- "The Tin Woodman used to be made of flesh, like everybody else. But then he cut off his leg...so he had a tin leg made, but since the Wicked Witch had enchanted his axe, he kept on... cutting off all the other parts of his body; until he was all made of tin. Even his head was! "
- ―Return to Oz (1985)
The Tin Man as depicted in the books
|Title||Nick Chopper the Tin Woodman/Emperor of the Winkies|
|Species||Human Soul/Tin Man (formerly Munchkin)|
|Residence||Tin Palace (Winkie Country)|
|Occupation||Lumberjack, Ruler of the West|
|Affiliation||L. Frank Baum, Land of Oz, Munchkins, Munchkin Country, Nimmie Amee, Dorothy Gale, Toto, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Kalidahs, Emerald City, Wizard, Glinda, Winkie Country, Princess Ozma, Tip, Jack Pumpkinhead, Jinjur, Tik-Tok, Shaggy Man, Patchwork Girl, Gump, Sawhorse, Hungry Tiger, Winged Monkeys, Kalidahs, Poppies, Field Mice, Wicked Witch of the East, Wicked Witch of the West|
|First Appearance||The Wonderful Wizard of Oz|
- "Oh...well, about a year ago, I was chopping down that tree, when suddenly it began to rain. And right in the middle of a chop, I - I rusted solid. And I've been that way ever since..."
- ―Tin Man (1939)
- "For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world. "
- ―The Tin Woodman (1900)
- "Why it's a man; a man made out of tin! Oh, yes..."
- ―Dorothy Gale (1939)
The Tin Woodman is a fictional character invented by L Frank Baum, author and creator of the Oz legacy. He is first introduced as a main character in Baum's first Oz book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. He appears in the fifth chapter of the novel titled The Rescue of the Tin Woodman. He was born and raised in the magical Land of Oz and his real given birth name is Nicholas Chopper, or simply "Nick" Chopper for short. However, he is more known and called by his popular nickname, the Tin Woodman or just "Tin-Man" for short. He also is the second comrade to join the story's child protagonist and heroine of the novel named Dorothy Gale, who finds him rusted solid in distress in the middle of a big forest.
- In the book, it is stated by Baum he was born in the eastern quadrant in Oz known as Munchkin Country even though he is of average height. This hints he might not be a full blooded Munchkinlander since the Munchkin people are all small, standing only three to four feet high.
A Man Made Out of Tin
- "As Dorothy and the Scarecrow walked through the forest, they discovered something shining in a ray of sunshine that fell between the trees. Dorothy and Toto, ran quickly up to the place and then stopped short, with a little cry of surprise. One of the big trees had been partly chopped through, and standing beside it, with an uplifted axe in his hands, was a man made entirely of tin. His head and arms and legs were jointed upon his body, but he stood perfectly motionless, as if he could not stir at all! "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
The Tin Woodman of Oz is made entirely of shiny hallow silver tin, and cleverly jointed together, although he rattles and clanks a little as he moves he is able to bend his joints and get around quiet easily when properly lubricated. Nick Chopper was once a great and strong man who worked happily as a humble woodsman before ultimately being tragically turned slowly into his current form of tin, having his "meat" body replaced by a metal one with no internal organs, heart, brain, lungs etc. This makes him different from other beings like Tik-Tok--the mechanical copper man from Oz's Royal Army of Oz.
- "No Heart....All Hallow."
- ―Tin Woodman (1939)
- "Towards evening, Dorothy began to feel rather hungry. "If you wish," said the Lion, "I will go into the forest and kill a deer for you. You can roast it by the fire, since your tastes are so peculiar that you prefer cooked food, and then you will have a very good breakfast." "Don't! Please don't," begged the Tin Woodman. "I should certainly weep if you killed a poor deer, and then my jaws would rust again. "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Unlike Tik-Tok who strictly runs on clockwork, hacing to be wound up and said to love no more than a sewing machine, the Tin Woodman still has a soul, a spirit, a life-fource compared to other mechanical things in Oz that are made of metals. This explains why he still desperately craved for a loving heart because he wanted a significant other just like he did as a man of flesh and blood. Other being's in Oz such as Gump and the Patchwork Girl were both brought to life with magic spells or potions such as the Powder of Life, therefore they do not miss having a heart as they never had one to begin with. Unlike the Tin Woodman these figures were not once living and breathing beings who's souls transferred to their current form. Yet despite this, the Tin Woodman is far from missing his original existence. The Tin Woodman is now very 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 lions and scarecrows throughout the land but there is only one Nick Chopper.
- "The Tin Woodman had asked Dorothy to put the oil-can in her basket. "For," he said, "if I should get caught in the rain, and rust again, I would need the oil-can badly! "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
The Tin Woodman always carries his handy chopping axe everywhere he goes and is never seen without it. His axe is apart of him and is his trademark piece. If he ever lost his axe or had his axe taken from him, he would most likey become lost as well and unable to properly function without it. He has no need for food or drink or sleep, but he was prone to rust before he was nickel-plated. 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 not need such care. (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
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 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."
Oz History: Nick Chopper the Helpless Romantic...
- "If I only had a Heart..."
- ―The Tin Man (1939)
- "The Genius who created me only took care of my dashing good looks, my razor sharp wit and my irresistible attraction to the wrong women, what he forgot to add, was a heart..."
- ―The Wiz (movie) (1978)
- An independent 2010 film by Whitestone Movie Pictures, that is available online, specifically on YouTube, titled: "HEARTLESS" (The story of the Tin Man) -This short little adaptation of L. Frank Baum's character tells the intriguing and tragic story of a young and handsome human man named Nick Chopper who falls deeply in love with a beautiful maiden in Oz and how he ultimately became a man of tin.
- "There was once a Munchkin girl in my life who was so kind and beautiful that I soon grew to love her with all my heart. She, on her part, promised to marry me as soon as I could earn enough money to build a better house for her; so I set to work harder than ever. But the girl worked for an old mean woman who was widowed and did not want her to marry anyone, for she was so lazy she wished the girl to remain with her and do all the cooking and the housework. So the old woman went to the Wicked Witch of the East, and promised her two sheep and a cow if she would prevent the marriage. Thereupon the Wicked Witch enchanted my axe..."
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).
The Tin Woodman of Oz has a rather humorously sad and sweetly tragic history. And most people are not aware of his backstory at all, as it is glanced over and never mentioned in classic MGM movie of 1939.
A Heart To Love Again... Nick Chopper started out as a rather healthy and handsome human being. He was an Ozian born and raised in the eastern quadrant known as the Munchkin Country in Oz. Being a Munchkin, he was destined to become a great lumberjack woodsman. This was because when Nick was growing up his father was a skilled woodsman who chopped down trees for a living. Nick's father would sell the wood and lumber to the people in Oz to make houses, bridges, fences, and other establishments throughout the farming communities. So when Nick grew up he carried on the family tradition and became a woodsman as well. He made his own home deep in the Munchkin woods not too far off from Oz's Yellow Brick Road. He lived all alone on the side of the road in a little cottage with a bed of dried leaves.
After his parents died, Nick had no other family to turn to, so to stop his aching heart from 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 proposed to her confessing his true love. Nick Chopper then promised his significant other and future Wife that he would build a nice sturdy house for her to escape to and live a happier life at, 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 about their plans. Being old and alone, she did not want to lose her servant, so she secretly visited the Wicked Witch of the East. This Witch was the Wicked ruler of the Munchkin Country and had the people who inhabited the east tightly in her bondage. The old woman paid the Witch two sheep and a cow to prevent her servant from becoming a bride to elope with Nick in anyway possible. The Wicked Witch cast a dark spell and without him knowing it, she magically 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 missed the spot her aimed at and over time chopped all of his body parts clean off one by one. After each accident, a nearby tinsmith in the Munchkin Country replaced the lost part that had been amputated with a new shiny tin one until eventually his entire body was made of tin, even his head. And his soul from his meat body, transferred to the tin one. But with his new form the Tin Woodman no longer had the desire to eat or drink, or even sleep. And his new tin body had no heart, so naturally he thought he could no longer love, and ultimately lost interest of pursuing a future with Nimmie Amee.
To Nimmie Amee's horror, Nick never asked her to marry him like he promised he would because he no longer cared for marriage or love. Heartbroken, Nimmie Amee disappeared and she and Nick never saw each other again.
Some time later he was caught out in the forest during a rain storm while chopping down trees to pass the time and the water quickly rusted him solid. He stood there frozen in one position for an entire year. While stuck in that same spot and terribly rusted, the Tin Woodman had a lot of time to reflect on his past. Soon he realized he still loved Nimmie Amee all this time. Even though he did not need food or rest he still wanted to love. And he wanted to find her, to love her again, thus concluding that maybe having a heart was something that he needed to have after all.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz-1900
- "This forest is getting darker and darker. And I am getting rather tired now, I wonder where to find a safe place to sleep." Said Dorothy. "I see a little cottage at the right of us,” The Scarecrow said, “built of logs and branches. Shall we go there?” “Yes, indeed,” answered the child. “I am all tired out.” So the Scarecrow led her through the trees until they reached the cottage, and Dorothy entered and found it abandoned. But there was a bed of dried leaves in one corner. So she lay down at once, and with Toto beside her soon fell into a sound sleep. The Scarecrow, who was never tired, stood up in another corner and waited patiently until morning came. "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
One day, the sad Tin Woodman was finally discovered by a lost little girl named Dorothy Gale who wore magic Silver Shoes. She was also accompanied by her little pet dog named Toto and a walking Scarecrow.
The two gladly oiled the Tin Woodmans' joints and freed him from his motionless existence and prison of regret and rust. The girl explained to the Tin Woodman they were following the Yellow Brick Road and traveling to see Oz's great Wizard who lived in Oz's capital aka the Emerald City. Dorothy told him that she was trying to find a way back to her relitives in her homeland called Kansas, after being unexpectedly swept away to Oz via cyclone. Then she told him about her companion, the straw man and how he wanted a set of brains. The Tin Woodmam decided to join them and ask the Wizard for a heart to not only fully regain his love for Nimmie Amee but all living things. The three journeyed off to see the Wizard and on the way they all met a Cowardly Lion in the jungle who longed for some courage to be brave and king of all beast. Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Tin Woodman encouraged him to also come along and they all quickly became good friends forever more. The four would go on to have many adventures throughout all of Oz that would change the land of Oz forever.
After The Wizard
After finally receiving his heart at last, 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)
When Dorothy and Toto safely returned home again, 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 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)
The Tin Woodman met Woot the Wanderer when the Gillikin boy came to visit his palace. After telling the boy his life story, he decided to set out to find his lost love, Nimmie Amee. He was accompanied on this quest by Woot, the Scarecrow, and later by Polychrome. During the journey, he was underwent many jarring experiences, including being transformed into a tin owl, meeting another tin man, and conversing with his ill-tempered original head. When he finally found Nimmie Amee, he discovered that she had already married a man constructed partly out of his own discarded limbs. (The Tin Woodman of Oz)
The Tin Woodman was in the Emerald City when Bob Up and Notta Bit More arrived. He was one of the people sent to Mudge by Notta's magic verse to help rescue the Cowardly Lion. (The Cowardly Lion of Oz)
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (first appearance)
- The Marvelous Land of Oz
- Ozma of Oz
- Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
- The Road to Oz
- The Emerald City of Oz
- Little Wizard Stories of Oz
- The Patchwork Girl of Oz
- The Scarecrow of Oz
- Rinkitink in Oz
- The Tin Woodman of Oz
- The Royal Book of Oz
- Kabumpo in Oz
- The Cowardly Lion of Oz
- Grampa in Oz
- Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz
- Pirates in Oz
- Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz
- The Scalawagons of Oz
- Lucky Bucky in Oz
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 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.
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".
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.
Oliver Hardy played Tinthe Woodman in a 1925 silent version of The Wizard of Oz starring Larry Semon as the Scarecrow. This version Oliver hardy disguses as a man made of tin.
1939 MovieThe 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 being splashed with a bucket of water by Dorothy. (The Wizard of Oz)
Haley's other role was one of Aunt Em and Uncle Henry's farm worker, Hickory. He helps Zeke (Lion's alter ego) lower a bed into its place on a wagon at the farm while Hunk (Scarecrow's alter ego) repairs the wagon with them. Unlike Zeke, Hickory and Hunk lose their hats with Uncle Henry as they struggle to pry open the cellar when the tornado approaches the farm. Hickory reunites with Dorothy when she awakes from being unconscious. He is seen with Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, Zeke, Hunk and Professor Marvel (The Wizard's alter ego).
The Wiz 1974/1978
In 1974, Tiger Haynes portrayed the Tinman on broadway, The Tinman in this production was similar to the one in The 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 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). When the park was about to close, he planned to go beyond being a theme park attraction, but was abandoned in the park once for many years and sat on by his wife Teenie, who was the laughing machine. Once Dorothy and the Scarecrow enter the amusement park, he cried for help to get their attention. Once they pushed Teenie off of him, he told them that he doesn't have a heart and wants one so he can love all humanity. Dorothy invited him to come and see the Wiz. Once they oiled him up, he became a part of their session.
Return to Oz 1985
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 Tin Woodman’s design was based very closely on John R. Neill's original drawings of the strange creature with spindly legs, a pail for a head, a funnel for a hat and a water boiler for a torso--making it virtually impossible to be constructed in such a way that a normal sized actor could be placed inside. So, a dwarf was used instead to control the movements while inside the Tin Woodman's torso.
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz 2005
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 "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 has flashing lights on his back.
Beef Ravioli Commercials
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.
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 2009
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 by the evil sorceress Azkadellia to watch his family's massacre over and over again.
Dorothy and the Witches of Oz 2011
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)
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return 2014
In the 2014 CGI Oz film 'Legends of Oz, Dorothy's Return, the Tin Woodman is voiced by Kelsey Grammer.
Jim Shore launched a special edition for the Tin Man based on W.W. Denslow's illustrations.
In Video Games
Emerald City Confidential
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)
- The Wizard of Oz (1902 stage show): David C. Montgomery
- Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908): Geroge E. Willson
- The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914): Lon Musgrave
- His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914): Pierre Couderc
- The Wizard of Oz (1925): Oliver Hardy
- The Wizard of Oz (1939): Jack Haley
- Wonderful Land of Oz (1969): Al Joseph
- Journey Back to Oz (1974): Danny Thomas (voice)
- The Wiz (1975): Tiger Haynes
- The Wiz (1978): Nipsey Russell
- Return to Oz (1985): Deep Roy
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005): Gonzo the Great
- De musical The Wiz (2006): Jerrel Houtsnee
- The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's (VeggieTales) (2007) : Larry the Cucumber
- Tin Man (2007): Neal McDonough as Cain
- Dorothy and the Witches of Oz (2011): Jordan Turnage
- Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (2014): Kelsey Grammer (voice)
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 Shoes, 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.