A Tonka truck is an all-metal toy produced by Tonka Toys Incorporated which originally was known as the Mound Metalcraft that manufactured garden implements. A business that started only as a sideline, Tonka trucks like the Mighty Dump Truck earned a name for being indestructible because of being made of pure steel. However, the material used was slowly replaced by plastic in the 1980s.
Introduced by U.S. immigrant Filipino Pedro Flores, the history of this toy can be traced back to nearly 500 B.C but it only found mainstream success when Flores founded the Yo-Yo Manufacturing Company in 1928. In the U.S. alone, 300,000 of this toy are produced and sold every day. Because of its popularity, it was labeled as a “Wonder Toy.”
As a predecessor of the Pluto Platter that wobbles while on flight, Frisbee dominated the market in 1964 due to the clever marketing strategy of Wham-O, the toy company that invented the toy. Frisbee’s stabilized flight made it a perfect material for a new sport known as the Ultimate Frisbee, invented by high school students in New Jersey in 1967, three years after the toy’s invention.
The American toy company, Mattel Inc. produced the Barbie doll in 1959 as a fashion doll that could have different accessories and wear several set of clothes. Its creation was inspired by a German doll called the Bild Lill.
It is said that no inventor can claim the hula hoop as his original product. However, the modern hula hoop as we know it today was invented by R. Knerr and A. Melin in 1958. It is a toy hoop that can be twirled around the neck, waist, hand, and knees. Hula hoops differ in size for adults and children. Although, the modern hula hoop is made of plastic which contain rocks or other noise makers which serve as weights, traditional manufacturers used rattan or grapevines for the toy.
Originally known as Ken Carson, Ken is also a product of the toy company Mattel Inc. and was invented by Barbie’s inventor Ruth Handler. Produced to serve as Barbie’s fictional boyfriend, it also has a wide array of fashion which includes clothes and accessories.
G.I Joe is a collection of action figures manufactured by toy company Hasbro in the 1960s. Because dolls were too mainstream a term for girls, “action figures” were accepted as a term for boys’ toys that originally represented the US Navy, US Army, USAF, and the USMC. The relaunch of the line in 1982 included a play set with cars and other vehicles for the figures. A team known as the Cobra Command served as GI Joe’s counterpart in the background story of taking over the Free World.
Invented by Jonatthan De Longe in 1938, a beach ball is a classic beach toy that is usually about the size of a hand but can reach sizes of over 3 feet (1 m) across or bigger. A beach ball set normally features a set of soft plastic panels, two circular end panels and an inflation valve.
This toy is another product of the toy company Hasbro. As its name suggests, Lite Brite is a light box that has small holes where colored (translucent) plastic pegs fit and create a picture by templates or by imagination. Colors include green, blue, red, yellow, purple, pink, orange, and a colorless clear one.
Manufactured by Bergen Toy and Novelty Co., Army Men is a set of small monochrome plastic American soldiers. It became popular among boys in the 1930’s because it realized their fantasies of becoming U.S. Army soldiers wearing batiks and depicting different action poses. These toys were sold in large plastic bags and had pod feet to allow them to stand during battles.
Introduced in 1968, Hot Wheels are generally toy cars originally produced for children. However, with the product’s license to make scale models of real cars using original blueprints of car companies, the toy company Mattel Inc. which first manufactured the toy also started to make models and limited edition cars for adult collectors.
The Slinky was developed in 1943 by a mechanical engineer named Richard James. The development of the toy was the unintended byproduct of a new line of sensitive springs that were intended to protect fragile equipment on ships. The toy got its big break in 1945 when, in a matter of minutes, Philadelphia’s Gilbels Department Store sold 400 of it.
Magic Ball was derived from the Syco-Seer, a fortune-telling crystal ball developed by Albert Carter. Unfortunately, this toy was never fully realized because Carter died. In the 1950’s, Abke Bookman turned the Syco-Seer into a black and white 8 ball with a floating 20-sided die. When shaken, the die in the ball flats and reveals answers to questions about the future.
Lego bricks were originally sets of interlocking blocks, normally red and white in color. In 1958, the Lego Company patented the small blocks to allow children to create structures freely by using limitless combinations. As of today, the company has already manufactured and sold over 320 billion Lego bricks.
Named after its inventor Erno Rubik, the Rubik’s Cube was originally called the Magic Cube before its formal debut in the market in 1980. It is a 3D combination puzzle with six faces covered by nine stickers, the goal is for players to solve the cube in such a way where the results yield one set of color on each face.
One of the first memory games in history, the Simon game slogan says: “Simon’s a computer. Simon has a brain, you either do what Simon says or else go down the drain.” The Simon game machine has four buttons of different colors which produce different sounds when pressed. A player must press the right buttons after the machine plays the sound to survive the game. The number of buttons that must be pressed by the player increase after every round, which makes it harder for the player to remember which buttons made the sound.
Mr. Potato Head
Mr. Potato Head was invented by George Learner out of his goal to get kids to like vegetables. Mr. Potato Head is a set of pointy-backed features that are meant to be jabbed into a real potato and was introduced to the market in 1952. It earned the Hassenfeld Brothers Company more than $4 million in just a matter of months.
Transformers are action figures divided into two main factions: the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons. Spin-offs from the toy line have been made since their debut in 1984 which include the Marvel series, a television program, and several full-length movies.
Created by Lesney Products, Matchbox Car is the smaller version of the miniature model of the coronation coach of Queen Elizabeth II that was first marketed in 1953. This miniature car was followed by an entire series of tiny cars and became best sellers. Matchbox racing tracks were also released in the 1970’s to keep up with its competitor; Hot Wheels.
Awarded as the best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986, Teddy Ruxpin is a talking bear that moves its eyes while making it appear that it reads a story played through cassette tapes built on its back. Its characters already inspired a cartoon show on TV. In 2006, the toy was also awarded the Animated Interactive Plush Toy of the Year.
Tickle Me Elmo
Tickle Me Elmo is a doll that says “That tickles!” when its tummy is squeezed and ‘tickled.’ Tickling the doll three consecutive times will make it laugh and shake continuously. In 1996, the toy was named as the Hottest Toy of the Year.
Barbie’s Dream House
The modest yet hip Barbie’s dream house came to being in 1962. It was originally made of cardboard foldout but through time, it has evolved into an elegant three-story mansion complete with a working elevator, a spacious garage and a swimming pool. This house is also fully-furnished with song playing intercom, stove, living room, dining room and bedroom furniture; and appliances.
NERF Ball was introduced by Parker Brothers in 1970 as the world’s first indoor ball. Characterized by its original non-expanding recreational foam, this ball became one of the best selling toys of the 1970’s. Around four million of this toy ball were sold by the end of its first year on the market.
Super Soaker is a water gun that fires water through manually pressurized air inside the toy. Because of its popularity, the term Super Soaker was generally used for all types of pressurized water guns. Up to now, the toy is still manufactured and sold in the market by the toy company Hasbro under the Nerf brand.
Created by Carter Bryant and MGA Entertainment, Bratz are dubbed as anti-Barbie dolls. They are sexy tween girls known for their glittery makeup, style and huge eyes. They are among the most popular dolls of the 20th century and have become a huge hit since they were launched. Millions of Bratz have already been sold in the market since their creation.