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National Toy Hall of Fame in New York

Updated on October 10, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years of successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (CAP).

Marionette puppets
Marionette puppets | Source

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.”

A
One Manhattan Square; Rochester, NY 14607:
1 Manhattan Square Drive, Rochester, NY 14607, USA

get directions

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)

"Bullroarer" whizzing stick from 1892, very popular in 19th Century, but not in the Hall of Fame.
"Bullroarer" whizzing stick from 1892, very popular in 19th Century, but not in the Hall of Fame.

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.

"Buzzer", not in the Hall of Fame.
"Buzzer", not in the Hall of Fame.

Materials Other Than Metal and Plastic Used in Toys

WOOD

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.

POTATOES

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.

CARDBOARD (?)

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?

TREE BRANCHES

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:

Tin Cans

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

The Hill

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.

Pogo Stick

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.

Extreme Pogo!

Paper Chains

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

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...

See results

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 MS

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    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      7 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Patty....Such a wealth of great TOY info! Interesting read. One vote for PAPER DOLLS and 1 vote up for you!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Kelly - That might be a good idea. Let us know how it goes.

    • profile image

      KellyEngaldo 

      8 years ago

      I was considering marketing my fitness tool to the "toy" market. You gave me a fresh perspective. Thank you very much - brand new information to me.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      That IS funny.

      How about rolling them down the airplane aisle when highjackers are standing in it? Maybe they'd fall over them.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Patty the stores probably do not carry marbles anymore because no-one want to buy any anymore... I think it was at a dollar store that I saw some in little green pouches...hmmm I'm almost sure it was...will check next week when I go into town. Now using them as a weapon??? funny pictures keep floating in my mind here...cause of death an Agate Mumbo or Alley to the middle of the forehead...

      funny

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Zsuzsy - Do you think some kids today would throw marbles for weapons? I have not found them in stores here for two years. Managers say they don't carry them anymore. :(

      With advanced virtual reality goggles, I think you don't have to move at all! Wii is good for exercising without a lot of bulky machines, but it does remove imagination.

      I still like marbles, just can't find any; except a friend gave me some :)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Patty what a great idea for a hub. We just had a "discussion" about toys with some friends at a dinner party. The WII or whatever it's called came up for discussion. My goodness there is nothing left for children's imaginations to kick in.

      I bet if you were to give a today's child a bag of marbles the first thing they would look for would be an on and off button...

      Your hub brought back a lot of forgotten memories

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Lisa Luv profile image

      Lisa J Warner AKA Lisa Luv 

      9 years ago from Conneticut, USA

      GREAT JOB!

    • Lisa Luv profile image

      Lisa J Warner AKA Lisa Luv 

      9 years ago from Conneticut, USA

      I love this article! It brings back such memories & is so Informative- I also love the catogorism in which you wrote it! Thank You! Happy Friday!

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Hi Patty, I see I'm with the majority on paper dolls. Such a fun hub going down memory lane.

    • Itswritten profile image

      Itswritten 

      9 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Marbles , before toys were made we had are minds.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I think Hula Hoop made it in the first year or so. But the old hoop and stick never did.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 

      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      Oh, I enjoyed reading this. I remember pogo sticks! How about hula hoops? Those were a rage at one time. This was a really cool walk down memory land. Thanks!

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      I wasn't surpised at the toys that were in it, but certainly didn't know that there was a hall of fame for them.

    • jim10 profile image

      jim10 

      9 years ago from ma

      My favorite was that last year they added the stick. That seemed crazy but, every kid picks up and plays with sticks.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      9 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thanks for a very interesting hub on National toy hall of fame. Thank s for sharing with us. creativeone59

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      If this Toys topic had not come up, I'd have never looked for the Hall of Fame. It was fun to do.

    • dusanotes profile image

      dusanotes 

      9 years ago from Windermere, FL

      I had no idea there was a hall of fame for toys. Thanks

      Don White

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      That was always fun, wasn't it?

    • profile image

      Nelle Hoxie 

      9 years ago

      Your hub broght back a lot of happy memories. I loved my slinky especially when it walked up and down the stairs.

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