Who of us have not had a favourite toy, be it a model car or a doll we all had them, as did our parents and their parents, so for the child in us all here is a short look back on the toys of yesterday. One of the earliest new toys is the Jigsaw which was invented in 1767 by John Spilsbury.

He originally created his Jigsaw by cutting up maps into pieces so that kids could put them back together and learn geography but they soon evolved into the modern Jigsaw. By the 19th Century mechanical toys were starting to appear (they had existed before but mostly as curiosities for rich adults).

Model steam trains and boats that worked in a similar way to the real ones were available for very rich children and clockwork toys and Jack-in-the-Box had started to pop up.

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Model trains set

A majority of people tend to collect the toy model trains for a number of reasons. Some people enjoy building the trains while others love how the toy trains look and like the feeling that comes along with having the perfect train set.

Despite the various reasons, one thing that is similar is that there is a higher demand for the toy model trains. The popularity of this hobby is not about to change anytime soon either. Toy trains have been in existence ever since the very first train was set on the tracks. It however took years for the trains to be perceived as a collectible or hobby.

Modern toy trains are a glimpse into American history since a majority of these trains depict the real life versions from their respective era. The first toy trains were spring loaded, push powered or were powered by steam which appeared in the store windows during the late 1800s of the Victorian period.

During this time, there were certain toys which came with track layouts while others sped across any surface. In fact, the very first toy trains were run using steam in the 1840s. This was done by ensuring that the metallic model was filled with water and then placing it on a heated surface. Although these trains did not use a railway track, they definitely left a whole water trail behind them.

In 1891, the German model train company, Marklin, introduced the very first train set. This model set featured the track layouts and wind up engines which could be expanded when extra tracks were purchased. Marklin also established a majority of the standard model train set gauges such as the Z scale, the HO scale and the O scale.

Thereafter, other German toy manufacturers followed the success of Marklin and, in no time, the model train set gained further popularity spreading to many different countries. The initial train sets were made mostly out of tin and were powered in many cases by steam, clock work or springs. The electrical train sets came into existence during the turn of the century and were introduced by the American toy makers who were seeking to compete with their German counterparts.

Unfortunately, the popularity of these trains was hindered primarily by the fact that electricity was not available in certain areas. As a result, the German toy trains were able to gain more popularity in the market at the start of the World War I.

From the period leading up to World War I and through World War II, the German train sets were overtaken by the European and the American manufacturers such as JEP, Hornby, and Lionel. In the past fifty years, model trains have decreased in popularity as a toy for the children. Instead, it has now become a booming hobby worldwide.


By the 20th Century for the first real time in history, children were starting to have time to play. Prior to this they were generally expected to work, or help out around the house. This new availability of leisure led to a glut of new toy inventions and toy shops, which were rare and restricted to the rich now became much more common too.

Major toys invented or rising to popularity in the early 20th Century were the teddy bear, Plasticine (actually this was invented in 1897 but we'll count it) and Frank Hornby invented Meccano and mass produced toy trains. After the war there was a new glut of toy making and the modern toys we know and love today were invented, things like Lego, the skateboard and Barbie dolls.

The late 20th century saw the advent of the electronic games revolution and the consoles meaning that there is less physical manufacture of toys again.

Cabbage Patch Dolls

If you are over 30 years old, you probably remember the craze of the Cabbage Patch Dolls in the 1980's. People waited in lines for hours just for the privilege of purchasing one of these dolls. Stores couldn't keep them on the shelves. Some people think it was the biggest marketing gimmick of the 1980's. The dolls were originally designed by a man named Xavier Roberts living in Georgia.

In 1982 Roberts sold the mass production rights to the Coleco Toy Company. As you might remember, each Cabbage Patch doll came with its own name and birthday, adoption papers and birth certificate. Each doll was said to be unique (just a tiny bit different). For the first few years, It seemed that Coleco couldn't produce these dolls fast enough.

The dolls were in such short supply around Christmas time, that some stores had to call the police just to control the crowds waiting in line for the dolls. Other stores decided to hold lotteries to fairly distribute the dolls and to avoid mob-like scenes. In 1985 Coleco reported a record sales of $600 million dollars thanks to the Cabbage Patch dolls. Obviously, like most fads, the Cabbage Patch fad didn't last very long. Sales fell from $600 million in 1985 to just $250 million in 1986.

There were scalpers and profiteers that were left with closets full of dolls that suddenly were not selling very well anymore. Coleco then tried many things to revive the market for the dolls by making the dolls "do things" such as talk.

However, things went downhill from there and Coleco had to file for bankruptcy in 1988. The Hasbro Company obtained the rights to produce the doll in 1989. They gradually began making the dolls for younger children, leading to smaller dolls.

Even though Cabbage Patch dolls were one the best selling dolls. Hasbro was never able to revitalize the Cabbage Patch market. In 1994 Mattel purchased the rights to the doll. Mattel currently still produces Cabbage patch dolls. However, the dolls no longer have cloth bodies, they continue to be all vinyl play dolls. The dolls are generally about 14 inches or smaller, and most of them come with a gimmick such as swimming eating or brushing teeth. 

Self-automating mechanical duck

Times have certainly changed – just look at what kids are playing with these days. While toy cars and dolls may still keep youngsters entertained, popular playthings of the new generation include video games, remote control toys, and toy robots.

The origin of toy robots can be traced back to the development of robots. One of the earliest robots was an automaton invented by Frenchman Jacques de Vaucanson in 1738. He made a self-automating mechanical duck that was able to eat and digest grain, flap its wings, and excrete. In Japan, Hisashige Tanaka created an assortment of extremely complex mechanical toys, some of which were capable of firing arrows, serving tea, or even painting a Japanese character. In the 1930s, Westinghouse Electric Corporation built a humanoid robot.

The robot, called Elektro, was exhibited at the World's Fair during 1939 and 1940. From 1948 to 1949, William Grey Walter of the Burden Neurological Institute at Bristol, England developed the first electronic autonomous robots. Named Elmer and Elsie, these "turtle robots" could sense light and contact with external objects.

They were also capable of finding their charging station when their battery power ran low. The first truly modern robot that was digitally operated, programmable, and teachable was invented by George Devol in 1954. His robot was called the Unimate, which he sold to General Motors in 1960.

In 1961, it was installed in a plant in Trenton, New Jersey to lift hot pieces of metal from a die casting machine and stack them. In 1985, the Tomy Kyogo Company created the Omnibot 2000, a toy robot that could be controlled with a hand-held remote control or through programs stored on magnetic tape.

In the late 1990s, AIBO the robotic dog was introduced by Sony. AIBO was capable of autonomously navigating a room and playing ball using its sensor array. Other pet robots soon followed. Tiger Electronics created the Furby in 1998, a pet toy that could communicate with its owner. In 2001, Omron released the robotic cat NeCoRo as a competitor to AIBO.

It had Mind and Consciousness (MaC) technology, enabling it to generate feelings. Toy robots have certainly come a long way from Jacques de Vaucanson's mechanical duck over two centuries ago. They are a more common sight nowadays, and it is without a doubt that we will continue to see more of toy robots in the years to come.

 Beanie Babies

Beanie Babies were made by Ty Warner and sold through his company, Ty, Inc. Although Ty claimed the right to the names and varieties of the toys, other companies tried to compete with various beanbag-filled stuffed animals. Parodies such as “Meanie Babies” were also marketed as children’s toys, Originally intended for children, Beanie Babies became a popular gift item for adults. They were considered a cool cubicle decoration. Hundreds of different animals were made into Beanie Babies, including obscure animals such as nutria and anteaters.

One of the most popular type of Beanie Babies was the teddy bear model. The bear pattern was often reused, but marketed under different patterns and names. The bear model was used for commemorative purposes, like holidays and even to commemorate the life and Death of Princess Diana of Wales. Beginning in 1996, the Beanie Babies craze took off with abandon.

The craze lasted through 1999. Many people bought the toys en masse, believing they were a good investment that would increase in value. This was reminiscent of the Cabbage Patch Kid craze of the 1980s. Ty helped feed the frenzy by frequently retiring various designs. Similar to the Cabbage Patch Kid fiasco, few people profited from the en masse purchasing of Beanie Babies.

Some of the most valued Beanie Babies included, Peanut, the elephant (in dark blue,) Peking the Panda, Nana the monkey, Chilly the polar bear, Zip the cat, Humphrey the camel, wingless Crackers the duck, Derby the horse, etc. Tobasco the bull was also highly valued as its name was changed to Snort following a lawsuit from the Tobasco company over name usage.

Many special edition Beanie Babies like the Billionaire Bear and the #1 Bear were very hard to come across. Throughout the mania, the bears were often the most collected beanies because they continuously held the higher market value. At times, early editions of the Beanie Baby, such as the “old face” teddy bears became rarer than newer versions.

Every Beanie Baby came with its own name, birthdate, and silly poetry. The information was collected on a red, heart-shaped tag that was attached to the animal’s right ear. The condition of the tag was a huge factor in determining the value of the Beanie Baby.

Hard plastic covers were made available to protect the tag, and thus, its value. Without the heart tag, the Beanie Baby’s value drops by more than fifty-percent. Beanie Babies also came with “tush tags,” which were affixed to the Beanie Baby’s bottom. Over time, the tag has gone through many changes, which have become known as “generations.” There are now 15 generations of heart tags, and 13 generations of tush tags.

Mamod steam locomotive

Toy trains have been an important part of Americana for a hundred years. Toy trains are a unifying factor, as it seems almost everyone had one as a child. For most of us toy trains have been an important part of growing up. After all who can forget the magic and excitement of the lights and sounds of your first toy train. Children and adults alike are fascinated by the lights, sounds, and motions of a neat toy train layout. But what about the history of the toy train? How did they become so treasured?

To understand the fascination with trains you have to understand how important they were to a young and growing nation. The steam locomotive was developed in the early 19th century in England. By the late 1820's, trains were introduced to this nation.

This was an important time in our history - the nation was beginning to expand westward. The nation needed to transport people, agricultural products, minerals, and manufactured goods. Roads were poor, muddy in wet weather, very dusty in dry. Rivers didn't always go where they were needed and were subject to the vagaries of flood and drought.

Canals were expensive to build, and weren't suitable for all terrain. The steam locomotive was the perfect solution to the nation's transportation problem. Its fuel - wood and water - was locally abundant in all areas. Track could be constructed in just about any terrain.

The train rapidly became the primary transportation system in the country. Trains hauled freight, livestock, people, and mail. Trains helped settle the nation. An important turning point in this nations history occurred in 1876 at Promontory Point, Utah with the driving of the Golden Spike.

Trains truly united the nation, as now a person could travel the vast distance from Atlantic to the Pacific in a few days, as opposed to the weeks, if not months needed for horse transportation. Toy trains had their roots in the real trains which had become so important to the country. The first toy trains were simple wooden carved trains designed to be pulled along the floor with a rope. Many of these were homemade, as local craftsman capitalized on the desire for toy trains.

Manufacturers soon began making these trains out of metal. Because metals can show greater detail than wood, these little trains were more realistic than their wood counterparts. These types of trains are still popular for very young children. The locomotive was developed in Europe, and the train had become just as important there as it was here.

By the end of the 19th century, German clockmakers began applying their craft to the art of toymaking. The first toy trains to run around the track under their own power, just like the real thing, were wind-up trains built by these German craftsmen. Because of this heritage, wind up trains and other toys are still referred to as 'clockwork toys'.

Wind-up trains can still be purchased, and are still fun to run. The first electric toy trains appeared around 1899/1900 and were also probably German in origin. Because few homes had electricity at this time, these trains were battery powered.

The 'wet cell' battery in use at the time was messy and dangerous, but the trains were still popular. Joshua Lionel Cowen - a name most people will recall- was the first documented American to build an electric toy train. The year was 1901, and he built it for use by merchants as an animated store window display. It was a simple train - a motorized gondola car.

When he noticed people playing with the thing, he realized its potential, and as they say "A star was born." Few inventions have had as much impact on the history of a nation, or the world, as the locomotive had. Without it, our world would be a much different place.

Toy trains have formed an important part of this world. The magic of toy trains as they wind through miniature villages and countrysides act as a time machine, transporting us back to a simpler time. The fun of building a layout and running the trains is a timeless pleasure, fun for young and old alike.

Corgi Toys

The name 'Corgi Toys' was chosen by Philip Ullmann in honour of the company's new home, taken from the Welsh breed of dog, the Corgi and the iconic Corgi logo branded the new range. The name was also short and easy to remember further aligning the range with their rival Dinky Toys. Corgi Toys' initial sales gimmick was to include plastic glazing which lent the models a greater authenticity, and they carried the advertising slogan 'the ones with windows'.

The 1956 releases were all familiar British vehicles. Six family saloon cars – Ford Consul (200/200M), Austin A50 Cambridge (201/201M), Morris Cowley (202/202M), Vauxhall Velox (203/203M), Rover 90 (204/204M), Riley Pathfinder (205/205M) and Hillman Husky (206/206M),[3] and two sports cars – Austin-Healey 100 (300) and Triumph TR2 (301).

Initially, all models were issued in free-rolling form, or with friction drive motors, with the exception of the heavy commercials which would have been too bulky and the sports cars whose low slung bodies would not be able to accommodate the motors.

The Mechanical versions, as they were known, were indicated by an 'M' suffix to the model number and were available in different colour schemes. They were issued with tougher die-cast bases to support the extra weight of the motor, and in far fewer numbers. Mechanical versions did not sell particularly well, partly due to a significantly higher purchase price, and were phased out in 1960 with Ford Thunderbird (214M) the last of the line.

The die-cast baseplates were expanded across the range to replace the original tin plate at the same time. Today they are considered more collectable because of their relative rarity. Also in 1964 Corgi diversified into the adult collector market and released a range of highly detailed models of vintage cars called 'Corgi Classics'. Although superior to Lesney's Matchbox 'Models of Yesteryear', they were comparatively expensive and met with mixed success.

Initial releases were a 1927 Bentley finished in green (9001) or red (9002), an open 1915 Ford Model T coloured black (9011) and a version finished in blue with the hood raised (9013), a 1910 Daimler 38 finished in red (9021) and a 1911 Renault 12/16 finished in lavender (9031) or pale yellow (9032).

Two years later a 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost coloured silver (9041) was added to the range, which was updated in 1970 to feature American TV stars The Hardy Boys, discussed later in this article. A Ford Model T van in Lyons Tea livery (9014) appeared in the 1967 Corgi catalogue but was never released. The Corgi Classics range was dropped by 1969, although the name was later revived for a range of adult collectable models in the 1980s.

First jigsaw puzzle

It is generally agreed that the first jigsaw puzzle was produced around 1760 by John Spilsbury, a London engraver and mapmaker. Spilsbury mounted one of his maps on a sheet of hardwood and cut around the borders of the countries using a fine-bladed marquetry saw. The end product was an educational pastime, designed as an aid in teaching British children their geography. The idea caught on and, until about 1820, jigsaw puzzles remained primarily educational tools.

Vermeer Jigsaw Puzzle, from PiatnikIn 1880, with the introduction of the treadle saw, what had previously been known as dissections (not a word with particularly enjoyable connotations in our own time) came to be known as jigsaw puzzles, although they were actually cut by a fretsaw, not a true jigsaw. Towards the end of the century plywood came to be used.

With illustrations glued or painted on the front of the wood, pencil tracings of where to cut were made on the back. These pencil tracings can still be found on some of these older puzzles. Cardboard puzzles were first introduced in the late 1800's, and were primarily used for children's puzzles.

It was not until the 20th century that cardboard puzzles came to be die-cut, a process whereby thin strips of metal with sharpened edges - rather like a giant cookie-cutter - are twisted into intricate patterns and fastened to a plate. The "die" (which refers to this assembly of twisted metal on the plate) is placed in a press, which is pressed down on the cardboard to make the cut.

Thus, in the early 1900's, both wooden and cardboard jigsaw puzzles were available. Wooden puzzles still dominated, as manufacturers were convinced that customers would not be interested in "cheap" cardboard puzzles. Of course, a second motivation on the part of manufacturers and retailers of jigsaw puzzles was that the profit from a wooden puzzle, which might sell for $1.00, was far greater than for a cardboard jigsaw puzzle, which would usually sell for about 25¢.

The Golden Age of jigsaw puzzles came in the 1920s and 1930s with companies like Chad Valley and Victory in Great Britain and Einson-Freeman, Viking and others in the United States producing a wide range of puzzles reflecting both the desire for sentimental scenes, enthusiasm for the new technologies in rail and shipping and, last but not least, new marketing strategies.

One strategy was to make cardboard puzzles more intricate and difficult, thus appealing as much to adults as to children. Another was to use jigsaw puzzles as premiums for advertising purposes. Einson-Freeman of Long Island City, New York began this practice in 1931, making puzzles that were given away with toothbrushes.

Other premiums followed, but more important to the jigsaw puzzle's enduring success was the introduction of the weekly puzzle. This practice began in the United States in September, 1932 - very much the depth of the Depression - with an initial printing of 12,000 puzzles. Soon after, printings rose to 100,000 and then 200,000. It might seem odd at first glance that a non-necessity like a jigsaw puzzle would sell so well in the Depression.

But the appeal, then as now, was that one bought a good deal of entertainment for a small price. The weekly jigsaw puzzle could constitute a solitary or group activity, and would occupy one's time enjoyably for hours. And, of course, a jigsaw puzzle was "recyclable," in that one could break the puzzle up once one had completed it and then pass it on to another family member or friend.

Another point to bear in mind that jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts in the Depression discovered what many in our own time are rediscovering - that working on a jigsaw puzzle is a great way to reduce stress! The popularity of jigsaw puzzles has waxed and waned since the Depression.

They are still, just like the first jigsaw puzzle, sometimes used to teach geography: I recall assembling a puzzle of the continental states of the USA when I was a boy. (Texas was an easy piece to locate, Colorado quite challenging.) They are still available in both wood and cardboard. They are still a lot of entertainment for a small price.

Jigsaw puzzles are a pastime, and I will make no nobler claim for them. But they are a healthier pastime than watching inane (and occasionally vulgar) television shows or playing inane (and occasionally vulgar and/or violent) computer games. And if they are addictive - and they are - they are a harmless addiction.

For sure you have heard or played with LEGO, one of the most famous toys in the world. I want today to tell you a bit more about the history of such a great company The original "The Lego Group" started as a wooden toy shop in the year 1932. The workshop's carpenter and founder was a man named Ole Kirk Christiansen from Billund, Denmark. The company name became "LEGO" after the Danish phrase of "leg godt" meaning "play well." As the company began to grow, it evolved from producing wooden toys to producing plastic toys by the year 1947.

Soon after, in 1949 they started transforming into the infamous company that we know today. 1949 was when LEGO began producing interlocking bricks that were called "Automatic Binding Bricks." The interlocking bricks were designed after the Kiddicraft company's self-binding bricks. Lego examined these bricks and then modified them into there own version.

"The Lego Group‘s" motto was det bedste er ikke for godt which means 'only the best is good enough'. Ole Kirk Christiansen used this motto as an encouragement to employees to never skimp out on quality which he believed in very strongly. Today this motto is still used within the business. An interesting fact to take note of was that during the early years, manufacturing using plastic materials was frowned upon.

Many of Lego's early shipments to retailers were often returned to the company because retailers felt the product were of poor quality being plastic material and did not live up to the standard of wooden toys. By 1954 Christiansen's son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen became the junior managing director of Lego. It was Ole's son that would forever change the company with his vision.

He and an oversees buyer struck a conversation one day about creating a toy system out of the Lego. Since Godtfred saw immense potential in these bricks being a successful toy for creative play, he decided to technically re-develop them over time into a more versatile design and by expanding the inter-locking ability that at the time was somewhat limited. In 1958 Godtfred finally did it.

He created the ultimate interlocking brick. The brick that was so perfect that the design is still compatible with the ones of today. Because of this vision, Lego has grown a simple concept into a major universal interlocking system. There can be seen variations in the systems over the years but ultimately the pieces of today still interlock with the pieces from 1958. All the parts of the Lego systems from the bricks to the beams to the mini figures and gears are all made with exacting precision to allow for the universal capabilities.

Today the company's primary concept and development take place in Bullind Headquarters located in Denmark where it employ's some 120 designers. There are offices in Spain, Germany, UK and Japan. Each new product that is developed takes around twelve months to complete, in a series of three phases. Over the many years that the Lego company has been around it's created thousands of sets with many themes. Some themes include robots, towns and cities, pirates, the wild west and more.

This enterprise is now massive and has amusement parks called Legoland that can be visited in Denmark, England, Germany, California and Florida. Many generations adored playing with these simple little toys. Future generations now have the opportunity to live these imaginations by visiting a Legoland. This success may have come from the moral belief still spoken in "motto." or maybe its because of the precision used into perfecting the design. Nonetheless, Lego is certainly a company unmatched and will continue to joy many generations to come!

first Lego

All of us have memories of playing with toys. We may have been rich or poor, thin or fat, sick or healthy, precocious or withdrawn in our childhood but we all have memories of playing with toys. As children, we loved toys and this was a universal trait that bound us with all other children irrespective of race, caste, sex, religion, geographical and cultural differences. And many of us, despite reaching adulthood, still love to play with toys. So let us take a peek into the history of wooden toys. A look back reveals that all civilizations of the past had made toys for their young ones.

Since the beginning of time, the children of mankind have spent many happy hours amusing themselves with toys. Give a child a doll or a ball and he or she will come up with a game around it. That is the reason why wooden balls- painted as well as unpainted, tops- clay, wooden or stone, toys pulled by a string, dolls and animal figurines were popular toys of the ancient world. Today, the archaeologists have uncovered various toys from the excavations that suggest that the children of all the civilizations from the Roman Empire to the Egyptian civilizations played with toys.

Apart from the toys mentioned above, children played with wooden blocks, hoops, rattles, kites, marbles and even small chariots. The history of toys reveals that wood was the most popular raw material used to make toys. In fact, it is only in the past two hundred years that wood has lost its prime position. Till then, wood was the preferred material for making toys. The Industrial Revolution made it easier and safer for metals to be used as toys. Wooden toys are popular for obvious reasons.

Wood is very easy to mould and manipulate. All you need is a chisel and a hammer.Wood is light You can be assured of the safety of the children if you use wood. Wood is easily available. All you need to do is cut a tree, although cutting tree is not as simple as it was in the past. Wood can be painted and made attractive without any difficulty.

Wood can be shaped into objects of different shapes and sizes. Blocks and tops can be made very easily. Wooden toys are non toxic. Parents can be assured about the health of their children. Toys were simple in the ancient times because of the absence of technology.

As mankind learned to do things in new ways, it learned to make better and more complex toys as well. Wood continued to remain the favorite raw material and was manipulated in more complicated ways to come up with amusing toys for the small as well as the big boys.

18th century witnessed wooden alphabet blocks, sleds and miniature animals, puzzles and cars. Wooden block, as we know it, was introduced in the 20th century. Development of new technology made it easier to mould metals and plastic into toys. However, wood has never gone out of fashion.

Born in Salem, Oregon in 1884. A. C. Gilbert (1884-1962), boyhood love was magic tricks: he became so proficient that he once matched a traveling professional magician trick for trick, and earned the prescient praise, Gilbert was also a brilliant student, and soon went on to Yale Medical School. He helped pay his tuition by performing as a magician, and founded a company, Mysto Manufacturing, which sold magic kits for kids. In 1909, Gilbert finished medical school, but decided to expand his budding toy business rather than practice as a doctor.

Like many residents of New Haven, Connecticut, he often took the train to New York City; and on one trip in 1911 he was inspired with what would be the most popular of his dozens of inventions. Watching out the train window as some workmen positioned and riveted the steel beams of an electrical power-line tower, Gilbert decided to create a children's construction kit: not just a toy, but an assemblage of metal beams with evenly spaced holes for bolts to pass through, screws, bolts, pulleys, gears and eventually even engines.

A British toy company called Meccano Company was then selling a similar kit, but Gilbert's Erector set was more realistic and had a number of technical advantages --- most notably, steel beams that were not flat but bent lengthwise at a 90-degree angle, so that four of them nested side-to-side formed a very sturdy, square, hollow support beam. Gilbert began selling the "Mysto Erector Structural Steel Builder" in 1913, backed by the first major American ad campaign for a toy.

The Erector set quickly became one of the most popular toys of all time: living rooms across the country were transformed into miniature metropoles, filled with skyscrapers, bridges and railways. Those kids who already owned a set would beg Santa annually for an upgrade, aiming for the elusive "No. 12 1/2" deluxe kit that came with blueprints for the "Mysterious Walking Giant" robot.

It is difficult for anyone under the age of 35 today to appreciate just how popular the Erector set was for over half a century. A. C. Gilbert was one of the most multi-talented inventors of all time. With many fields open to his ingenuity, he chose to educate and entertain children through toys.

BB gun

In 1886, Plymouth inventor Clarence Hamilton introduced a new idea to the windmill company. It was a combination of metal and wire, vaguely resembling a gun that could fire a lead ball using compressed air. Lewis Cass Hough, then president of the firm, gave it a try and, after his first shot, enthusiastically exclaimed, "Boy, that's a daisy!" The name stuck and the BB gun went into production as a premium item given to farmers when they purchased a windmill.

The gun was such a huge success that Plymouth Iron Windmill soon began manufacturing the Daisy BB gun in place of windmills! On January 26, 1895 the company's board of directors officially voted to change the name to Daisy Manufacturing Company, Inc.

The sturdy little Daisy BB gun quickly became a staple with American youth and youngsters all across the land cut their shooting teeth on a Daisy. Competition was keen at the time, with guns such as Bulls Eye, Dewey, Hero, Dandy, Atlas and others appearing almost overnight and disappearing just as quickly. Over the years Daisy has continued to improve and expand our line of air guns, putting model after model within the reach of every young shooter's pocketbook and skill level.

first kids CRAYOLA crayons

Around 1885, Edwin Binney, and C. Harold Smith, formed the partnership of Binney & Smith. The cousins expanded the company's product line to include shoe polish and printing ink. In 1900, the company purchased a stone mill in Easton, Pennsylvania, and began making slate pencils for schools. This started Binney's and Smith's research into nontoxic and colorful drawing tools for kids. They had already invented a new wax crayon used to mark crates and barrels, however, it was loaded with carbon black which was too toxic, or poisonous to be used by children.

In 1903, (one hundred years ago) a new brand of crayons with superior working qualities was introduced; they called them Crayola Crayons.Crayola brand crayons, the first kids crayons ever made, were invented by cousins, Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith.

The first box of eight Crayola crayons was sold in 1903. The crayons were sold for a nickel and the colors were black, brown, blue, red, purple, orange, yellow, and green. The word Crayola was created by Alice Stead Binney (wife of Edwin Binney) who took the French words for chalk (craie) and oily (oleaginous) and combined them to get the word "CRAYOLA." In English, crayons remind us of an oily chalk.

Stronger than chalk, but more waxy than oily, crayons have become the drawing tools for millions of children all over the world. In 1903, soon after developing them, Binney & Smith sold the first box of eight Crayola crayons for one nickel.

The box includes black, brown, blue, red, purple, orange, yellow, and green. Today, there over one hundred different types of crayons being made by Crayola including crayons that: sparkle with glitter, glow in the dark, smell like flowers, change colors, and wash off walls and other surfaces and materials.


The yo-yo is a popular toy consisting of a length of string tied at one end to a flat spool. It is played by holding the free end of the string (usually by inserting one finger in a slip knot) and pulling at it so as to cause the spool to turn whilst suspended in mid-air, either taking up or releasing the string. First made popular in the 1920s, yo-yoing is still very much enjoyed by both children and adults, though it was originally made as a children's toy.

In the simplest play, the string is initially wound on the spool by hand; the yo-yo is then thrown downwards so that it first descends unwinding the string, then (by inertia) climbs back winding it up; and finally the yo-yo is grabbed, ready to be thrown again.

Many other trick plays exist, most based on the basic sleeper trick. One of the most famous tricks on the yoyo is "walk the dog". This is done by throwing a strong sleeper and allowing the yoyo to roll across the floor. English historical names for the yo-yo include bandalore (from French) and quiz.

French historical terms include bandalore, incroyable, de Coblenz, emigrette, and joujou de Normandie (joujou meaning little toy) The earliest surviving yo-yo dates to 500 BC and was made using terra cotta skin disks.

A Greek vase painting from this period shows a boy playing yo-yo (see right). Greek records from the period describe toys made out of wood, metal, or painted terra cotta (fired clay). The terra cotta disks were used to ceremonially offer the toys of youth to certain gods when a child came of age—discs of other materials were used for actual play.

Philippine historical records indicate that 16th-century hunters hiding in trees used a rock tied to a cord up to 20 feet in length to throw at wild animals beneath them—the cord enabling retrieval of the rock after missed attempts The 1990s saw a resurgence of the popularity of the yo-yo and yo-yo culture. Continued development of yo-yo technology is evident in the widespread sale of the Yomega Brain, based on Michael Caffrey's design, and the Playmaxx Pro-yo, a take-apart fixed axle yo-yo.

In 1990, Tom Kuhn released the SB-2 yo-yo (short for Silver Bullet 2), a high-performance ball bearing transaxle made with aluminum. This marked a major breakthrough for the modern yo-yo, as it was the first ball bearing yo-yo that actually worked.

This ensured extremely long spin times and the ability to return as well. This yo-yo, (along with his many other accomplishments in the yo-yo world), eventually brought him the title "Father of the modern yo-yo," receiving the "Donald F. Duncan Family Award for Industry Excellence" in 1998. He was the first to receive this award. In the late 1990s, Yomega partnered with HPK Marketing and helped fuel the yo-yo boom that spread across the globe. From this partnership, Team High Performance was born, a group of skilled demonstrators that toured the world.

In this period, Yomegas were heavily marketed in Japan, where Bandai produced several yo-yos under the Yomega name which were sometimes different from those sold in the US. At the turn of the century, 1999–2000, Yomega partnered with McDonald's and distributed a large number of Yomega X-Brain and Firestorm yo-yos at outlets throughout the US. Another development around this time included the use of different materials such as billet machined Aluminum as seen in the ‘Dif-e-Yo’ Range.

pedal cars

Although pedal cars were quite popular from the 1920's into the 1960's, in fact the first examples were produced much earlier. Their history actually begins at the end of the nineteenth century. Wheeled toys, including bicycles, became quite popular toys in the last decades of the 1800's. In the 1890's, the first pedal toys were introduced, modelled after the first auto-mobiles to appear on the roads.

Nearly as soon as the Model T was introduced, children's versions of these real cars were created. These cars featured a steel body moulded to look like the real thing, and a wood chassis and wheels with rubber tires. However, like the real cars they were modelled after, pedal vehicles were quite expensive, and were mainly purchased by very wealthy families.

During the Great Depression, few were purchased, and these few were destined for wealthy children as well. Middle and lower-class children still played with home made toys during this time, as there were very few inexpensive mass-produced toys available.

Production of metal pedal cars ceased during World War II because the metal was needed for the war effort, but they became quite popular again in the 1950's and 1960's. These later models would make pedal toy history. 1950's and later models differed from their predecessors because they were chain-driven

. Also, postwar prosperity meant that more and more families could afford to buy these previously out-of-reach toys for their children. As more and more families were able to afford automobiles, they could afford pedal car versions for their children, as well.

In many ways, their early history follows the history of real automobile ownership. These stylish metal versions were at the top of many children's Christmas wish lists for several decades. Because they were so popular, they remain in many peoples' minds as a classic 1950's toy.

pedal cars were quite popular from the 1920's

Like real cars, these later versions were produced in a wide array of styles and colors, modeled after real car makes. Using the latest trends in real cars, they often had working lights and horns, and moveable parts such as wind shields and convertible tops.

Details included chrome hood ornaments, white wall tires, and intricate paint jobs. These pedal toys sold very well, and toy manufacturers capitalized on this demand by producing pedal planes, trains, and trucks, among several other models.

The 1960's brought big changes to pedal car history. The availability of plastic, as well as the introduction of new safety standards, brought an end to the metal ride on era. By the 1970's, steel pedal cars had been replaced by new plastic cars. These cars were no longer made to look like replicas of real cars, but instead had a toy-like aesthetic.

Dean’s Rag Boo

The 1940s began with Britain plunged into the Second World War with Germany. The war period was one of great austerity with shortages of every kind and the toy industry was subject to the same restrictions as other industries. Rationing, introduced early in the war, continued long after the war ended. The government launched the Utility scheme in 1941 to ensure that good contemporary design went hand in hand with economy of production.

The guidelines extended to all types of manufacture including toys, but in reality most children played with toys which had been handed down from older children or made at home. Where possible, some firms, such as Nicol Toys, were able to continue production throughout the war as long as they were permitted access to materials.

Plimpton Engineering, the manufacturers of the construction set Bayko, used aluminium or tinplate instead of steel for the rods in the kits, less consistent colour, and packaging became very crude. By the end of 1941 all production came to an end and the works went over entirely to the war effort. It produced a range of war related goods together with parts for Wellington bombers.

Others were unable to survive, with companies such as The Teddy Toy Company, set up in 1914, winding up in 1951. Raw materials were rationed until long after the war was over as almost everything was used in the war effort. Teddy bear firms also helped with the war effort, such as Dean’s Rag Book Co. who made life jackets.

Chad Valley made children’s clothing and Merrythought made military uniform accessories. Soft toy makers tried to continue making their products, but even teddy bears had to get slimmer because they had less filling.Due to this the general shape of teddy bears and other soft toys began to change; Limbs and muzzles became shorter, necks were jointed.

Other major toy manufacturers played their part. Lines Bros. made gas masks and military supplies for army training for most of the war period. Production at Britains continued at the outbreak of war in 1939 until 1941 when it made munitions for the war effort. After 1945 it returned to the manufacture of toy soldiers and other toys but with limited output due to labour shortages. From 1943 metal was completely banned for use in toy making.

Meccano’s familiar red and green paint vanished until after the war and only plain metal sets were available. Another old established firm, Brookes and Adams, founded in 1853 making medals and badges, installed with great foresight, a plant for the production of plastic products in the late 1920s, in an attempt to diversify.

The first plastic article that it made for the toy market was the Bandalasta ‘Playtime’ tea and dinner set that it made through the war period, after which it went on to produce games equipment. Made between the late 1920s and the 1950s the sets were highly unusual at the time, because they were made from plastic as opposed to the more usual earthenware.

1950s Dinky Toys

By the early 1950s Dinky Toys had become popular in the United Kingdom. Most of the models were in a scale of approximately 1:48, which blended in with O scale railway sets, but many buses and lorries were scaled down further so that they were around 4 inches long.

In 1954 the Dinky Toys range was reorganized and cars were now sold in individual boxes and there were no series of models differentiated by a letter, each model having its own unique catalogue number. The Dinky Toys range became more sophisticated throughout the 1950s but due to the lack of any real competition development of the models was perhaps slower than it could have been.

That was until July 1956 when Mettoy introduced a rival line of models under the Corgi brand name. The most obvious difference was the addition of clear plastic 'glazing', and the new range was sold with the slogan 'The Ones With Windows'. Once Meccano Ltd had direct competition they were able to respond by updating their Dinky Toys range accordingly and the models from both companies rapidly became more and more sophisticated featuring working suspension, 'fingertip steering' and detailed interiors.

A rival third range of model cars also appeared in 1959 called "Spot-on" which were manufactured in Northern Ireland and produced by Tri-ang, a division of Lines Brothers.

This range were kept to one scale, 1:42, and were comparatively more expensive, never managing to sell as many units as Corgi and Dinky. In 1964 Tri-ang took over the parent Meccano company (which included Hornby trains as well as Meccano itself) and since Dinky Toys were more popular than Spot-On, the latter were phased out in 1967, although a few cars originally designed for Spot-On were made in Hong Kong and marketed as Dinky Toys.

However from this point Dinky used the 1:42 scale for many of the English made cars and trucks, although the French factory stuck to the more common 1:43 scale, which was already popular in Europe. In the late 1960s a new competitor entered the U.K. model car market. This was Hot Wheels from U.S. toymaker Mattel.

Their low-friction axles gave them play value that Dinky and the other major British brands including Corgi and Matchbox could not match. Each manufacturer responded with its own version of this innovation - Dinky's name for its wheel/axle assembly was "Speedwheels". The company continued to make innovative models, with all four doors opening (a first in British toy cars), retractable radio aerials (another first), Speedwheels, high quality metallic paint, and jewelled headlights.

However, these models were expensive to manufacture and the price could only be kept down if the quantities were sufficiently high enough. Changing fashions in the toy industry, international competition and the switch to cheap labour in lower wage countries meant that the British made Dinky Toys days were numbered, and after attempts at simplifying the products as a means of saving costs, the famous Binns Road factory in Liverpool finally closed its doors in November 1979. Corgi Toys managed to struggle on until 1983.

Thus ended the dominant era of British-made die-cast toy models. The Dinky trade-name changed hands many times before ending up as part of Matchbox International Ltd in the late '80s. This seemed to be a logical and perhaps synergistic development, uniting two of the most valuable and venerated names in the British and world die-cast model car market under one roof.

Matchbox began issuing model cars of the 1950s through the 'Dinky Collection' in the late 1980s, but these were models intentionally designed for adult collectors. The models were attractive and honoured the tradition of the Dinky name in terms of both quality and scale, before production stopped after only a few years.

The 'Dinky Collection' then became absorbed into the themed series offered by Matchbox Collectibles Inc, owned by US giants Mattel, who have shown little interest in or understanding of the Dinky brand preferring nowadays to re-badge normal Matchbox models as Dinky for some editions of their models in certain markets, or to reissue 1:43 models from the Matchbox era. No new "dedicated" Dinky castings have been created in the Mattel era since Matchbox Collectibles was shut down in 2000.


Space toys reached the peak of their popularity between the late 1940's and the 1960's. The vast quantity and range of toys available was a direct reflection of man's progress in, and pre-occupation with, space exploration during an exciting era culminating in the lunar landing 1969. Japanese manufacturers produced the largest range of robots, rockets, flying saucers and other odd, futuristic spacecraft. Elsewhere, other companies world-wide produced space related items in tin and plastic, but none with the same flair as the inventive Japanese toy makers.

Later on, during the 1970's and 1980's, toy-makers in China, Russia, Taiwan and Hong Kong cashed in by copying the early Japanese designs, mostly using plastic. Children's television series began to appear in the late 1950's depicting space themes. One of the earliest was Dan Dare who was a futuristic Space Captain, originally portrayed in the Eagle comics and this was, without doubt, the inspiration for the boom in space toy manufacturing to come.

One man was to lead the field in space-related children's programmes - his name was Gerry Anderson - and he was responsible for Torchy the Battery Boy, The Adventures of Twizzle, Stingray, Fireball XL5, Joe 90, Captain Scarlet, Thunderbirds, Four Feather Falls, Space 1999 and, later on, Terrahawks and Space Precinct.

Many companies realised the commercial potential of producing toys in conjunction with these series - Dinky producing die-cast vehicles such as Penelope's FAB 1 car (Thunderbirds) and Century 21 Toys, who came up with a series of large plastic battery-operated space-craft (mainly Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90).

Later, in the 1960's, Dr Who was first screened on BBC television, and toys relating to this have proved a huge merchandising success for various manufacturers - toys are still being produced today in conjunction with the series, such as talking Daleks, action figures and action suits.

By far the greatest commercial success of all though in space toy sales came with the Star Wars merchandising following on from the film - a vast range of related items, mostly produced by Kenner, flooded the world market.

toy soilders 1900

The meaning of toys as we know it today being exclusively playthings for children was not commonly used until the nineteenth century. Before then and even into the early 1800’s the word toy was used to describe anything from an adult bauble of little or no value to a very expensive miniature (like handcrafted pieces of silver furniture handmade by the best craftsmen).

The word toy comes from an old English world meaning tool. Ancient toys from excavations of Egyptian ruins show that children had a variety: painted wood balls or glazed papyrus and reeds; spinning tops of wood, papyrus, or stone; pull toys and dolls crafts of wood, ivory, gold, bronze and clay. Some wooden animals had moveable parts, like the jaws of tigers and crocodiles. Both in Greek and Roman times there were lots of different children’s playthings.

They played with clay spinning tops (some propelled with a piece of thread on the end of a stick), balls, terracotta animals and dolls with moving arms and legs, baby toys including animal shaped rattles. Roman children had dolls, wooden toy hoops, spinning tops, drums, draughts, and wooden animals.

Childrens games like naughts and crosses, knucklebones and blind man's bluff existed. Wood horses for both these eras were also favourites, including models of the Trojan horse. Many in this period were designed to develop physical fitness. Some, like the hoop, were used by both children and adults. Kites were another old plaything enjoyed by young and old.

The Chinese, who invented kites over 3000 years ago, developed many variations and also used them to send signals. The Chinese or Japanese invented the whipped top at an early date. These became so popular and all different types spread throughout Asia and the Middle East. In the English 1500’s toys were popular. For example a Tudor Christmas was a special celebration full of fun and also pomp.

The celebrations took place in halls and a Lord of Misrule rode in on a hobby horse, Mummers were actors, Jesters kept everyone happy and Merrymakers (ordinary people) wore costumes and heads of strange monsters! The musicians would have played with pipes, drums, lutes and whistles from a gallery.

The first dolls

From wooden toys to the latest technology tools, toys have always accompanied children from all over the world during their growth, and although types of games and toys have developed and in some cases changed a lot with the passing of time, what has not changed is the need that children have to play. Thanks to ancient archaeological finds and written texts, we know that children were used to spend part of their time with various types of toys even in ancient civilizations, like the Egyptians to the Sumerians.

Ninepins, for example, were already known in the 4th century B.C., and it is amazing that these objects have been able to go over centuries and survive until now. But ninepins are not the only toys that contemporary children have in common with their forefathers: dolls, for example, which still belong to little girls' favourite toys, were already widespread a long time ago, although they were different from nowadays.

The first dolls that we know something about were used in Egypt in 2000 B.C.; they were wood, ivory or clay objects, which were symbolically given to deities when their owners became adult. The first doll factories were born in Germany, in Nuremberg, many centuries after that, more precisely in the 15th century, then also various accessories for dolls began to be produced. The most famous doll, Barbie, was born a long time after that, in 1959, while the first mechanical dolls, which could move eyes and produce sounds, were launched on the English market in 1701.

Like dolls for the Egyptians, in the same way toys had a sort of symbolic meaning for many other civilizations of the past, and for this reason toys were given to children in special moments: during the Saturnalia in Rome and during the Anthesteria in Greece, for example. With the passing of time toys became more and more important also for another reason, i.e. because they could be used to define the future social roles of girls and boys: playing with toy soldiers boys became more acquainted to war, while girls prepared themselves to take care of their future children playing with dolls.

Speaking about the developments of toys in history, let's jump to the 16th and the 17th centuries, when physical games like skipping or capture the flag became very popular, while in the 19th century, also due to the development of the industrial production, toys began to be mass produced. Throughout the 20th century, notably after the second world war, new materials like celluloid and plastic began to be used, and this certainly had some consequences also in the production of toys, especially of dolls.

Nowadays children certainly have many more toys to have fun and spend their time with, toys that can be easily found not only in specialized shops but also in stationery shops, for example, next to pens, notebooks and other objects that are not toys, but which are made in a way that they can catch the children's attention and make everything similar to a game. S

peaking about modern games and toys we cannot leave out video games and things like that, which have become more and more popular in the last decades also thanks to the numberless and fast developments that have occurred in the fields of technology and electronics. However, something has not changed, and this is the close link between childhood and play, an ancestral link that remains an essential feature of our lives.

Barbie Doll

Teddy Bear is a stuffed toy bear and the US president Theodore Roosevelt is the person behind the toy bear while Barbie is a toy doll created by Ruth Handler. Both toys have their own origin and are famous in the world. The history of teddy bear goes back to an event in 1902 when Roosevelt was helping Mississippi and Louisiana to settle their border disputes.

While on a hunt during his spare time, he came across an injured young bear and ordered its mercy killing. This later led to the creation of a stuffed toy bear toy called teddy bear because "Teddy" was Roosevelt's nickname. Barbie Doll was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler who was the co-founder of Mattel Fashion.

The doll was named Barbie in honor of her daughter - Barbara. While watching her daughter play with paper dolls, Ruth noticed the child's loves to give then adult roles. At that time most dolls looked like babies and few looked like an adult.

Ruth was inspired to create a three-dimensional toy based on adult paper dolls that have changeable clothes but her husband was not happy with the idea. A vacation in Germany changed their minds however Ruth saw a German doll called Lilli who was based on a comic strip, she bought three of them, gave one to Barbara and took the other two to Mattel.

Ruth had reworked the doll's body and gave it a new name – Barbie, and its first introduction to the world was at the American Toy Fair in New York City in March 1959. There are several stories which tell who was behind the making of the teddy bear toy. The most popular story was that the first official toy bear called teddy bear was made by Morris Michtom.

He had a small candy store in Brooklyn in New York. Rose, his wife was making toy bear to be sold in the store. Michtom sent a toy bear to Roosevelt and sought permission to use the name of teddy bear and he got a positive reply from Roosevelt.

There are also stories that he along with another company called Butler Brothers started mass production of teddy bears but still no one is sure who made the first teddy bear. Both toys are famous from their beginning and are the favorite toys of kids. Teddy bear continues to be sold now and there was a sale of around 350,000 Barbie dolls during the first year of production.


Most people recognise that the Frisbie Pie Company was the original instigators of the Frisbee, although it was not by design. The Frisbie Pie Company produced pies from their factory in Brdigeport, Connecticut, and they were soon offering their products to the students of almost all New England colleges. The students soon discovered that once they had filled their stomachs they could play a game with the included pie tins.

The pie tins were flat with a small lip, and that they could throw and catch them quickly. The fact though that Frisbie Pie Company delivered to so many of the New England colleges has triggered them all to claim that they were the instigators of the frisbee fad.

There is a widely spread tale, although without much supporting evidence, that a student from Dartmouth named Elihu Frisbie in the 1920s was the very first person to throw a Frisbee. The formal invention of the frisbee came at the end of the second world War when Walter Frederick Morrison, a returning American prisoner of war, started sketching designs for a flying disc.

Having drawn his plans for his Whirlo-Way, he teamed up with Warren Franscioni to support and finance the production, and by 1948 the Pipco Flyin-Saucer was in production. These flying discs were created from plastic and could be thrown with quite a bit of accuracy over long distances.

Morrison soon ended his partnership with Franscioni, and in 1950 the 2 men went their separate ways with their product only having met limited success. Morrison though had not been finished with flying discs, he continued to modify his layouts, and came up with the Pluto Platter in 1955. The US at that time was gripped with interest about UFOs and soon the flying disc became a famous toy.

Morrison patented his design, including the Morrison Slope, which is currently part of the aerodynamic design of the frisbee. Success for the Pluto Platter only really came to exist when a new toy organization, Wham-O, came across the frisbee.

Owned by Rich Knerr in addition to Arthur Spud Melin, the company was on the look-out for new toys, and bought the rights to the design from Morrison. Morrison ended up earning millions of dollars in royalties from his design. Wham-O decided Pluto Platter was not a catchy enough name for the new toy, and perhaps influenced by the shouts of college students, who yelled "frisbee" every time they caught their flying discs, chose the name Frisbee.

They felt the frisbee was in need of a redesign and hired Ed Headrick, the head of marketing for Wham-O. His redesign included changes to make it possible for a more stabilised flight. By 1964 the redesign appeared to be complete and Wham-O launched an intensive advertising campaign. Demand was fuelled when Maplewood students created a game called Ultimate Frisbee in 1967.

The demand for Frisbees has remained high since that time, and many games have been developed around the Frisbee. Ultimate Frisbee is played, even competed on an international level. There is also Frisbee golf and other aim sports. The Frisbee is often a popular child's toy, dog toy, and even a perfect device for adults wishing to have fun for hours with friends down at the beach.

early garden trains

Not just do electric toy trains provide allot of fun for the entire family, they have a history that's virtually as rich as the 1 shared by the real rail roads. The first toy trains first appeared on the market within the 1860's. These trains ended up easy designs that had been issued of timber and metal. It can be doubtful that the designers had any inkling of what there simple floor toys would evolve into. The Marklin business saw a require for a set of regular gauges for toy trains in 1891.

When they 1st implemented these normal gauges it was for the wind-up (also called clockwork) trains the Marklin Business produced. The same standards are still employed for today's electronic trains. The very first electric toy train was launched towards the planet in 1901.

The train was an item with the Lionel toy business. Originally this train was only meant to be used as a window display. It wasn't well before consumers had been much more interested in the window display then from the the merchandise. It was during the Frisbee became genuinely favourite.

Right at that moment all the children wanted them, but only the rich kids could afford them. Smaller scaled eclectic toy trains have been introduced to the globe. These trains were typically O gauge and HO gauge. The majority of these trains could only be purchased as kits that have been then assemble by adults with a lot of experience.

Planet War II stopped the manufacture of toy eclectic trains from 1941 via 1945. When output of toy electric trains resumed after the war, the popularity of the trains took off. By the 1950's they have been the most popular toy among boys in the US.

They had also become less costly. At this time the greatest toy train manufacturer is Lionel. Through the middle with the 1950's there was an evident division between toy electric trains that were definitely designed by adults and toy eclectic trains that were designed with young children in mind. The N scale educate was launched in 1965.

The N scale train was only a half the size in the O trains. Three years later the G scale train was launched. The G scale train is still a popular selection among garden rail roaders. The G scale train was presented by Germany's LGB organization. The G scale trains allow collectors to add actual scenery to their layouts as well as topography.

Some individuals incorporate garden trains directly into their homes landscape gardening. Marklin created a educate that was even smaller then the N scale train inside the 1970's. This train was known as the Z scale. At this moment improvements in technology and electronics could be viewed within the toy electronic trains. Realistic sounds and digital control systems were definitely put into the electric powered toy trains inside 1980's. It truly is estimated that you will find over a half million train collectors in the United States and Canada.

Tinker toys

It was certainly a different idea. Take a wheel, drill a bunch of holes around the whole wheel and then stick a bunch of sticks into the wheel. Yes, it was different all right. But would it sell? Well, if you know anything about Tinker toys you already know the answer to that. But, if not, then you might want to read a brief history of one of the most famous toys ever made.

Tinker Toys was the brain child of Charles H. Pajeau and Robert Pettit. These guys met while on a train going to work in Chicago. Talk about your chance encounter. Charles was a stone mason and Robert was a trader. They both hated their jobs. It was this one thing that they had in common that brought them together. All they needed was some inspiration. The inspiration came to Pajeau when he was watching some young children play with regular pencils and spools of thread.

He watched as they stuck the pencils into the spools and then found other items around the house to mix in with them. He noticed how they could spend hours taking apart and putting together the same parts over and over. So Pajeau decided and Petit agreed, to put together a construction set made simply out of sticks and spools, just like the thread and pencils that the kids were using. The design was simple. Charles took a spool, drilled eight holes around it and one in the center that would be for the purpose of making it a cornerstone piece.

The design was based on the Pythagorean Principal of the progressive right triangle. As a stone mason, Charles knew these things and ultimately helped him in the construction of the toy itself. Well, these two new toymakers knew that they had a hit on their hands. They decided to start their own toy company which they named "The Toy Tinkers". They named it as such because basically what they did was tinker with things until they came up with what they were looking for.

Since the toy they made inspired kids to do the same thing, they named their first toy "The Tinkertoy". Unfortunately, they didn't find a lot of people who were interested in their new toy, mostly because there were so many toys already out on the market. So in an effort to attract customers they set up displays at toy stores in the Chicago area.

Well, the displays were so successful that soon the demand for these toys was greater than the supply. What followed over the next 90 years is pretty much history. Tinker toys became a huge hit with young children because of their simplistic design and the infinite things that you could do with that design.

The company itself stayed pretty much the same until it was sold to Hasbro in 1986. The wood pieces were replaced with plastic, but the concept was the same. But in 2000 the wood pieces came back and Tinker toys returned to their roots.

Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head was almost little more than a forgotten cereal premium. But history has a way of being kind to the classics. And George Lerner was about to make history! During the World War II era, George Lerner enjoyed success as a well known inventor and designer. Just before 1950, he designed and produced a first generation set of plastic face pieces.

The push pin shaped noses, ears, eyes and mouth parts could be pushed into fruits or vegetables to transform the food into an endless array of magical anthropomorphic playmates. The toy wasn't an immediate hit however. There was still a World War 2 mentality to conserve resources.

Toy companies didn't think that customers would accept the idea of wasting a piece of food as a child's toy. But after awhile, George finally sold the toy, for $5,000 dollars, to a cereal company, who planned to use the pieces as a premium giveaway in cereal boxes. But George knew that his new toy deserved a bigger shot.

And that shot came in a meeting with a family owned New England manufacturer. Mr Lerner and the manufacture bought back the rights from the cereal company for $7,000. Mr. Potato Head, one of the world’s most adored "personalities," was "born" in 1952, at the Pawtucket, RI - based toy company, Hasbro, Inc., and began making history at an early age as the very first toy to be advertised on television.

The original Mr. Potato Head contained only parts, such as eyes, ears, noses and mouths, and parents had to supply children with real potatoes for face-changing fun! Eight years later, a hard plastic potato "body" was included with Mr. Potato Head to replace the need for a real potato.

Over the next three decades, a variety of Mr. Potato Head products were sold. He was so loved by children, that he was expanded into additional toy categories including puzzles, creative play sets, and electronic hand-held, board and video games. The vast popularity of Mr. Potato Head also attracted non-toy companies who licensed his image and name to make apparel, accessories and novelty items.

Mr. Potato Head’s appeal to people young and old made him the ideal ambassador for many causes and good-will efforts. In 1987, Mr. Potato Head surrendered his signature pipe to the U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, and became the "spokespud" for the American Cancer Society’s annual "Great American Smokeout" campaign—a role he carried out for several years.

On his 40th birthday, it was decided that he would no longer be a "couch potato" and he received a special award from the President’s Council for Physical Fitness, right on the lawn of the White House! Always one to pass on a wholesome message to the public, he and Mrs. Potato Head joined up with the League of Women’s Voters in 1996 to help out with their "Get Out the Vote" campaign and spread the word about the importance of voting to Americans.

Mr. Potato Head ... a world-class personality whose recognition grew from a simple children’s toy to everyone’s best friend, a speaker of causes, entertainment star and a cultural icon.

Etch A Sketch Magic Screen

Its bright red frame isn't showing signs of gray. Its silver-gray drawing surfaces hasn't lost its shine. Its width still measures a trim of 9 ½ inches… but the Etch A Sketch Magic Screen® is almost 40 years old. It seems like only yesterday when the first Etch A Sketch® toys were produced on July 12, 1960. Here's the story… In the late 1950's, a man by the name of Arthur Granjean invented something he called ``L'Ecran Magique", the magic screen, in his garage. In 1959, he took his drawing toy to the International Toy Fair in Nuremburg, Germany.

The Ohio Art Company saw it but had no interest in the toy. When Ohio Art saw the toy a second time, they decided to take a chance on the product. The L'Ecran Magique was soon renamed the Etch A Sketch® and became the most popular drawing toy in the business. In the 1960, Ohio Art used television to advertise the Etch A Sketch®. Etch A Sketch The response was so incredible that the company decided to continue manufacturing them until noon Christmas Eve 1960.

The Etch A Sketches® were then immediately shipped to the West Coast so people in California could buy Etch A Sketch® on Christmas Eve and have them for Christmas. The Etch A Sketch® has changed very little over the years. In the 1970s, Ohio Art offered hot pink and blue frames. But people still wanted the bright red frames that were so popular. The print on the frame has changed slightly, but the inner workings have remained exactly the same.

The screen's reverse side is coated with a mixture of aluminum powder and plastic beads. The left and right knobs control the horizontal and vertical rods, moving the stylus where the two meet. When the stylus moves, it scrapes the screen leaving the line you see. The knobs have changed slightly. The new shape has a different edge for easier handling and turning.

What makes the Etch a Sketch® so popular? It has influenced a generation of artists who have made a road for themselves to press; magazines, newspapers, and TV. The Etch A Sketch® club often features these artists in its newsletter. The Etch A Sketch® Club was formed in 1978 and has an average of 2000 members, ranging from age two to eighty-two.

Marbles history

There's a story attached with every marble and if a child picks up marble collection as a hobby, it could prove profitable for him because he will get to know a lot about foreign cultures and the history of various countries as well as his own. This insight into the past history and culture can go a long way to teaching a child about life in other places and times.

To start off with the hobby of marble collecting, you first need to read up and gather knowledge about marbles, their different types, their histories, how to stock up on resources, where to collect marbles and learn the places from where you can collect marbles of your choice. The best place to brush up your knowledge about marbles is the internet.

You can join forums and groups on the internet where you can meet many like minded people and marble collectors who can help you out with tips, suggestions, resources and their own experiences while pursuing this rewarding hobby. There are countless articles on the internet, in places like websites, article directories, e-books, e-magazines, etc.

You can also find books in libraries where you can read up about marbles and their types. Your forum friends and fellow group members who are more knowledgeable can also answer your queries for you. You can also take practical lessons by hanging around in antique stores, marble stores and toy shows and by visiting toy stores or browsing through pictures on marble websites like marblesonline.com. The online marble stores have a huge display of pictures of the marbles they are trying to sell and many interesting details and trivia are inked beside the pictures.

Even going through these pictures would help you learn about the various types of marbles available. The reason why sufficient prior knowledge and research on marbles is so vital is because without this, you won’t be able to differentiate between the ultra common marbles and the more valuable marbles and the ones which have antique worth with a lot of history to enhance its appeal. Some of these antiques can fetch astronomical amounts in the market and are collectors’ favorites.

It is very difficult to tell one from another by just looking at these marbles. Unless you have thorough knowledge about these circular beauties, their similarities and designs and patterns will leave you stumped. Before heading straight to marble stores and antique shops, you first have to decide on which type of marbles you actually desire. It will also safeguard you against frauds because surely you don’t want to purchase a few cents’ worth of marbles for $400 or sell off antique marbles worth $7000 at $100!

There are different types of marbles such as cats’ eye, onionskin, sulphide, oxbloods, agates, handmade spirals, art glass marbles, Christiansen Swirl, Akro Corkscrew marbles, clay marbles, ribbon, hand crafted marbles, machine made marbles etc.

There's a story attached with every marble and if a child picks up marble collection as a hobby, it could prove profitable for him because he will get to know a lot about foreign cultures and the history of various countries as well as his own. This insight into the past history and culture can go a long way to teaching a child about life in other places and times.

To start off with the hobby of marble collecting, you first need to read up and gather knowledge about marbles, their different types, their histories, how to stock up on resources, where to collect marbles and learn the places from where you can collect marbles of your choice.

The best place to brush up your knowledge about marbles is the internet. You can join forums and groups on the internet where you can meet many like minded people and marble collectors who can help you out with tips, suggestions, resources and their own experiences while pursuing this rewarding hobby.

There are countless articles on the internet, in places like websites, article directories, e-books, e-magazines, etc. You can also find books in libraries where you can read up about marbles and their types. Your forum friends and fellow group members who are more knowledgeable can also answer your queries for you. You can also take practical lessons by hanging around in antique stores, marble stores and toy shows and by visiting toy stores or browsing through pictures on marble websites like marblesonline.com.

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