Lindbergh Lands in Paris! Toy Industry Gears Up!

Lindbergh Lands in Paris! Toy Industry Gears Up!

When Charles Lindbergh made his famous New York to Paris flight from May 20 to 21, 1927, he became an overnight celebrity. Parisians mobbed Le Bourget airport immediately after his landing and even tore bits of souvenir fabric from the wings of The Spirit of St. Louis, his trusted airplane. But Lindbergh’s arrival back in the United States cemented his reputation as a true American hero, with a ticker-tape parade and his image as the first Time magazine “Man of the Year.” Two months later, Lindbergh published his first book, the autobiographical “We,” named for his nearly spiritual bond with his plane during the record-breaking flight. While Wall Street financiers scrambled to invest money into the aviation industry, the American public, juiced on jazz and optimism in the late 1920s, scrambled for a piece of Lucky Lindy. And like so many other manufacturers, toy and game producers hurried to answer America’s call.

Out of the Wild Blue Yonder

Out of the Wild Blue Yonder

For curators at the museum, some days feel just like Christmas. One day—out of the blue, appropriately—I received a phone call about a local collector with an extensive collection of toy airplanes and related playthings. Just the kind of thing that makes a curator’s day! When I met Seymour Merrall, I had no doubt about his…