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					                                                         TOY TIMELINE
Museums and Resources              Toy Enthusiasts            Events and Conventions




Toy History
John Skakel
Faire Tyme Toys

Have you ever wondered about the first toy? How it came to be? What it was? Many
people have often wondered about just that: I have seen numerous posts and been
asked about those very questions many times.

Take a moment here to relax gently and close your eyes and think of two things.
First off, picture a monkey sitting on a branch of a tree playing with a stick. Then,
think of the beginnings of man. The beginning of man as the way you and your
religion believe it was. Many people have different beliefs but that is all right.

Still keeping your eyes closed, imagine yourself as one of the first men or women
walking around on that first day. This may be the day after the creation of man as
seen in the Bible, or it may be the day (if it was indeed possible to pin point it down
to a day) that man first could be called "Man" instead of "Ape". But it was indeed a
day many, many thousands of years ago!

I believe that on those first days of existence that a man or woman picked up a
small stick and played with it just like that monkey you imagined playing on the
branch of that tree. Or picked up a stone or a piece of bone to throw it at an animal
but suddenly realized how much fun it was to do that and threw it again just for the
fun of doing it.

And suddenly in a flash the first toy was born. It could have been a stick, stone, or
bone thrown in the air. Or a man, woman, or child looking at their image in the
water during those first days as this new character called man. But, as old as things
like the Eskimo game so similar to cup and ball, or toys like tops, or dolls are, they
are thousands upon thousands of years younger than these first toys that men,
women, and their children first played with.

But, these first toys did indeed signal the beginnings of the playful side of man that
would exist until this very day. This beginning was the beginning of our modern
toys and games that we play with so much. Both as adults and children. And yet
think how often someone comes up to the edge of a small lake and skips a stone
                                                        TOY TIMELINE
across that flat water today. Possibly using that same small stone that our ancient
relatives used.

As you read through Dr. Toy's time line you might want to think about the different
toys described and how they really started as that first simple stick, or stone; bone,
or pool of cool, clear water; so many years ago.

Men, women, and children have all loved to have fun with toys since their very
beginning. And probably always will.

Dr. Toy's time line gives us an idea of how this all came together. To form our
modern toys of today. It is even possible that if we all (young and old) took time to
play with these old original toys that this old world would be a much better place
today.

Classic Toys Still Made Today
      These classic toys first introduced years ago are still produced today.
Toy Timeline
6000 B.C.
     An ancestor of chess begins to be played.�It evolves from an Indian game
       called Chaturanga.�In the 15th Century, modern chess pieces were finally
     standardized.�The queen and bishop pieces acquired the powers they hold
     today.
4000 B.C.
     A Babylonian board game was probably an ancestor of chess and checkers.
3000 B.C.
     First game resembling backgammon is played in Ancient
     Samaria.�Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans had played games similar to
       backgammon for thousands of years.�Stone marbles are first used in
     Egypt.�Glass marbles were popularized in the United States in the 1800s.
2000 B.C.
     Egyptians begin to play a game that resembles modern-day checkers.
     Egyptians made dolls from string, fabric and paper.
     The first iron skates are used in Scandinavia.
1000 B.C.
     Kites appear in China.�They have probably been flown since before recorded
       history.�Stone Yo-Yos begin to be used in Greece.
969
       Playing cards begin to be used in Asia.
1759
     Joseph Merlin introduces roller skates.
1800's
     Playgrounds begin to appear in American cities.�The idea stemmed from the
     efforts of city reformers who were searching for more healthful play options
                                                        TOY TIMELINE
       for children in urban areas, where parks and yards were scarce. The
       playgrounds started off as "sand gardens," inspired by those seen by an
       American social worker while visiting Berlin.�Financed by local businesses,
       city playgrounds soon included swings and seesaws.
1840
       The first American doll maker is granted a patent and dolls begin to be mass-
       produced in America for the first time.
1843
       Salem, Massachusetts native S.B. Ives develops "The Mansion of Happiness,"
       the first the first commercially produced board game in the United States of
       America.
1867
       A westernized version of the Indian game Parcheesi is introduced in England
       under the name "Ludo."�Parcheesi remains the oldest continually marketed
       American toy that dates back to 300 A.D.�
1879
       Alphabet Blocks become favorites and help children learn their alphabet the
       old-fashioned way.�
       Margarete Steiff notices a pattern in a magazine for a toy elephant and
       makes a few to give as gifts.�She went on to sew a bear, a poodle and a
       donkey.�Margarete's stuffed animals proved so popular that she was able to
       turn her hobby into a business.�Since then, Steiff bears, with their jointed
       arms and legs and trademark metal button in their left ear, have been
       treasured the world over.
1884
       Three young brothers begin making high-quality wooden toys in Osby,
       Sweden and the BRIO corporation is born, taking its name from the BRothers
       Ivarson of Osby.�Wooden Figure-8 Train Sets are introduced by
       BRIO.�Peter Reynolds began distributing BRIO toys in the United States in
       1977.�More than 3.5 million trains, cars, and trucks have come off BRIO's
       assembly line, the largest wooden toy manufacturer in the world.
1886
       The first BB gun is created.�Made for children, it scares many parents
       because it is actually a working gun that can cause injury.�The BB gun is a
       descendant of the cap gun, which was invented soon after the Civil War,
       when some shotgun manufacturers converted their factories to make
       toys.�Penny pistols and other authentic looking toy guns also began to
       appear in the 1880s.
1887
       The speaking doll, which had first been invented by Johann Maezel in 1820,
       is improved when Thomas Edison combines his phonograph technology with
       a doll, allowing it to speak.
                                                        TOY TIMELINE
1880's
     Mah Jongg was named for a Chinese word meaning "sparrow," originates in
     the Ningbo area of China.�Games like Mah Jongg had been played as long
     ago as 1800.
1889
     The Flexible Flyer sled is introduced.�It is a wonderful sled, largely due to its
       extraordinary craftsmanship.�The sled handles superbly, due to its patented
       steering bar.�
1890
       Australian native Lawrence Hargrave invents the first three-dimensional kite.
1898
       Gund introduces the first mass-produced musical toys and soft toys.
1900
       At just 22 years old, Joshua Lionel Cowen creates a battery-powered train
       engine as an "animated advertisement" for products in a store's display
       window.�To his surprise, customers are more interested in purchasing his
       toy train, than the merchandise in the display.�Lionel Trains began.
1902
       In America, toy bears begin to be called "Teddy Bears" after President
       Theodore Roosevelt.�In only a few years, Teddy Bear-mania sweeps the
       world and by 1915, large-scale toy bear manufacturing is in full swing.
1903
       Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith produce the first box of Crayola crayons.
1911
       Strombeck-BecKer is formed. In the years to follow the company becomes
       Strombecker Toys and a powerhouse in the toy manufacturing world.
       Strombeck-BecKer History.
1913
       Former Olympian (Gold, Pole Vault, 1908) and medical doctor A.C. Gilbert
       invents the Erector Set, a motorized toy made of steel parts.�Children use
       the parts to build models of everything from ferris wheels to skyscrapers.
1914
       Charles Pajeau develops a toy similar to the Erector Set, but designed for
       younger children, called Tinker Toys.�Watching children poke sticks into the
       holes of thread spools inspired Pajeau.
       Eagle Rubber starts to manufacture rubber toy balloons.�Children like to
       play with this item for a couple of reasons.�The hopping itself is a fun way
       for children to improve balance and coordination while developing their gross
       motor skills.�
1915
       Johnny Gruelle, a newspaper cartoonist, begins to sell Raggedy Ann dolls
       based on one he had made for his daughter, Marcella. Visit the Johnny
       Gruelle Reggedy Ann & Andy Museum.
                                                        TOY TIMELINE
1916
       John Lloyd Wright, the son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright invents Lincoln
       Logs, interlocking toy logs children use to build imaginative
       structures.�Wright was inspired by the way that his father designed the
       earthquake-proof Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan.
       Louis Marx was a young man with visions of mass marketing and mass
       production.�He ventured out to begin a toy company.�Joined by his brother
       David a couple of years later, Louis Marx & Company grew to become the
       world's largest manufacturer of toys in the middle of the century.�It has
       evolved into a "classic" toy staple of the 1990's.
1922
       Jack Pressman creates a play doctor's bag when his children are afraid to
       visit the doctor.�His company becomes the largest manufacturer of classic
       games, selling more than 25 million checker sets and 15 million chess and
       Chinese checker sets to date.
1924
       His wife, Daphne, and his young son, Christopher Robin, inspired A.A. Milne
       to write the poems and stories of Winnie the Pooh.
1927
       A tough, durable kind of plastic, polystyrene is invented.�Although the first
       plastic, celluloid, was invented in the 1860s, polystyrene is the first type
       strong enough to really suit toy making.
1928
       Walt Disney creates the Mickey Mouse character.�Two years later, Charlotte
       Clark began making stuffed Mickey Mouse dolls, and Disney merchandising
       was born.
1929
       The Yo-Yo is popularized in the United States after entrepreneur Donald
       Duncan sees the toy being demonstrated in Los Angeles.�Duncan buys a
       small Yo-Yo company for $25,000 and 30 years later, sales of Duncan Yo-Yos
       reach $25 million dollars.
1930
       Stacking Rings are introduced and remain a classic toy today.�The five
       brightly colored rings on a stack allow babies to place them in any order they
       wish.�There are many different combinations that help improve baby's eye-
       hand coordination.�
1931
       Alfred M. Butts, an unemployed architect from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., invents a
       word game called the Criss Cross Game.�In 1948, Butts sells rights to the
       game to entrepreneur James Brunot who trademarks the game under the
       name Scrabble.
1932
                                                         TOY TIMELINE
       Ole Christiansen, a Danish toy maker begins to manufacture toy blocks with
       a new twist.�Christiansen creates a plastic brick that can be locked together
       in different configurations.�The Lego, which comes from the Danish word
       meaning "play well," was born.�Six bricks fit together in 102,981,500
       different ways.
1934
       Sorry! is introduced as a fun and easy way to bring friends and family
       together.�The object of the game is to be the first player to get all four of
       the pawns in your starting color into that color's home.�The CD-ROM
       version, produced by Hasbro Interactive, has pawns that slip and slide
       around the board, taunting and teasing the other pawns along the way.�
1935
       Monopoly is introduced with its real estate based on Atlantic City's street
       names.�During the first year on the market, Monopoly was the best-selling
       game in America.�And over its sixty-five-year history, an estimated five
       hundred million people have played the game.�
1939
       William Gruber, a piano tuner from Portland, Oregon, has the idea of mass-
       producing color 3-D images in a viewer.�Introduced before television
       becomes widespread, View Master is an immediate hit.
       Early 1940s
       Affordable, detailed model airplanes begin to be mass-produced.�Originally
       designed to help manufacturers sell airplanes to the military, they begin to
       make practical toys with the introduction of plastic.�Before plastic, models
       were made with balsa wood provided in kits.�Otherwise, consumers had to
       cut their own wood pieces to fit a provided pattern.
1942
       Little Golden Books begin delighting children and parents of all ages.
1943
       While searching for a suspension device to ease rough sailing on battleships,
       navy engineer Richard James discovers that a torsion spring will "walk" end
       over end when knocked over.�James brought the discovery home to his
       wife, who named the new toy "Slinky."�If stretched end to end, the Slinky
       toys sold since 1945 would wrap around the world more than 125
       times.�Slinky's are still made in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, on the same
       eight machines that James began with over 50 years ago.

				
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