Americana Toys

What is Americana Toys? The gallery had a Americana show and most of the artists that applied sent in folk toys!

Folktoys by Al Horowitz

According to one of  my favorite go to references- Wikipedia: Americana refers to artifacts, or a collection of artifacts, related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States.

So with this said I take any iconic toy made in America a piece of Americana.  Not only wonderful handcrafted wood toys and dolls of yesteryear but what about some of the fad toys that changed America pop culture?

1. Hulu Hoop-What about the Hulu hoop based on an Australian grass hoop Wham-o caused a international craze with their plastic tube version. Yes you can still by these most likely not made in the US but it still is an iconic Americana toy.


2. The yo-yo which originally was a ancient Greek toy became iconic in 1928 -In 1928 Pedro Flores opened the Yo-yo Manufacturing Company in Santa Barbara, California.[5] The business started with a dozen handmade toys; by November 1929, Flores was operating two additional factories in Los Angeles and Hollywood, which altogether employed 600 workers and produced 300,000 units daily. Shortly thereafter (ca. 1929), an entrepreneur named Donald F. Duncan recognized the potential of this new fad and purchased the Flores Yo-yo Corporation and all its assets…wha-la a new Americana toy is born.

Classicyoyoshape3. Raggedy Ann is a rag doll with red yarn for hair and has a triangle nose. Johnny Gruelle received US Patent D47789 for his Raggedy Ann doll on September 7, 1915. This was the first time a doll was marketed with storybook.  This doll often falls into folk toy shows as well!


4. One cannot talk about iconic Americana toys without adding the lil fashion doll that took on the world and every career possible….Barbie! Launched in 1959 from Mattel with production worldwide has been the iconic girl next door to the image of a sexpot. Check out the summery at the bottom of Wikipedia of all the parodies and ways this image has been used or should I say abused?

Barbie Jewelry by Margaux Lange

Barclay, Manoil  and Grey were all lead soldier manufacturers making many little toys for dime stores across America and could be used with their train sets which later inspired plastic army men and GI Joe.

BArclay B246 2

“Americana” is  rich and diverse in toys! Unfortunately there are few American designed toys being manufactured in the USA  in 2014 so Americana Toys of the future might need to be redefined in the future.

Happy 4th Of July!