We all have memories of the favorite toys of our childhood. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s I fondly recall favorite toys like My Little Ponies and Cabbage Patch Dolls. I prayed for a Go-Go Walking Pup to appear under the tree on Christmas morning. My sisters and I collected troll dolls and tried to beat each other’s records with our Skip-Its. Every year there are hot toy trends that turn into passing fads, like Beanie Babies and Tickle Me Elmo’s. But for some classic toys, their popularity has persisted through the decades.
On a recent trip to The Please Touch Museum, where I had previously enjoyed the work by local artists, I browsed through their extensive toy collection spanning from the 1920’s up to modern times. I was interested to see what favorite toys featured are still made and played with today. For those that have stood the test of time, I was specifically interested in comparing their original places of manufacture with their current country of origin. I have already discovered several toy companies still making products in the USA. Classics like the Slinky, Wiffle Ball and Crayola crayons all remain American made. Here are some of the more interesting made in USA finds from the museum.
Candy Land,1960 by Milton Bradley (now owned by Hasbro). Still made in USA today, along with a large portion of modern board games.
Lincoln Logs, 1920’s, originally manufactured by the son of Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago. Now owned by K’Nex, who does have many products made in USA, but Lincoln Logs are now made in China.
Rock-A-Stack, 1982, by Fisher Price. Made in USA until 1999, now made in Mexico and under recently under scrutiny for cases of ink coming off in babies’ mouths.
Pull-A-Tune, 1957, also by Fisher Price. Originally American made, now made in China.
Little Princess Sewing Machine, 1930, Hoge Manufacturing Company. American made, now no longer in existence (can you say safety hazard?)
The Walking Piano, 1987, American made by local Philadelphia artist Remo Saraceni. Took off after it was featured in the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks. Could not find information about its current manufacturing.
Hi-Lo American Safety Blocks, by Halsam. All wood blocks where American made until they were bought by Play Skool in 1962. Production ended in 1970.
Cities Services Towing Service, 1930, by Marx. Once sold in Sear’s Christmas catalogs, the company manufactured toy trains, cars and building sets from 1919-1978. Their last factory was closed in 1979 as their popularity waned as electronic toys came on the scene.
What were your favorite toys growing up? Do you know if they were America made? What toys do you consider to be classics that have been enjoyed for decades? Do you think more toy will be made in USA once again?