Photos: Dolls - Constantin Jurcut; Angel - Lize Rixt; Girl in chil - Valerij Zhugan;
Frisbee - Joshua Davis
Overview of American Toys Industry
American Toys industry today has the reputation of being dominated by video games:
Microsoft's Xbox, Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation as the industry approaches $50
Billion. The birth of the internet information age in the 1990's combined with classic
television advertising techniques from the 1950's continue to drive the demand for
the American Toys market.
American Toys in the 20th Century
American Toys began to change in the twentieth century. Before World War I, most
American Toys were hand made. After the war, technology permitted the use of molded
There was now a whole new set of toys for boys and girls to choose from. There were
plastic airplanes, rockets and cars to replace little boys' wooden farm wagon. Girls
were able to stock their toy kitchens with plastic toy food and utensils.
By the 1930's, 95% of the toys in the America were manufactured in the U.S.
1950’s & 1960’s American Toys Era
With the invention of toy advertising on the television in the 1950's and 1960's,
it drove the American Toy market. It was an era of the Barbie Doll and Hasbro's
Easy Bake Oven which became American culture.
American Toys History
American Settlers and American Toys
Over five centuries ago when the settlers came to America, the American Toys available
were obviously quite different than toys of today. Families spent the majority of
their lives working on farms and growing their own food to survive.
Men and boys hunt and fish as a favorite pastime while women and girls learned to
quilt. Toys existed during that time were from native Indians who curved toy animals
from wood and bone.
American Toys During the Early 1800’s
By the early 1800's some American families ordered toys from abroad for their families
but these were typically expensive. Few toys were manufactured in the America at
In the late 1830's, one of the first American toy manufacturing companies was The
Tower Shop (renamed later as Tower Toy Company). By gathering the talents of a group
of carpenters, the company was able to produce wooden toys of doll furniture, boats
and toy tools.
American Toys Manufacturers - Late 1800’s & Early 1900’s
By and late 1800's and the early 1900's, more and more American toy manufacturers
began to appear.
Girls had dolls, doll houses and tea sets. Boys would play with toy soldiers, toy
trains or farms and farm animals.
Windup toys using a key became popular during that time. American Toys were supposed
to prepare children for adult life during that era.
Famous Inventors of American Toys
The Frisbee, Flying Pie Plates
William Russell Frisbie's family actually began playing around with flying pie plates
in the 1870's.
It was a solder named Walter Frederick Morrison who improved on the flying saucer
and began marketing the product with the assistance of Richard Knerr and A.K. Melin,
two UCLA graduates.
They toys were named Frisbee which are still popular today.
The Slinky, Accidental Discovery
Richard James, a naval engineer was conducting some experiments with springs when
one of them fell to the floor and began to walk.
He took it home and showed it to his wife, Betty James. She thought that it would
be a great toy and named it Slinky.
The invention in 1945 was a huge success and became popular over several generations.
Import Opportunities & American Toys of the Future
The American Toys industry can be quite unpredictable.
Today, MacDonald's is one of the world's largest toy manufacturers due to its Happy
Disney has also taken advantage of the American toy commercialism as evident by its
toys being named after television and movie series such as Toy Stories.
The American Toy industry today is full of products from overseas varying from 25
cents to 250 dollars. There are many import opportunities available to the importer
who is interested in importing to USA.
Will you be the one who imports the next Slinky or Frisbee?
Geraldine F. - Import from China to USA
“I am interested in importing picture frames and toys from China to sell in the United
States. Your web site has given me a lot of wonderful ideas.”