Toys and Games History - Flashback
Toys and games are used as instruments of entertainment for both men and women. The oldest toy is believed to be 4000 years old. Throughout centuries, toys have changed but their purposes remain the same. Discover the long and interesting history of toys and games below.
Toys were in existence before civilization came along. Excavated tombs that belonged to people who lived hundreds of years ago often contain toys made up of clay and sticks. However, toys became widespread means of entertainment in the 14th and 15th centuries when people started treating children as human beings who deserved entertainment and proper learning.
Early Toys – 17th Century
The early toys were made of natural materials like stones, wax, grass and sticks. Marbles, one of the earliest toys known to man, has been discovered in Egyptian tombs. It is estimated to be more than 4000 years old. The marbles were made of stones and clay. Children played with dolls made of wax and sticks in Ancient Greece. Grass was fixed on the dolls using wax to represent hair.
Dolls, stick horses, kites and puzzles were made during this era. The dolls were made of wood. One piece of wood was curved to have the head and the body. Also this period there was emergence of train toys as railway was being built.
Technological advancement and industrialization saw the improvement of toy production. During this period, the use paper to make specific types of toys increased. The production of jigsaws increased during the 19th century although it had been introduced earlier on.
Early 20th century
More advanced toys were made due to scientific discoveries. The production of cars had just begun and they were being used as inspirations for toys. Cars were inspiration to the toy- makers. The first car toys were first created during this period.
In Germany, Steiff produced the first teddy bear doll. The name teddy came from the then American President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt. The American president got the nickname after he refused to shoot a baby bear while hunting. The name teddy bear became very popular in America. As a result, teddy bear toys were produced in America.
During the World War I, Elastolin and Lineol made toys that depicted the war situation. The toys were soldier toys and gun toys. They were popular among teenage boys and young men more than girls and women.
The 1920s and 1930s saw the production of cartoons as a result of increased merchandising. In 1923, Grace Storey Putnam designed the By-Lo Doll. The doll represented a 3- days old infant. In 1937, Panda Bear toy was introduced in America. This was after Panda Bear from China was introduced in Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.
The World War II saw the production of weapons. Toy makers used this as inspiration to make toy guns. In the 1950s, television and radio became part of family entertainment. This led to creation of cartoons. Toys during this period were gender specific. There were toys for boys and toys for girls. In 1959, Barbie doll was made by Mattel. The Barbie doll depicted fashion and style for teenage girls. Boys played with toys such as electronic trains.
The 1960s saw the production of toy trolls and twister toys. In 1964, the Hasbro Toy Company made the G.I Joe. G.I. Joe was a soldier doll of a man and was designed to depict action figure. Mattel also produced Hot Wheels in the 1960s. The Hot Wheels was a popular car toy among male children.
Late 20th century
In the 1970s, there was production of Skateboarding and Hungry Hippos. Turtles Ninja was first produced in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. It first appeared in an American Comic Book that was published by Mirage Studios. In the mid-1980s, Hasbro Toy Company produced the Transformers toy line. Transformers changed how people viewed toys. They were uniquely different from G.I. Joe in terms of shape and appearance. This increased their popularity throughout the world. Wayner produced the Beanie Babies in 1994. Other popular toys that made in the 1990s include, Roller Blading, Tickle Me Elmo and Rescue Heroes.
The 21st century has seen the advancement of electronic toys. In this era, children access digital devices at tender age. Toy makers create toys that are inspired by children desires, talents and intelligence.