Staffordshire Pottery figure titled 'JUMBO' of the famous Victorian travelling menagerie elephant. 'Jumbo' was purchased by Barnhams travelling the US until an untimely death by railway engine.
Jumbo was the biggest elephant in captivity. Due to this, American showman P. T. Barnum wanted Jumbo in his circus, eventually buying the elephant in 1882 for $10,000. Jumbo's sale initiated public outrage in Britain, and drew notice around the world. The British objected to the sale, and wrote letters to Queen Victoria urging that Jumbo remain in London. The courts ruled in Barnum's favor however, and the elephant was shipped to the United States. "Jumbomania", a fad for all things Jumbo, was born at this time. The western world was flooded with Jumbo neckties, jewelry, soaps, and other ornaments and souvenirs. Jumbo debuted in the United States on Easter Sunday 1882 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He toured with Barnum's circus for three years. On September 15, 1885, Jumbo was killed in a railway accident in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, at age 24. His death was met with worldwide grief and sorrow.