Toys are the objects that bring about some of our fondest childhood memories. We can all think back to that one particular toy that we wanted so much for Christmas or our Birthday. Playing with toys and games back in the 50's required a great deal of imagination, and we had plenty of that. Those great toys of yesteryear are still available throughout the US and worldwide. Let's walk down memory lane and discuss some of them.
1. The Slinky. This little gem was invented in 1943. Richard James accidentally invented this fun-filled toy. The slinky is constructed of 87 feet of wire and coiled into a three-inch diameter circle. One of the best features of the slinky was it's ability to walk down the stairs. As soon as the first commercial appeared on television showing this one amazing feat, the slinky became a household name. After becoming a success in the 1950's, over 300 million of these toys have been sold worldwide.
2. Play-Doh. Invented in 1955, play-doh was originally meant to be a wall paper cleaner. Joseph and Noah McVicker joined Kutol products to make the putty based cleaner and found out that it was being used by children for Christmas ornaments. This inspired them to take it to an educational convention where Woodward and Lothrop decided to begin selling it. The recipe is still a secret. Play-doh has managed to sell over 700 million pounds of the goop since then.
3. Etch A Sketch. Developed in the late 1950's by Frenchman Arthur Granjean. This little red box that is known for drawing using knobs and shaking to erase the drawings has been a big hit. Introduced during the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany it was purchased by the Ohio Toy company. They loved the toy but didn't like the original name, L'Ecran Magique. The toy was renamed the Etch A Sketch. Since inception, their have been over 100 million Etch A Sketch toys sold worldwide.
4. Barbie Doll. The beautiful fantasy come true for every little girl was invented in 1959 by Ruth Handler. After watching her daughter play with paper dolls and realizing that all the dolls were infants, Ruth suggested to her husband who worked for Matel the idea of making an adult sized doll. She borrowed the concept of the Barbie Doll from a german doll named Bild Lilli. Barbie was introduced during a Toy Fair in New York. As a teenage model, Barbie made her debut in a swimsuit, sunglasses, and high-heeled shoes. Since 1959, Matel has sold millions of these lovely dolls.
5. Hula Hoop. Hooping has been around since the 1300's, but the actual Hula Hoop came into existence in 1958. Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin formed the Wham-O company in 1958. In 1959 they applied for the Hula Hoop patent. They sold 20 million hula hoops in the first 6 months for $1.98. The wide plastic hoop that so many kids from the 50's to the present have loved continues to be a worldwide success.
Many great inventions were born in the 1950's, but these toys are the ones we remember the most. They tend to take us back to a time where life was simple and our hardest task all day was playing outside. My how we long for those days again. Maybe I'll go out and get me a hula hoop today and rekindle my childhood. Just a thought!