The First Toy Ever Made – Celebrate 100 years of the Toy Industry Association with a look back at some of the most iconic toys from decades past.
In 1911, A. S. Gilbert invented the erector set, a motorized toy made of steel parts. The Erector Set was the first toy to have a national advertising campaign aimed specifically at boys. The line was discontinued in 1960, but the concept of toys representing engineering and structural principles still exists today. In fact, kids can now even build and program their own robots using a similar construction concept to the original toy.
The First Toy Ever Made
Despite the name, Lincoln logs were not used or invented by President Abraham Lincoln. In fact, they were invented by John Lloyd Wright, son of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, in 1918. The idea struck John while he was watching the construction of one of his father’s projects, an earthquake-resistant building in Japan.
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Shortly after the release of Steamboat Willie in 1928, Walt Disney released a Mickey Mouse doll. Simple plush Mickey Mouse dolls launched Disney’s international merchandising and licensing empire.
The first yo-yo appeared in California in 1928. A Filipino named Pedro Flores often played outside with a homemade yo-yo, which means “come-come” in the native Filipino language. His small yo-yo business caught the attention of Donald F. Duncan (father of the Good Humor ice cream bar), who later bought the business and held yo-yo competitions, attracting millions of customers.
Monopoly is the most popular board game in history, but it wasn’t always called Monopoly. The game was first called “The Landlord’s Game” and was introduced in 1904. According to The Strong National Museum of Play, the game was originally developed to point out the social pitfalls of unequal wealth between people. Instead, the game saw players greedily amassing huge piles of money and possessions, reveling in their opponents’ financial woes. The game gained popularity when Charles Darrow released the first commercial version called Monopoly in 1934.
In the 1930s, architect Alfred M. Batts invented a game with 100 letter tiles that were used to form words on a square grid that looked like a crossword puzzle. The game, first called Lexiko and later Criss Cross Words, was the first version of what is known as Scrabble.
A Wodden Toy, Made Like A Horse From The First Half Of The 20th Century.
The 1930s saw the launch of Sorry!, a fun and easy way to bring friends and family together.
The first View-Master debuted at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and was invented by Harold Groves and William Gruber. The first reels offered views of scenic landmarks across the United States. Fast forward to 2016 and the View-Master is smartphone compatible and designed to blend augmented and virtual reality.
Eleanor Abbott developed the Candy Land game in 1949 while recovering from polio in California. The game has been in the making for over 50 years and is currently available in several versions, including an electronic handheld game.
Chutes and Ladders was launched in the 1940s and was developed from a game that European settlers brought with them to America.
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Originally invented as a replacement for wartime synthetic rubber, Silly Putty hit the market in the 1940s. After its appearance, toy marketer Peter Hodgson decided to list the putty, which was called “Silly Putty”, as a novelty in his catalog. By 1950, Silly Putty’s popularity (and sales) were on the rise, and since then millions of units have been sold each year.
The Slinky, which was invented in 1943, was not originally intended as a toy. Richard James, a mechanical engineer, was working on developing springs that could keep sensitive shipboard equipment stable at sea when he knocked on his shelf of samples, causing his invention to gracefully “go down”. Sales of the Slinky saw skyrocket over the next few decades thanks to a catchy advertising jingle.
In the 1950s, Jack Odell created the original Matchbox Car. He made a small copper model car and put it in a matchbox so his daughter could bring it to school.
The first Barbie doll debuted in 1959 at a toy fair. Barbie was designed by Ruth Handler as a three-dimensional fashion doll that inspired little girls to be whatever they wanted to be. Over the years, Barbie has not only had a modeling career; in fact, she’s had more than 150 careers, including dentist, World Cup contestant, and even a presidential candidate. See more pictures of Barbie through the ages.
Sonic The Hedgehog Ge Shadow Plush Toy Doll Tarsnak 11.8in
In the 1950s, two art students discovered that vinyl would stick to semi-gloss paint. This discovery led to the popular Colorforms toy.
Originally used as a wallpaper cleaner, Play-Doh began to be used in schools in the mid-1950s as a substitute for plasticine.
The beloved Little People Line was born in the 1950s with the introduction of the iconic school bus safety.
According to The Strong (Museum of Play), in 1957 the founders of the Wham-O toy company, Richard Kner and Arthur “Spud” Melin, learned that children in Australia were twirling bamboo hoops around their waists in physical education class. Within a year, Wham-O created a hollow hoop from Phillips Petroleum’s newly developed Marlex plastic. They called their creation the Hula Hoop, after the hip-swiveling Hawaiian dance that its users seemed to imitate. Wham-O sold 25 million hoops in just two months, and sales reached $45 million in the first year.
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Yahtzee was first introduced in the 1950s by a Canadian couple who called it the “yacht game” because they played it with friends on their yacht.
Originally designed as silly face parts to include in cereal box promotions, the idea of Mr. Potato Head appeared around 1952. The first Mr. Mr Potato Head was the first toy to have a TV advert – and was later joined by his counterpart Mrs Potato Head in 1953. Together for generations, the pair appeared in commercials, movies and arcades across America.
The Tonka Truck was invented in the 1950s by a group of Minnesota teachers and named after Lake Minnetonka. Today, the Tonka line includes more than 30 trucks.
In the 1960s, Hasbro introduced the Easy Bake oven. Although the Easy Bake oven has been redesigned for a sleeker look, it’s still a classic children’s toy.
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Inspired by one of Milton Bradley’s old games, the game’s inventor Reuben Clammer developed the classic Game of Life in the 1960s.
Twister, the first game in which people used bodies as playing pieces, was conceived in 1964. Since then, the popular party game has offered many new game models – including electronic versions and sprinkler sets.
In 1964, Hasbro introduced the G.I. Joe came up with a “figure” with 21 moving parts. G.I. Joe was an instant success, selling millions of figures in the first year.
Parker Brothers originally developed NERF, starting with the 4-inch polyurethane foam ball in 1969. The NERF ball was billed as “the world’s first official indoor ball.” It was marketed as a ball that you could “throw indoors; you can’t damage lamps or break windows. You can’t hurt babies and old people.”
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Operation is one of the skill-based games of the 1960s that revived the board game category.
In the 1970s, Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax invented the popular Dungeons & Dragons, a fantasy tabletop role-playing game. The publication of D&D is generally recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry.
Shortly after the debut of Star Wars in 1977, a line of 3.75-inch Star Wars figures came out, sparking generations of Star Wars figures and collectibles. Originally released from 1978-1985 and then from the mid-1990s to the present day, these figures have generated millions in sales. With the release of The Force Awakens last year, there were nearly 4,000 toys in the industry, including a program-controlled droid. It’s safe to say that Star Wars products have come a long way over the past four decades – but despite the advancements in technology, figures continue to be some of the most popular Star Wars products on the market.
The popular card game UNO appeared in the 1970s. The game continued to be popular and offered players many new versions, licenses and game templates over the years.
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Hans Beck created Playmobil in 1974. Since then, about 2.7 billion Playmobil figures have been produced, which have been distributed in more than 100 countries around the world.
In the 1980s, Nintendo released a handheld, battery-powered video game system called the Gameboy. Since then, the portable gaming industry has blossomed.
Since the launch of Nintendo Entertainment Systems (NES) in 1983, Nintendo has sold more than 4.4 billion video games and more than 693 million hardware units worldwide. Nintendo originally got its start as a result of the Donkey Kong coin-operated video game released in 1981. The company then switched to providing video games for the home. When Nintendo’s first home video game system, called the NES, launched in the US in the mid-1980s, its titles, including Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, became instant hits.
Pictionary was invented by Robert Angel, then a waiter, and developed by Gary Everson. A video game based on Pictionary was released in 1990.
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In the 1980s, Hasbro acquired the rights to
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