Jackie Robinson: A First in Baseball and in Toys

Jackie Robinson: A First in Baseball and in Toys

Before the 1950s, American toy manufacturers avoided favorable illustrations of people of color on toys and their packaging. But the middle of the 20th century saw the beginnings of positive examples—toys that purposefully utilized constructive African American likenesses. And some of the earliest appearances of this long-overdue imagery bore the portrait and endorsement of Major…

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…

Chess: Champion Names and Championship Games

Chess: Champion Names and Championship Games

Do you play chess? A World Chess Federation affiliate recently stated that the worldwide number of chess players equals the number of regular Facebook members and, in the United States, more people play chess than tennis and golf combined. Few sports foster such loyalty and global admiration.

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Tea or Monopoly with Mussolini?

Tea or Monopoly with Mussolini?

Some games resonate with political history, and so do some movies. I watched Tea with Mussolini, director Franco Zefferelli’s 1999 semi-biographical film, and it reminded me of a game The Strong acquired in 2012. Monopoli (yes, that’s the correct spelling) is a 1937 Italian version from Monopoly’s heyday. What?! Monopoly is all about American-style capitalism…

Colonel Mustard in the National Toy Hall of Fame with the Candlestick?

Colonel Mustard in the National Toy Hall of Fame with the Candlestick?

It doesn’t take much detective work to discover that many people enjoy mysteries. For example, I can vividly remember being enthralled when I first read Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None. I know I’m joined by millions who eagerly follow the crime-solving exploits of Christie’s hero, the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Certainly Poirot…

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Line Up for a Game, Comrades!

Line Up for a Game, Comrades!

Board games and serious politics usually don’t mix. But in 2011, a Polish government think tank known as The Institute of National Remembrance created an interesting board game called Kolejka that The Strong recently acquired for its collections. The Institute researches crimes committed by the Nazi and Communist parties in Poland and makes that information…

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A Rochester Game Manufacturer: The Alderman-Fairchild Corp.

A Rochester Game Manufacturer: The Alderman-Fairchild Corp.

Few probably realize that Rochester, New York, was once home to a large game and toy manufacturer. Henry Alderman and Elmer E. Fairchild formed the Alderman-Fairchild Company in 1900 and initially printed paper goods and cardboard boxes for clients such as Rochester’s Fanny Farmer Candy. The city had grown into an important printing center during…

The Pre-Game Show: It Starts with a Prototype

The Pre-Game Show: It Starts with a Prototype

Other than Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, where do games come from? Often they start out as prototypes, initial versions that allow game inventors to test their concepts and designs. Like the first draft of a novel or the rough cut of a movie, these prototype games help illustrate the revisions and refinements that…

All in a Day’s Work: Preparing for Game Time! at The Strong

All in a Day’s Work: Preparing for Game Time! at The Strong

If you’re a member or fan of the National Museum of Play at The Strong, you probably know that the museum will open another major exhibit on the second floor in April 2013. Game Time! will illuminate the exciting history of board games, card games, puzzles, electromechanical coin-operated games, pinball machines, and other forms of…

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Dominoes: A 2012 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

Dominoes: A 2012 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

Many of us grew up playing domino games. And once the game was over, we carefully lined the dominoes up on end, just to watch them topple in a chain reaction. With a history stretching back more than 700 years, dominoes today look the same as they did two centuries ago. Dominoes are devices, like…

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