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National Toy Hall of Fame in New York
A Compelling Collection of Toys in New York
Writing about the Ohio Art Company and their toys of past and present caused me to wonder about toy museums and related halls of fame in America.
I wondered about American pioneer toys and some of the toys and gadgets I have seen in collections at the Center for Science and Industry in Columbus and Toledo, Ohio on many visits. The toy banks that featured movement and entertainment upon inserting a coin were also fun to see.
I found the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play in New York.
Their mission and philosophy has to do with learning, creativity, and discovery, which are not offered to all children either in the US or globally. Sometimes, children are consumed by the work of sheer survival. In writing this Hub, I wish every child everywhere these delights - even those that are over 100 years old.
Strong National Museum of Play®
- One Manhattan Square; Rochester, NY 14607; Phone: 585-263-2700
Founded in 1968, this establishment was originality the “Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum of Fascination.”
The National Toy Hall of Fame
A Century of Toys
In 2016, the Toy Industry Association, Inc. became 100 years old. In 1916, it was called the "Toy Manufacturers of the USA" and acted as a sort of work guild as well as a collection of toys.
Toy Industry Human Hall of Fame
Rochester's Strong Museum also recognizes individual toy designers and inventors in a separate hall of fame of their own.
The 2017 individual candidates include:
- Thomas Chan: Chairman & CEO, Playmates Toys Inc.
- Peter Eio: Former President, LEGO Systems, Inc.
- Stan Lee: Former Chairman, Marvel Comics (Spider Man)
Vintage Toys and New Ideas
From 1998 to 2016, 51 toys were added and honored by the National Toy Hall of Fame for their long-term popularity and their effectiveness in creativity, discovery, and learning.
If you would like to nominate a toy for this distinction, you can do so at their website at the link provided below. In fact, Raggedy Ann was added to the Hall of Fame in 2002 after a full year of campaigning for that honor by her fans.
In submitting my article on Ohio Art Company, I found that many people love Etch A Sketch and Slinky better than any other toys. In the National Toy Hall of Fame, they were honored in the respective years of 1998/99 with another of my favorites, Lincoln Logs; and 2000.
Toy Memorial for Sandy Hook
Several families of the children who perished in the Sandy Hook Elementary School disaster of December 2012 donated their children's already purchased Christmas presents to a charity like Toys for Tots or to a serviceman's families or a needy families in their neighborhoods to honor their children's lives.
Some people in my city donated toys to remember the Connecticut children as well. In 2013, they donated additional toys to the memory of the lost children and adults.
Materials Other Than Metal and Plastic Used in Toys
Speaking of pioneer days, do you remember those wooden alphabet blocks that children played with long ago - they're plastic or soft sculpture today? They made it into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
Have any of you played with Mr. Potato Head®? The toy is plastic now, but once, it was a box of plastic parts that you stuck into a real potato. Children cried when their mothers threw out those rotten potatoes. Our potato friend was added to the Hall of Fame in 2000.
Kids often like to lay in the boxes left over from Christmas and birthday gifts. Cats and dogs like them as well. For all these reasons, the simple cardboard box was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
What would extraterrestrial xeno-archeologists think if they found these 1,000 years hence?
If cardboard boxes can be in the Hall of Fame, then why not "Log" from Ren and Stimpy?
The "stick" was accepted into the Hall of Fame in 2008 on the basis of being free-of-charge and able to stimulate the imagination.
Hall of Fame Wannabes
From watching reruns of the Twilight Zone and old movies from the 1930s and 1940s, I see some toys that have been forgotten when it comes to the Hall of Fame. While not only the list of nominees for 2009, perhaps these can be considered in the future:
Two tin cans and a string make a great telephone for kids! However, in the early 20th Century, children played Kick the Can. This was recreated in a Twilight Zone episode in which the inmates of a retirement home became young again one night. They played this game with relish. They played another game, which leads me to
Kids used to love King of the Hill. It is the ultimate green game today, using nature. As a bt of trivia, a cartoon series of the same name set in Texas is very popular.
I don't know why this toy is not included in the Hall of Fame alongside the Radio Flyer Wagon (1998/99). After all, Pogo was a long loved comic strip, both political and funny - "We have seen the enemy and he is us."
The pogo stick has been around since at least 1919, when a gentleman named George Hansburg developed a stronger jumping stick than those imported by Gimbel Department Store. Gimbel's had approached George for help after their shipment of wooden sticks rotted on the way over from Europe.
The result was a stronger model that created a fad among adults as well as children. In the Roaring Twenties, while college men were stuffing themselves into phone booths and swallowing goldfish for something to do as a game, they were also jumping around on pogo sticks. People got married on them. Dance troops did whole shows around them. It was a time of fads and pogo was one of them.
Kids make paper chains to hang on the Christmas tree or to hang around their classrooms and bedrooms any time of year. There is a lot of relaxation to be had from cutting colorful strips of construction paper and pasting them together into interminable chains. You can also use them to tie up your friends without hurting them! If Crayola Crayons were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998/99, then why not Construction Paper and its Paper Chains? While we're at it...
How to Make a Paper Toy Chain Without Glue or Tape
Paper Dolls have been around since at least the 1800s and likely previous to that. Whether cut from whole paper or purchased with "clothes" in booklet format, these toys have brought thousands of hours of creative play and enjoyment to children.
Watercolor Paint Set
This must be the next most popular art medium for kids next to Crayola Crayons.
Give Us Your Thoughts
Nominations for the National Toy Hall of Fame Should Include...
Hall of Fame Toys Inducted in the 2010s
Playing Cards - 2010
The Blanket and The Dollhouse and Hot Wheels - 2011
Dominoes and Star Wars Action Figures - 2012
Chess (the game) and Rubber Duck - 2013
Rubik's Cube - 2014
Super Soaker - 2015
© 2009 Patty Inglish