Monopoly was first issued by Parker Brothers in 1935, though there is some controversy about who invented the game. Some say it was Charles Darrow during the Depression; others say it was originally Elizabeth Phillips who called it The Landlord’s Game, patented in 1904. Like many games and toys, the look has changed over the years.
Monopoly Empire by Parker Brothers in 2013. More than 275 million games have been sold worldwide, and it’s available in 111 countries, in 43 languages.
In 2009, the cube was upgraded to modern times with the Rubik’s TouchCube by Techno Source, which bills it as the first completely electronic, solvable Rubik’s Cube. The TouchCube is one of many examples of how traditional games are becoming more and more popular in electronic format, from sports like football and baseball to board games like chess and checkers.
This Barbie Doll by Mattel in 1960 doesn’t look quite the same as the ones today (less pink).
Barbie Fashionistas Doll by Mattel in 2013. Barbie was introduced by Mattel in 1959 and has become a household name. She has fought against mothers and feminists who have condemned her for alleged negative effects on young girls. She has had many incarnations including as an astronaut, doctor and race car drivers.
Mickey Mouse doll by Steiff Co. circa 1930. The Steiff Company worked with Disney over six years and in that time produced about 53,000 Mickey Mouse dolls.
Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice plush souvenir doll by Disney. This well-known mouse has been the face of Disney for years, starting in 1928 when he was created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney.
View-Master stereoviewer by Sawyer’s Photographic Services in 1939. The View-Master was first introduced at the New York World’s Fair in 1939 by William Gruber and Harold Graves, president of Sawyer’s Photographic Services. Initially, the product was intended to be educational but later transformed into a toy.
Despicable Me 2 View-Master by Fisher-Price in 2012. The View-Master has been sold to a few different companies, but it wasn’t until 1997 that Tyco, View-Master Ideal Group and Mattel Inc. merged. Now, the View-Master continues to be produced under Fisher-Price, a Mattel-owned company. A custom View-Master allows you to build a personalized reel using whatever photos you choose.
Candy Land board game by the Milton Bradley Company in 1949. Schoolteacher Eleanor Abbott invented the game in 1948 while recuperating in a polio ward in San Diego.
The Kingdom of Sweets Candy Land board game by Hasbro in 2010. The game has been made over to become more appealing to children.
No. 8 Crayola School Crayons by The Binney & Smith Company (Crayola) circa 1905. Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith started out producing pencils and chalk for classrooms. It wasn’t until 1903 that they introduced the first box of eight Crayola crayons for 5 cents.
Melt N Mold Factory by Crayola in 2013. For over 100 years, Crayola has dominated the wax crayon business and has over 120 colors. You can even customize your crayon colors — not that Crayola doesn’t already have every color.
Battleship board game by Milton Bradley in 1967. Battleship dates to at least World War I as a pencil-and-paper-based game. However, Milton Bradley published a plastic version in 1967. In the somewhat dated — and many would say sexist — box cover picture, a father and son play the game while a mother and daughter wash dishes in the background.
Electronic Battleship by Milton Bradley in 2013. “You sunk my battleship!” Though the electronic battleship game is not new to the market, introduced in 1977, it was one of the first board games to integrate electronics.
Easy-Bake Oven by Kenner in 1963. Stepping away from the manly games, the Easy-Bake oven was the first successful working oven for little girls and powered by a 100-watt light bulb. The very first oven was turquoise and had a carrying handle and fake stove top.
Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven by Hasbro in 2010. In 2003, the Real Meal Oven was introduced, allowing kids to make full meals including pizza and even French fries.
The Original Play-Doh Modeling Compound by Rainbow Crafts, Inc in 1962. Originally, Play-Doh was meant to be wallpaper cleaner. By the mid-1950s, the product went from the color white, to red, blue and yellow and into nearly every playroom in America.
Play-Doh Color Sticks Grab ‘n Go Brights Pack by Hasbro in 2013. A product by the iconic brand, Color Sticks, individually wrapped 1-ounce Play-Doh sticks, let kids take shape where ever they go.
Raggedy Ann doll by P.F. Volland Company Muskegon Toy and Garment Works circa 1920s. Johnny Gruelle, a newspaper cartoonist, wrote and illustrated “Raggedy Ann Stories” for publisher P.F. Volland in 1918. Legend has it that Gruelle made up these stories to entertain his young daughter.
Garden Raggedy Ann Doll by Aurora for 2013. The cloth dolls of Ann and her brother Andy have stayed in production since Volland issued the first set of dolls in 1918. Raggedy Ann entered the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2002, with Andy joining her in 2007.
Lincoln Logs construction set by John Lloyd Wright Inc. in 1920. Developed by John Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1916. Wright Jr. used the likeness of our 16th president, who began his life in a log cabin.
Lincoln Logs Redwood Junction by K’Nex in 2013. Each log is still made with real wood and smoothed with a splinter-free finish.
Genuine Duncan Junior Yo-Yo by Duncan in the 1930s-1950s. The Yo-Yo is the second oldest toy, after dolls, and can be traced to nearly 500 B.C. Donald Duncan saw the popularity of the toy and bought the Flores Yo-Yo Company for $25,000 in 1929.
Duncan Metal Drifter Yo-Yo by Duncan in 2010. More than 600 million Yo-Yos have been sold, and it was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
Clue: The Great Detective Game! by Parker Brothers in 1949. Purchased in 1948 by Parker Brothers, it was originally published in England and was called Cluedo.
Clue board game by Parker Brothers in the 2010s. Since Hasbro bought out Parker Brothers in the ’90s, Clue has had dozens of variations as well as TV shows and movies. Still, all the fun of the game is in the three main questions: Who killed Mr. Boddy? Where did they do it? And what did they do it with?
Lego System construction set by Lego Systems Inc. circa 1950. The Lego Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen. The actual company began as a woodworking company, with its very first toy being a wooden duck. Later, Lego began making the plastic bricks that have started a future of architects. The word Lego comes from a Danish word meaning “play well.”
The Mines of Moria™ Lego Lord of the Rings by Lego in 2012. The company has exploded from its wooden days. The Lego company now not only sells the popular building toy, it also has a theme park, Legoland, movies and even video games. “The Lego Movie,” from 2014, was one of the biggest box-office hits of the year.
Mr. Potato Head Funny-Face Kit play set By Hassenfeld Bros. Inc. circa 1955. Mr. Potato Head, the first toy advertised on television, is also food — at least, it started out that way. Created by inventor George Learner as a way for kids to eat their vegetables, he created the plug-in facial features to be distributed into cereal boxes. The first Mr. Potato Head came with 28 face pieces, but you had to supply your potato. Later, the stench of rotting spuds led Hasbro to supply a plastic potato with the set.
Dalek Doctor Who Mr. Potato Head by Playskool in 2013. Mr. Potato Head now comes as many characters and yet remains a “nostalgia” toy that crosses generations.
The Game of Life by Milton Bradley in 1960. Inspired by one of Milton Bradley’s old Checkered Game of Life game boards from the Civil War, inventor Reuben Klamer brought the game to life to celebrate the company’s 100-year history in 1960. Though the 1866 version has a similar name, the game is not centered around money; it is about virtue and morality.
Game Of Life World Adventure by Milton Bradley in 2011. Today’s Game of Life is about money and whether you can make it to retire to Millionaire Acres.
G.I. Joe Action Soldier by Hasbro circa 1965. G.I. Joe is “America’s Moveable Fighting Man,” with 21 moving parts and representing each of the four branches of the US armed forces. The toy did $16.9 million in sales in its first year.
G.I. Joe Retaliation Ninja Commando Snake Eyes Figure by Hasbro in 2013. G.I. Joe has changed a lot through the years. He has been scaled-down, given more soldiers and weapons, back stories, a cartoon show, movies and even a new enemy: Cobra, “a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.”
Cabbage Patch Doll by Coleco Industries (now Jakks Pacific) in 1983. Created by a 21-year-old art student named Xavier Roberts, Cabbage Patch Kids began as handcrafted cloth dolls available in gift shops in the South. During the 1983 Christmas season, parents swarmed toy stores for these dolls, and by New Year’s Day, more than 3 million had been sold.
Cabbage Patch Kids Limited Edition 30th Anniversary Saige Romy by Jakks Pacific in 2013. The dolls have bounced around to many different companies: Hasbro, Mattel,Toys R Us and their current manufacturer, Jakks Pacific. The kids also got an updated look, with more realistic hair, fashionable outfits and, like every Cabbage Patch Kid since the beginning, a one-of-a-kind name and birth certificate.
Super Soaker 50 water pistol by Larami Corp. in 1990. The year was 1989: Children were still throwing around archaic water balloons until Lonnie Johnson, a nuclear engineer, came up with the idea of a high-powered toy water gun. It was originally called the “Power Drencher,” and Johnson started a whole new era of backyard water fights. The Super Soaker 50 didn’t require batteries and was one of the most powerful water guns on the market.
Super Soaker Switch Shot Blaster by NERF in 2013. It is the first water blaster to incorporate air pressure for more water pressure to come streaming out. The Switch Shot Blaster holds 570 milliliters of water and is the only blaster in 2013 that uses a water banana clip.