History of Toys

A brief history of ‘what happened when’ in the world of toys starting at the very, very beginning .....

2000BC        Spinning tops used by the Ancient Egyptians

500BC          Greeks played with toy chariots and yo-yos

300BC          Rag dolls, spinning tops and balls are popular in Egypt

500              Chess invented in India

c.550            Mention of kites in China

1100s           Draughts invented in Spain or France

1672             Clockwork toy soldiers made inNuremburg

1761             John Spilsbury sells ‘dissected maps', the first jigsaws

1843             First world chess champion, Howard Staunton

1856             First clockwork toys manufactured in the USA

1870             Celluloid, an early type of plastic invented

1889             Tiddlywinks invented

1907             The name Meccano adopted by Frank Hornby for his model kits

1934             Danish toy maker Ole Kirk Christiansen calls his company Lego

1970s            First computer games produced

1972             First video game appeared in the USA

1975             First personal computer appeared in the USA

1990s            Virtual reality games and internet became widely available

                     Companies moved to market toys that had an educational


2000s            Merchandising of film characters drove the toy industry

                     ‘Retro' toys many from the 1970s and 80s made a come back