Woodman when he mistakes the Muppets' presentation of Alice in Wonderland for The Wizard of Oz.
  • Superman temporarily became the Tin Woodman after a tornado took him, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman to Mister Mxyzptlk's planet of Oz in an episode of "The World's Greatest Super Friends". 

Sources of the Tin Man image

Economics and history professors have published scholarly studies that indicate the images and characters used by Baum and Denslow closely resembled political images that were well known in the 1890s. They state that Baum and Denslow did not simply invent the Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Yellow Brick Road, Silver Slippers, cyclone, monkeys, Emerald City, little people, Uncle Henry, passenger balloons, witches and the wizard. These were all common themes in the editorial cartoons of the previous decade. Baum and Denslow, like most writers, used the materials at hand that they knew best. They built a story around them, added Dorothy, and added a series of lessons to the effect that everyone possesses the resources they need (such as brains, a heart and courage) if only they had self confidence. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a children’s book, of course, but as Baum warned in the preface, it was a "modernized" fairy tale as well.

The Tin Man was a common feature in political cartoons and in advertisements in the 1890s. Indeed, he had been part of European folk art for 300 years. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Tin Woodman is described as a worker, dehumanized by industrialization. The Tin Woodman little by little lost his natural body and had it replaced by metal; so he has lost his heart and cannot move without the help of farmers (represented by the Scarecrow); in reality he has a strong sense of cooperation and love, which needs only an infusion of self-confidence to be awakened. In the 1890s many argued that to secure a political revolution a coalition of Farmers and Workers was needed.

In an 1890 editorial cartoon, President Benjamin Harrison wears improvised tin armor because he wanted a tariff on tin. Some interpreters argue that this shows the figure of a "tin man" was in use as political allegory in 1890s.

The oil needed by the Tin Woodman had a political dimension at the time the story was written because Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company stood accused of being a monopoly (and in fact was later found guilty by the Supreme Court.) In the 1902 stage adaptation the Tin Woodman wonders what he would do if he ran out of oil. "You wouldn't be as badly off as John D. Rockefeller," the Scarecrow responds, "He'd lose six thousand dollars a minute if that happened." (Swartz, Oz p 34).


  • The "tin man" gene in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is so called because, when it is absent, the flies do not develop a heart. (Cf. Azpiazu & Frasch (1993) Genes and Development: 7: 1325-1340.)
  • Ray Bolger was originally signed to play the Tin Man in the 1939 film, then Buddy Ebsen was cast, but was allergic to the makeup and was replaced by Jack Haley.
    • Jack Haley's makeup gave him an eye infection, and his costume was so bulky, he had to sleep on a recline board.

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