The baby boomer generation is a clear demarcation between traditional toys and modern toys. The advent of plastics and new manufacturing techniques after World War II contributed to a robust and growing toy industry. With the explosion of television, toys started being advertised on TV to target children directly as we moved toward becoming a nation of consumers.
Barbie - 1959
Barbie launched in March 1959 by Mattel. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the doll's creation using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration.
Mattel has sold over a billion Barbie dolls, making it the company's largest and most profitable line. Barbie is the figurehead of a brand of Mattel dolls and accessories, including other family members and collectible dolls. For over fifty years Barbie has been a pop-culture icon and has been the subject of numerous controversies, often involving parodies.
Barbie is the number one best selling toy in history.
GI Joe - 1964
Hasbro marketed the first G.I. Joe as a lifelike “action soldier,” consciously eschewing the word doll despite the fact that the original G.I. Joe was 12 inches (30 cm) tall, was poseable, and featured interchangeable outfits and accessories—all traits consistent with Mattel’s popular Barbie doll. G.I. Joe was at first a great commercial success, but sales declined as support for the Vietnam War waned. In 1969 Hasbro responded by reimagining “America’s Movable Fighting Man” as “G.I. Joe Adventure Teams.”
GI Joe is the seventh best selling toy in history.
Lite Brite - 1967
Lite-Brite is a toy that was originally marketed in 1967. It consists of a lightbox with small colored plastic pegs that fit into a panel and illuminate to create a lit picture, by either using one of the included templates or creating a "freeform" image on a blank sheet of black paper. There are eight peg colors: red, blue, orange, white, green, yellow, pink, and violet.
Easy-Bake Oven - 1963
The Easy-Bake Oven is a working toy oven that Kenner introduced in 1963, and which Hasbro still manufactured as of late May 2017. The original toy used a pair of ordinary incandescent light bulbs as a heat source; current versions use a true heating element. Kenner sold 500,000 Easy-Bake Ovens in the first year of production. By 1997, more than 16 million Easy-Bake Ovens (in 11 models) had been sold.
The Easy-Bake Oven is the third best selling toy in history.
Hot Wheels - 1968
Hot Wheels is a brand of die-cast toy cars introduced by American toy maker Mattel in 1968. It was the primary competitor of Matchbox until 1997, when Mattel bought Tyco Toys, then-owner of Matchbox.
Hot Wheels are the eight best selling toy in history.
Lego - 1958
Whether you built the tallest tower or the most complicated machinery, most children will play with Lego at some point in their lives. And from what we've gathered - adults love any excuse to get back to it!
Lego came to us from Denmark and gets its name from the words "leg godt" meaning "play well". Founded in 1932 it has been passed on from generation to generation for over 80 years. The modern Lego brick design was patented on 28 January 1958.
Lego is the tenth best selling toy in history.
Rock'em Sock'em Robots - 1964
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots is a two-player action toy and game designed by Marvin Glass and Associates and was first manufactured by the Marx toy company in 1964. It features two dueling robot boxers, the Red Rocker and the Blue Bomber, mechanically manipulated by the players, and the game is won when one player knocks the head off of the opponent. The 2000s version of the game by Mattel features physically smaller robots.
Etch-a-Sketch - 1960
The Etch-A-Sketch was introduced near the peak of the Baby Boom on 12 July 1960 for $2.99 (equivalent to $25 in 2018). It went on to sell 600,000 units that year and is one of the best-known toys of that era. In 1998, it was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The Toy Industry Association named Etch-A-Sketch to its Century of Toys List, a roll call commemorating the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century. The Etch A Sketch has since sold over 100 million units worldwide.
Etch-a-Sketch is the ninth best selling toy in history.
Mouse Trap Game - 1963
Mouse Trap (originally titled Mouse Trap Game) is a board game first published by Ideal in 1963 for two to four players. The game was one of the first mass-produced, three-dimensional board games. Over the course of the game, players at first cooperate to build a working Rube Goldberg–like mousetrap. Once the mousetrap has been built, players turn against each other, attempting to trap opponents' mouse-shaped game pieces.
Spirograph - 1965
Spirograph is a geometric drawing toy that produces mathematical roulette curves of the variety technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids. It was developed by British engineer Denys Fisher and first sold in 1965.
The name has been a registered trademark of Hasbro Inc. since 1998 following purchase of the company that had acquired the Denys Fisher company. The Spirograph brand was relaunched worldwide with original product configurations in 2013 by Kahootz Toys.
Operation - 1965
Operation is a battery-operated game of physical skill that tests players' hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The game's prototype was invented in 1964 by John Spinello, a University of Illinois industrial design student at the time, who sold his rights to the game to renowned toy designer Marvin Glass for a sum of USD $500 and the promise of a job upon graduation (a promise that was not upheld). Initially produced by Milton Bradley in 1965, Operation is currently made by Hasbro, with an estimated franchise worth of USD $40 million.
Slip 'n Slide - 1961
The Slip ’N Slide is a toy manufactured by Wham-O, first introduced in 1961 after being invented by Robert Carrier. The toy is a long sheet of thin plastic, flanked lengthwise on one side by a heat-sealed tubular fold. The tube can be connected to any ordinary garden hose. Water runs through the tube and out small perforations, spraying onto the sliding surface. The Slip 'N Slide then becomes very slippery, enabling users to jump onto the plastic and slide the length of the sheet.
Battleship - 1967
Battleship is known worldwide as a pencil and paper game which dates from World War I. It was published by various companies as a pad-and-pencil game in the 1930s, and was released as a plastic board game by Milton Bradley in 1967. The game has spawned electronic versions, video games, smart device apps, and a film.
See 'N Say - 1965
In the 1960s, after introducing a line of talking dolls that said different phrases when a string protruding from their upper back was pulled, Mattel trademarked the word chatty. Several Mattel pull-string talking dolls and toys were packaged in boxes that read "A Chatty Toy" or "A Chatty Doll by Mattel". However, these dolls and toys spoke phrases at random when their "chatty ring" was pulled. See 'N Say, introduced in 1965, was the first Mattel talking toy that allowed children to choose the exact phrase they wanted to hear by adjusting a pointer on the toy's face to a particular item and pulling the "chatty ring."
Tumble Stones- 1969
Tumble Stones by Rapco is a 110V powered tumbler from the 1960s. The kit includes semiprecious stones and jewelry making supplies to make items such as earrings and necklaces. As with many of its other toys, Rapco would have this toy banned as a result of the 1971 Toy Safety Act, but future models were adapted to meet safety standards.
Fisher-Price Little People - 1960s
Fisher-Price has created approximately 5,000 different toys since the early 1930s. One of Fisher-Price’s best-known lines is Little People toys, which includes people and animal figures along with various play sets such as a house, farm, school, garage, and vehicles. The figures, which originally were wooden peg-style characters, are now molded of plastic and have detailed features.