Classic Toys: Green Army Men

Retro Staff 2 Comments

Green Army Men have been an American classic for generations, and nearly every American boy has engaged in creative play with them at one time or another. Inspired by American troops from WWII through the Korean War, these green plastic figures have been a favorite toy for children since the 1950s.

Green Army Men

Also called toy soldiers, toy army men figures were first made by Bergen Toy & Novelty Co. in 1938. The design was based on metal figures, and they were initially painted to resemble metal counterparts. After WWI, Bergen modified the figures to bear the WWII type helmet. They were packaged and sold unpainted, typically in drab green to resemble the US Army uniforms. Other colors produced over the years include tan and brown.

Army men figures were commonly sold in clear bags, but were also available in kits with other accessories. With the production of plastic figures so inexpensive, during the ’60s one could buy them for as little as a penny each. Prices skyrocketed during the early ’70s, primarily due to the 1973 oil crisis.

The design of these figures inspired similar sets, such as cowboys & Indians and paratroopers, as well as other product types, like bookends and candle holders.

Did you play with green army men as a kid?

Last updated: Dec 05, 2009
Filed under: Classic Toys, Toys of the '50s Tagged with: Classic Toys