Play-Doh before it was known as Play-Doh, was actually used as cleaner for walls and wallpaper when coal was used to heat homes. After WWII coal was phased out by natural gas to heat homes. Near bankruptcy, the company pivoted to become one of the most successful toy companies in the world.
In 2015 “Hello Barbie” was released. She used speech recognition and connected to wifi. When you pressed her belt buckle, Barbie saved what you said to the cloud so she could learn your likes and dislikes and incorporate them into future conversations. Some parents found it “too creepy”.
The craze for collecting toy soldiers began with the French in the 18th century. When Napoleon Bonaparte planned his military campaigns, he used models made by Lucotte, a toy soldier maker, to show the positions of his armies. One day he handed a few of the figures over to his son to play with.
Toddlers play more creatively when they have fewer toys at their disposal.
The Slinky was invented by accident, when a Mechanical Engineer was working to devise springs that could keep sensitive ship equipment steady at sea. After accidentally knocking some samples off a shelf, he watched in amazement as they gracefully “walked” down instead of falling.
The U.S. has 3.1% of the world’s children, but consumes 40% of the world’s toys.
In the 1960s, Wham-O made a “giant” Super Ball, roughly the size of a bowling ball, and dropped it from a 23rd story window as a promotional stunt. It destroyed a parked car on the second bounce.
In May 1997, Mattel introduced Share a Smile Becky, a doll in a pink wheelchair. A 17-year-old high school student with cerebral palsy pointed out the doll wouldn’t fit in the elevator of Barbie’s Dream House. Mattel announced it would redesign the house in the future to accommodate the doll.
There is a stuffed animal hospital that cleans and repairs beloved stuffed animals and dolls. The toys are called patients, shipped in an ambulance box, and returned wearing a hospital bracelet with their name.