What Were They Thinking? Playthings to Ponder

What Were They Thinking? Playthings to Ponder

Earlier this spring, the curators at The Strong gathered up items from the collections for a display we call “What Were They Thinking?” Although no one ever sets out to make a bad toy, the items exhibited included a number of toys, games, and dolls that make us wonder just what their designers and manufacturers…

Rock On, Gary Dahl

Rock On, Gary Dahl

Staff at The Strong passed around several emails this week noting the passing of Gary Dahl, inventor of the Pet Rock, a wildly popular fad from the mid-1970s. In 1975 Dahl, a California advertising man, dreamed up the notion of a Pet Rock and shipped it to a San Francisco gift show that August. His…

100 Years of Tinkering

100 Years of Tinkering

Toys reflect the times in which they are made, and it follows, that as time passes, these toys fade away and are often replaced by newer toys. A few toys—like many in the National Toy Hall of Fame—though, remain popular for decades. Some even endure for several generations—like Tinkertoys. The Tinkertoy chronicle began more than…

Little Green Army Men Join Forces with the National Toy Hall of Fame

Little Green Army Men Join Forces with the National Toy Hall of Fame

Little green army men marched right into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong on November 6, 2014. The tiny figures, along with Rubik’s Cube and bubbles, took their place of honor among the other 53 classic toys that evidence the iconic status, longevity, and play value necessary for induction. The green army…

Lionel for Ladies?

Lionel for Ladies?

Many baby boomers and their children (and maybe their grandchildren too) admire the toy trains of the Lionel Corporation in The Strong’s collections. The toy company, founded in the early 1900s by Joshua Lionel Cowen, reigned as the premier maker of electric train sets for much of the 20th century. In the early 1950s, Lionel…

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple

On February 11, 2014, the staff at The Strong and the American public learned of the passing of Shirley Temple Black, actor, politician, diplomat, and former U.S. ambassador. Most Americans, however, know Temple as the most popular child star in Hollywood history.

Lunar Travels with Big Loo

Lunar Travels with Big Loo

Meet Big Loo, your new best friend. If you ever go to the moon, make sure you take Big Loo with you. With him along, you won’t need any other companion. Advertised as a robot from the moon and perfect for lunar exploration, the 38-inch Big Loo functioned like a one-man, er, one-robot army. Louis…

The Toy Experts

The Toy Experts

Every autumn, The Strong inducts two or three toys into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The process begins by staff examining the thousands of nominations received from the public through the Hall of Fame website and in letters, emails, and phone calls. Museum curators, educators, historians, and administrators then carefully consider the many toys…

Rubber Duck: You Make Bath Time Lots of Fun

Rubber Duck: You Make Bath Time Lots of Fun

Bet I can make you smile with just two words: rubber duck. You did, didn’t you? You can’t help but smile. This will make you smile too. On November 7, the rubber duck—along with the game of chess—joined 51 other classic toys inducted in the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong. How did…

Ping Pong Patriots

Ping Pong Patriots

Summer, even late summer, means tennis for many who love the warm weather, the sunshine, and the great outdoors. And for those of us who hate to swelter and prefer to get our exercise in air-conditioned splendor, there’s always indoor tennis. The tabletop game goes by many names: table tennis and Ping Pong sound familiar,…