The early 1900s were very different from today. Toys, although they have evolved in many ways, were still the delight of children all over the world. Explore the history of toys, as traced by the History website.
Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency marks the beginning of the “Teddy Bear”. In the year 1902, the toy bears were named “Teddy” after the president’s nickname. The teddy bear became famous all over the world and is still known and loved today. Only a few years later were the Teddy Bears mass produced.
Crayola pastels were first ever made in 1903 by Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith.
In 1913, an object called the Erector Set was invented. It was a motorized steel toy that children could use to build models of anything. Its creator was AC Gilbert, a doctor.
Charles Pajeau created a similar wooden set called Tinker Toys in the year 1914. Tinker Toys was made for younger children.
Raggedy Ann dolls first appeared on the scene after newspaper cartoonist Johnny Gruelle reproduced the doll he made for his daughter. It was 1915.
The next year, the son of an architect named John Lloyd Wright invented Lincoln Logs, which were connected to create structures.
Polystyrene was invented in 1927 and is the type of plastic that was used to make toys in the early days.
Two years after the creation of Mickey Mouse (which was in 1928), the stuffed Mickey Mouse dolls were made by Charlotte Clark. This was the beginning of Disney merchandising.
The yo-yo became popular in the United States after Donald Duncan bought a yo-yo company in 1929.
Scrabble was developed from a game called Criss Cross, invented by Alfred M. Butts in 1931. It became known as Scrabble after James Brunot bought the rights from Butts and registered the game under this new name. Now more than a million Scrabble games are bought every year in North America.
In 1935, the Parker Brothers introduced Monopoly. This game is so popular today that there are many different clones of this game, many of which are just as popular.
The View-Master, a three-dimensional viewer was developed by a camera enthusiast named William Gruber. The toy became popular when Gruber licensed Disney characters to create 3D stills from Disney movies and TV shows.
Finally, in 1940, model airplanes were mass-produced. They started as a way for manufacturers to sell planes to the military, but later caught on as a toy.
The toys we know and love today have their roots in these ancient times. Isn’t it interesting to know that if it weren’t for all these creative people, most of the games you know today would never have been?
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