Popular toys of the last 145 years

Recognizing that a trip to the hospital is never a fun thing, Sheffield Children's Hospital decided to make things a little better by commissioning photographer Andy Brown to decorate the emergency room.

Brown wanted the toys represented to actually be the most popular ones from each decade, but since Google wasn't around in the 1920s, he had to turn to the Victoria and Albert's Museum of Childhood. Looking at the toys in sequence, it's fun to think about the cultural changes they represent: things that were handmade, then things that were mass-produced; generic characters before licensed properties; wood and metal giving way to plastic; and of course the introduction of electronics.

But there are also unavoidable themes. Kids have always wanted to play with the best technology available to them - isn't watching a Zoetrope fundamentally the same as watching YouTube on an iPad? Soldiers, cars, dolls... these things have always been popular, even if the specifics change.

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3 Responses to Popular toys of the last 145 years

  1. Ronnie says:

    I adore that they used the PINK ranger and Hermione. Yes.

    • Soundwinder says:

      Given they seem to be avoiding main characters (the two you mentioned, Michelangelo, Slag, a Rebel pilot who is either not-Luke or has such an awful likeness it may as well be a generic), I find the use of He-Man oddly jarring.

      • yo go re says:

        No, that's definitely Luke: the toys we get today are TONS better than the originals. I'm more bugged by the missing accessories. Is it REALLY that hard to find a Michelangelo who still has his belt?

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