When you hear about the 1950s, you probably think of a very different world than you experience in the 2020s. Humankind can attribute a lot to this decade that catapulted the world into our most essential modern technology. Fortunately, some things never change. Many toys invented in the 1950s are beloved by today’s children just as much as the first kids to play with them many years ago.
Barbie dolls were created in 1959, and they have been going strong ever since. Mattel has kept her fashion modern and exciting throughout the years, offering a wide variety of clothes and accessories. Also, you can enhance playtime even further with items such as Barbie’s Dreamhouse and other dolls like her best friend, Midge, and her little sister, Skipper. The most popular of these companions is Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken.
Colorforms kits were first brought onto the market in 1951. These simple playsets include reusable vinyl stickers and a smooth, colorful background scene. The background material is perfect for securing stickers to the scene, yet they can easily be removed and re-stuck repeatedly to create different fun pictures. These kits typically include famous cartoons such as one of the first Colorforms sets sold, the Popeye Cartoon Kit.
In 1956, one of the simplest yet most fun toys came onto the market. It wasn’t even intended as a toy at first but was created to be a substance for removing coal soot. Its creators discovered that it was much more valuable as a creative outlet for kids. This colorful, soft modeling “dough” is softer than typical modeling clay. However, it’s still sturdy enough to create configurations of all kinds. Soon, accessories like the Play-Doh Fun Factory were developed to provide children with more imaginative options for the ultimate creations.
People have always loved Tonka’s toy vehicles for their realistic play and toughness. Tonka’s first toy on the market was a pressed steel toy digger with a functioning “crane and clam.” Soon, the company expanded its line with pick-up trucks, construction equipment and other vehicles. Since its creation, the Mighty Dump Truck has been Tonka’s best-selling toy.
The idea for the Frisbee was initially formed when some Yale University students sailed Frisbie Baking Co. pie plates through the air for their friends to catch. They thought it fitting to yell, “Frisbie!” to warn of an incoming flying disc. The first creators in the late 1940s called their plastic design a Flying Saucer. Then, when Wham-O purchased the rights to the design in 1955, the company renamed the toy the Frisbee to honor its roots.
Matchbox cars were invented in England in 1953 by Lesney Products. These little die-cast cars have been collected and enjoyed throughout the years.
Mr. Potato Head
Mr. Potato Head began in 1952 as the Mr. Potato Head Funny-Face Kit. It included plastic face and body parts like today’s version but didn’t include the actual head. In the 1950s, children were challenged to use their creativity to supply their own head, using a fruit or vegetable. Inserting the parts would bring Mr. Potato Head to life as children created different looks and personalities.
The Hula Hoop was put on the market in 1958. One of the most simple toys ever invented, the colorful plastic ring is still a huge seller.
The LEGO brick was initially marketed in 1958. Since then, children have let their creativity soar to new heights. The LEGO patented stud and tube system is unique, allowing for sturdy construction of colorful bricks and accessories.
The 1950s certainly had a lasting impact on many aspects of today’s world. Even with all the high-tech toys available these days, toys developed during this decade remain some of the most popular.