Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Did You Know Tuesday: Play-Doh

Play-Doh was invented in the 1930's by Noah McVicker in Cincinnati.  He worked for Kroger to invent a product that was originally marketed as wallpaper cleaner.  Noah McVicker worked with his nephew, Joe McVicker, to market this product.  The early product was off white and came in a 1.5 pound package.

In the 1950's everything changed when children in a nursery school discovered how much fun Play-Doh was to play with - as modeling clay.  In 1956 the McVickers formed the Rainbow Crafts Company.  The early working name for this toy was Kutol’s Rainbow Modeling Compound.   Thankfully, it was renamed with something cute and catchy: Play-Doh. 

By 1957 Play-Doh was made in three primary colors.  It was originally sold in one gallon cans and purchased for school use.  Play-Doh was sold at Macy's and Marshall Fields.  Play-Doh commercials appeared on popular children's shows, including Captain Kangaroo.

Pictured below, a mid-1950's advertisement:

In the 1960's, Play-Doh was purchased by General Mills and manufactured for Kenner.  The Play-Doh brand expanded with toys as well as modeling dough.   I had one of the Fun Factory sets and loved it.  This ad is from 1968:

The original Play-Doh mascot was Play-Doh Pete, a little boy in a beret.  Over the years the mascot changed, and he eventually wore a baseball cap.

This 1970's ad gives another glimpse at retro toy marketing:

Play-Doh is now made by Hasbro.  It is still loved by children, and over 100 million cans are sold yearly.  This popular crafting toy even has its own special day - September 16.

Did you love Play-Doh as a child?  Any retro Play-Doh memories to share?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.


Becky Ginther said...

Interesting! I think every kid loved play doh. I got in big trouble once for getting dinner bright red play doh on the carpet, haha.

Erin @ Love Peace Beauty said...

Wow this is an awesome "throw-back" post! I learned something new! My toddler loves play-doh and I really enjoy playing with him, brings back childhood memories!

Unknown said...

For me, it's the smell of Play-Doh. Very distinct. I made sure my son had plenty of Play-Doh for me...uh..him to play with.

Birdhouse Books said...

Thanks for the visits -- yes, I also remember the very distinctive smell of Play-Doh. (Up there with crayons!)

Anonymous said...

The only thing I wanted for Christmas in 1968 was a Play-doh fun factory! My mom bought me one...wrapped it and hid it under her bed with a "From Santa" tag on it. I couldn't yet read...but I sneaked under her bed and as carefully as a 6 year old could, opened one end of the wrapping paper and peeked in. Yes it was the fun factory!!! I tucked the paper back in to hide my break in!! My mom figured out I had peeked and she wrapped a different present with the same paper in the same size box. I rushed to the tree Christmas morning and tore off the paper and exclaimed...what
happened to the fun factory? My cover was blown...I had to confess peeking. After letting my confession sink in a little bit...my mom gave me another box...it was the fun factory! Loved that toy...played with it all the time...ahh the smell of play-doh. And I never peeked again!!!

Birdhouse Books said...

That is a great story!! And I'm glad you got the Play-Doh Fun Factory you were looking for! - Trish