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Some of the simplest toys from the ’40s to ’70s were created totally by accident. Others were spinoffs of non-related products. Many of these have stood the test of time, however, proving that simpler can be better. Learn the history of your favorite vintage toys, and find out where they are today.

“SLINKY” Springs to Fame – Popular Science (1946)

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Here’s a 1946 page from Popular Science spotlighting the Slinky toy. It’s always interesting to read vintage copy: Given an initial shove, “Slinky” eerily and deliberately flip-flops end over end down a flight of steps. It is simply a spring, but it does stunts that made R. P. James, Philadelphia engineer, think of converting it

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Filed under: Classic Toys, Retro Library, Retro Museum Tagged with: Classic Toys

The Nose Flute

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There are few who can whistle real music through their noses. For the rest of us, there’s the nose flute – also called a nose whistle or a Humanatone. This single-piece instrument relies on rhythmic breathing through the nose while maintaining or fluctuating the opening of the mouth. This simple, classic gem isn’t to be

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Mickey & Donald Friction Toys

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Who could resist these Marx Toys friction toys featuring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck? These toys date to the 1950s-1960s. The toys stand about 4″ high and use a German-made friction motor. Friction toys are driven by springs – the spring is wound when the wheels are pushed backwards across a high-friction surface (like carpet

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Filed under: Classic Toys Tagged with: Classic Toys, Disney

Silly TV: Classic Silly Putty Commercials

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When marketing consultant Peter Hodgson risked $147 of borrowed money to introduce a bouncing putty to the world, his target audience was adults. As that market dwindled, it was kids lifting newsprint that made him shift gears. The once-failed product that was created in hopes to help the war effort turned into a multi-million dollar

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Begging for a Tobor…

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It was 1978 and this little girl was begging for a cheap hunk of plastic that used loud noises and a remote control to operate. It was Tobor – the slogan will forever be imprinted in my mind, “tobor is robot spelled backward”. I have fond memories of decorating my little black robot with accompanying

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Filed under: Classic Toys Tagged with: Retro Toys, Robots

Mr. Potato Head’s 60th Birthday

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Nearly every American toddler will inevitably become acquainted with Mr. Potato Head, either by owning one or through exposure to our popular culture. Thanks to his appearance in Pixar’s “Toy Story” movies, Mr. Potato has become a highly recognizable pop icon. And 2012 marks Hasbro’s 60th birthday celebration of Mr. Potato Head’s introduction into the

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Wyandotte Toy Truck

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This is a beautifully restored Wyandotte Truck. Wyandotte pressed metal toys were manufactured by the All Metal Products Company, which was in business from 1920 to 1957. They mass-produced inexpensive, yet high quality metal toys, chiefly from scrap metal leftover from automobile manufacturing. The Wyandotte name, used as a brand name for their trucks and

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