Have we lost our children in a hypnotic video game trance? Have they become “drones” to the “video age”?
Sometimes it may seem that way as many children spend hour upon hour in front of a video screen, pressing buttons or jockeying around a joystick. But it is up to the parents of children to say enough, let’s find some educational alternatives. However, it wasn’t that long ago when we were kids….we had real toys….classic toys.
Let’s step into a time tunnel of sorts and recall some of the fascinating toys that we had the pleasure of playing with:
Ahh..Tinker Toys..rods, sticks, spools, spokes..simple, but a true classic toy invented in 1914 by Charles Pajeau, who was a stonemason by trade from Evanston, Illinois. He was inspired by children playing with pencils, sticks and empty spools of thread to create his new toy. He saw them improvising and using their imaginations and wondered if improve upon what they were doing. He designed his first set of Tinker Toys in his garage and displayed them in 1914 at the American Toy Fair.
Alas, his Tinker Toys drew no interest. So he tried again, this time at Christmas time, but with a new marketing plan. Pajeau hired several midgets and had them dress in elf costumes. He then had them “play” with the Tinker Toys” in a store display window in a Chicago department store and with this publicity a new toy was born. After a year or so, over one million sets of Tinker Toys had been sold!
Notched redwood logs that could be used to construct log cabins, Lincoln Logs were the invention of John Lloyd Wright, son of famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. The inter locking logs, invented in 1916, were fashioned after the foundation of Tokyo’s earthquake-proof Imperial Hotel, which the younger Wright witnessed being constructed.
During the World War I era, it was in vogue to encourage American patriotism and for American’s to buy American made products, thus the new toy was named after one of our most revered presidents, Abraham Lincoln.
The original sets sold very well and became even more popular with the introduction of television to the United States. In fact, Lincoln Logs were among the first toys to be advertised and promoted on television. Capitalizing on the popularity of westerns in early television, Lincoln Logs were successful promoted on 1953’s Pioneer Playhouse.
Today, Lincoln Logs are still available and have stood the test of time. As a matter of fact, as late as 1975, Lincoln Logs were still selling at a rate of one million sets per year. A sophisticated toy, it challenges youngsters to use their imagination and improve hand-eye coordination skills.