Archive for the 'Antique Toys' Category
Fisher-Price Inc. is the world’s largest preschool products company. Fisher-Price has dominated the infant and preschool toy market for over 60 years and has become known for the high quality and durability of its products.
Wholly owned by Mattel Inc. since 1993, Fisher-Price consolidated with other divisions of its parent to make up a single, massive marketer of toys principally for children under the age of five. Some of its best-known products include Little People playsets and Power Wheels ride-on toys.
The idea for one of the most famous toys in history was inspired by a meter for testing horsepower on battleships. A torsion spring used in a testing meter fell from the desk of marine engineer Richard James and tumbled end-over-end across the floor.
James took it home to his wife Betty and said, “I think I can make a toy out of this.” This he did by devising a steel formula that allowed the spring to “walk.” Betty went through the dictionary for a fitting name for the toy and found it in SLINKY, which was defined as “stealthy, sleek and sinuous.”
In 1945, as Christmas neared, Gimbel’s department store agreed to provide counter space for 400 SLINKYs. Richard James was there to demonstrate the toy to a crowd of shoppers and within 90 minutes all 400 SLINKYs were sold. (James Industries)
While toy company Mattel could barely keep up with demand for its Barbie dolls in the early 1960s, its competitor, Hasbro, realized the market had no analogue for boys. In 1963, Hasbro began development on a military-themed line of dolls that, like Barbie, could be accessorized with different outfits and equipment. The original strategy called for a different figure for each branch of the military, but seizing on a 1945 film called The Story of G.I. Joe, the toys were eventually generalized. (The term itself comes from World War II, where it was used as a shorthand symbol for the typical service man, or “Government-Issue Joe.”)
G.I. Joe was initially a massive success and Hasbro expanded the line throughout the ’60s, reimagining Joe as an astronaut, a deep-sea diver and a Green Beret. But outcry over American involvement in Vietnam dampened enthusiasm for a camo-clad action figure, so Hasbro gave Joe an honorable discharge.
It redesigned the toys and re-launched them in 1970 as Adventures of G.I. Joe: the figure received lifelike hair, moveable eyes and a “kung-fu” grip, enabling him to hold onto objects for the first time. But the changes proved to be a gimmick, taken even further by Hasbro with the development of a space-traveling “Super Joe” in 1976. The reception was lukewarm, and by 1978, Joe was retired from service entirely.
More information is available at http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1915120,00.html
August 29th, 2009
York Fairgrounds, York PA
334 Carlisle Ave
York, PA 17404
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 9AM to 3PM
General Admission $7.00 – Free Parking
For more information call (717) 335-3435
Remembering toys such as Raggedy Ann and Andy, Lincoln Logs, yo-yo’s, tea sets, story book dolls, Barbie, wooden spinning tops, Jack in the Box, Tonka Trucks, easy bake oven, the Hula Hoop, ant farms, metal doll houses and fire house play sets, the list could go on and on makes me wish I were a kid again.
With these toys of yesteryear in mind I have created this category so we can reminisce together. I plan on researching various toys children played with in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and maybe back further in time. I will be writing blog posts about the history and origination of many toys and find out what they are worth today.
I will also look up and post where current toys shows are being held so if there is one in your city or a nearby town you could pack up the kids and go take a look back to the toys of yesteryear.
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