Playskool Rools

Early Playskool toys (Lucille King’s inspiration in the 1920’s) represent one of the great treasure troves in our modern history of playthings.

Auto... jack... it's Otto Jack!

King- an educator-turned-entrepreneur- incorporated the Playskool Institute in 1928 in Milwaukee, WI and the company soon featured over forty products.

“As early as 1930 Playskool’s toys were endorsed by child guidance experts, and the aura of educational enrichment clung to the brand. King’s line of toys consisted of basic, durable wooden items that aimed to develop coordination and stimulate the minds of children.”  *3

By the 1940’s the toys were getting writeups in Parents Magazine, Redbook and Psychology Today- and the edu-toys goldrush was on.

Playskool “the biz” has morphed and changed hands many times since it’s creation.

Along the way it bought John Lloyd Wright’s Lincoln Logs company (Yes, his dad was Frank), Holgate Toys, and Halsam Corp. (the largest maker of blocksets in the country,  watch for my future posts on these seminal manufacturers).

Playskool was eventually purchased by the elephant in the room, Milton Bradley; Hasbro bought MB in 1984 and soon closed the Chicago plant, killing nearly 700 jobs.

“Ben, I have just one word for you… plastics..”  Mr. McGuire (yep!) in “The Graduate” 

So- buh-bye to a beloved maker of classic wooden toys. Gone, but not forgotten.

Some favorites from the collection, thanks for tuning in and I welcome your comments.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playskool   Basic
http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/lehman/chrono.html?company=playskool_manuf... Better
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2842900112.html   Best (see Early History) *3
http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/playskool-inc-history/  Bestest