Wooden Toys History

Many people love to work with wood and when they do it is called Woodworking. Woodworking is anything that involves working with wood in any way, whether it is carving, painting, sawing, or anything else. It has been done as long as man has been on the face of the earth. The first man did make weapons out of wood, so this involved carving. Early man also made crude statues from wood that were to help the tribe win the favor of the animals that they were going to hunt; and later to please the gods which they believed in.

Wooden toys have been objects for children’s recreation since very earliest times. Archeological excavations and discoveries have located different types of wooden dolls from as early as 1100 BC. Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans made miniature versions of all the things they were using in wood. These were obviously play things for their children. Some of these toys were miniature animals like crocodiles with movable jaws, carved horses, wooden dolls, chariots and spinning tops.

Production of wooden toys for sale started as early as the 1500’s in Germany. German artisans started selling their toys across Europe. Initially, European royals placed orders for such toys to commemorate any special royal occasion like a royal anniversary or birthday.

Educational wooden toys, like wooden alphabet blocks, appeared during the 1700’s in England. By the 1800’s, humble wooden toys became more elaborate and intricate. In addition to miniature animals and dolls, elaborate and decorative dollhouses, fire engines, trolley cars, decoratively painted soldiers, wooden trains that could be moved along grooved tracks and jack-in-the-boxes became popular.

The 1900’s saw a huge growth in the American toy industry. Charles H. Pajeau and Robert Petit invented Tinker Toys in 1914 with many different toy sets of spools, rods, spokes, and sticks. Children could build their own wooden toy kingdoms of people, animals, vehicles and buildings using these wooden accessories.

John Lloyd Wright created Lincoln Logs in 1916. These wooden accessories went a step further; you could create an entire town with them.

One of the world’s largest producers of wooden toys, Brio (Toy Directory), have an annual production of more than 3.5 million cars, trains and trucks today. This is even more than the annual car and truck production of the Ford Motor Company of the United States.


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