Beginning in the 19th century, wealthier parents would pass toys on to poorer children. "Those who could afford it purchased toys from street vendors, although more and more of these were driven into open or covered markets by the end of the century. Street vendors sold cheap toys for a penny or less. At the beginning of Victoria's reign these were predominantly wooden and included dolls, dolls' furniture, horses, carts, skipping ropes, spinning and humming tops.
"The latter half of the century saw an increase in the production of cheap tin toys, some of them mechanical. Many were made in Birmingham, often using cheap child labor. Many Victorian children never had any bought toys but played using their imagination and whatever props were available. Shaping mud into pies, chasing, and clapping games have been played for centuries and are still played in school playgrounds today."
In the late 19th century the Crying Baby Doll was introduced. It came with a bellow, that when squeezed, made the doll sound like it was crying.
The 20th century saw the advancement in transportation and we saw that toys represented that change with toy trolleys, automobiles and airplanes.
So let's look at some of the toys that became popular during each decade of the 20th century. The following does not include all of the toys from each era, but does include the cost of each, which really has changed and/or increased with each decade.
The 1920s not only saw the introduction of the Teddy Bear, it also saw the creation of the Raggedy Ann Doll and Crayola Crayons.
Colombia 3 Wheel Velocipedes from $8.98 - These "tricycles" ran on 3 wheels with bicycle bell, adjustable handlebars, and padded leather seat with coil springs.
Tinker Toy - $1.75 - Set contained wooden sticks and spools to build things - this toy no longer available.
Erector Set 98 cents to $9.98 - Still around today that tells us that child development and kids making things with their hands was as strong and important as it is today.
Flossy Flirt Doll - $1.98 - $4.98 - This doll said, "Ma Ma," rolled flirty eyes and closed eyes when she went to sleep.
Toy Cars 23 cents to 59 cents - Cast iron cars for boys.
Olympic Flyer Wagon - $4.98 - All steel red pull along wagon, 33 inches long, 14 inches wide with pull handle.
Marbles 19 cents - Clay marbles. Imported glass marbles cost nearly ten times as much for each marble.
Boys Bicycle - $15.75 - Two wheeler steel frame with triple coil. Saddle Springs in red enamel.
Stick Horse 59 cents - For little girls rider would command with "giddy up."
The 1930s were the inverse of the 1920s in terms of prosperity. With the onset of the depression, a lot of the ingenuity of the past couple of decades in toy design was sidelined.
Stereoscope 98 cents - Hundreds of thousands were sold. Collectors can still find these in good shape.
Children's Dial Typewriter - $1.98 - Allowed a child to type a letter in all uppercase with a space bar it held a nine-inch wide paper.
Dolls - $1.39 - Betsy Wetsy drank water through a bottle and wet her diaper.
Doll House with Furniture - $1.77 - Complete dollhouse and furniture for seven rooms more than 40 pieces for all rooms.
Lincoln Logs 89 cents - Fifty-three logs in the set.
40 inch Wooden Snow Sled - $1.25 - Built super strong and designed for strength and speed.
Shirley Temple Doll - $1.98 - This doll was every little girls heroine, and the cost included a Shirley Temple book, movie badge and an autographed photo free with each doll.
Texas Ranger Cowboy Suit - $4.49 - Included everything such as headband, shirt, bandana, lasso, leather belt, holster, toy pistol, and real swade chaps.
Flying Balsa Wood Plane 59 cents - Strong elastic band to wind up and make it fly. When it crashed it fell to pieces but could just be put together again.
The 1940s - With the onset of another World War and the heavy lift in factory output and the boom in Hollywood, just about everything in the world was starting to specialize a little bit more.
Gilbert Electric Train Set - $29.95 plus $5.98 for 150-watt transformer. Train was five feet long.
Portable Electric Phonograph - $5.75 - Included six records of nursery rhymes
Walnut Finished Piano in Spinet Style - $8.85 - Piano was 22 inches high, 19 inches wide, and 13 inches deep.
Enameled Steel Truck - $1.59 - Two feet long brightly enameled rugged truck.
Army Doctor/Nurses Kit - $1.98 - Quote on the kit "Every little boy can play a doctor and every little girl can play a nurse."
World War II Model Plane Kit - $1.00 for all five planes - Cut them out and put them together.
Pull Along Walking Dog - $1.29 - Dog waggled along behind like a real puppy with fascinating leg action.
Farm Yard Set - $2.98
56 pieces set included barn, animals, tractor, fences, farmhouse and more.
The 1950s saw the spark the market was looking for that of television.
Deluxe Junior Steering Wheel - $2.79 - Every youngster wanted to help "drive" daddy's car. This 10-inch molded plastic wheel with rubber shaft let a child do that. Had a three-position gearshift lever and a horn that "beeped." Suction cup held firmly to any smooth surface.
Happi-Time Camera - $1.59 - Took 12 pictures on standard 127 film.
Alice in Wonderland Watch (US time) - $7.65 - It's Alice herself just as she appeared in Walt Disney movie on the dial of an extra small watch. Dainty pink fabric strap. Watch packed in a teacup with scenes of the March Hare's Tea Party.
Pepsi Cola Truck - $1.59 - Replica of delivery truck with two shelves holding six miniature dummy plastic cases of Pepsi with molded-in bottled.
Tweedie Singing Bird in Cage - $2.67 - Pretty bird trilled a merry tune as he swung to and fro on a perch. Included two feeding cups and a ring on top for hanging.
Mr. Potato Head - $1 - Used fruit or vegetable to create amusing characters by changing plastic feature.
Chatty Cathy Doll $9.95 spoke one of 11 random phrases, such as "I love you," when a ring connected to a phonograph record inside was pulled.
Dick Tracy Siren Squad Car - $1.89 - Siren wailed, and light flashed as it speeded to the crime. Lithographed steel depicted Dick Tracy, Pat and Sam Catchem in the windows.
Lone Ranger Guitar - $3.98 - Large size, six-string guitar decorated like a cowboy. Rich professional tone, wide shoulder cord and instructions for playing and tuning.
Milton Bradley Games 98 cents each
Six games included: Forest Friends, Annie Oakley, Mr. Bug, Treasure Island, Raggedy Ann and Sergeant Preston.
(continued next week)