Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Did You Know Tuesday - Tinkertoy

Do you remember Tinkertoy building sets?   I loved art related toys, but was not a huge fan of building toys as a child.  That said, when I played with building toys, I liked Tinkertoy the best.  This is a simple building set with little wheels and sticks in varying sizes.  I liked the wooden pieces and the bright colors.

This toy was invented in 1914 in Evanston, Illinois by Charles H. Pajeau, Robert Pettit, and Gordon Tinker.  Charles Pajeau saw children playing with wooden spools and sticks, and got the idea for this classic toy.  

The toy was originally marketed in Chicago with elaborate Tinkertoy displays, including a ferris wheel made of Tinkertoys.  Another Christmas display featured actors dressed as elves playing with this toy.

The sets originally sold for 60¢ with the name Thousand Wonder Builder.  Tinkertoys were packaged in a tube to reduce mailing costs.

2.5 million sets had been sold by 1918 -- in just four years.  This was a tremendously popular toy in the 1960's, when 2.5 million Tinkertoy sets sold yearly. 

The early sets were uncolored wood.  Red spools were added in 1932.  In 1953, red sticks were added, and in 1955 green, yellow, and blue sticks were also introduced.

This toy was added to the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.  It is considered a classic toy, still made in both wooden and plastic versions.

This ad is from 1964, during the heydey of Tinkertoy popularity.   Did you play with Tinkertoys?  What was your favorite building toy as a child?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.


Shann Eva said...

I used to love Tinkertoys too. They've started remaking them, but they are not as cool as the original. They are now plastic, which doesn't seem as fun at all.

Beth said...

I liked Tinkertoys when I was growing up, but preferred Legos or my sister's Lincoln Log set. My kids have enjoyed Tinkertoys very much, but I wish they had had wooden ones instead of the plastic ones.

Birdhouse Books said...

Thanks so much for stopping by! I agree completely about the wooden Tinkertoys -- much more durable.