How some of the iconic toys were invented

We have all seen and known about some of the toys that have gained a classic status due to their timeless appeal. These toys have been liked by people across ages and geographies. We bring a list of some of such toys and also highlight how they were invented back in the day.


British toy inventor Hilary Fisher Page invented self-locking building bricks in the 1930s. It was the beginning of the plastic brick toys that became ever-popular afterwards. A decade later, Ole Kirk Christiansen, a Danish master carpenter, thoroughly studied the British bricks’ concept and possibilities. He then designed a similar toy set, an automatic binding brick called LEGO which in Danish meant ‘play well’. In Latin, the meaning of LEGO is, ‘I put together’.


It is one of the most loved and playable toys for kids around the age. The colours, variety, shapes and tools sold with Play-Doh make it such a treat for the kids and even their parents. But do you know, the trademark scented sculpting clay was initially sold as a wallpaper cleaner? Yes, you heard it right; it used to be rolled on the walls to remove coal dust from it.

Hula Hoops

Although Hula Hoops seems like a generic toy and has been around for ages; the original make was the Wham-O toy which was invented in 1958. The brand name did not sustain, probably because it was not effectively marketed back in the day. But it is recorded that the inventor of Wham-O roamed in parks and playgrounds promoting the product. He also used to give it away as free samples and would show kids how to use them.

Sea Monkeys

This toy actually has live animals called brine shrimps. The inventor of X-Ray specs, Harold von Braunhut, invented Sea Monkeys in 1957. Brine shrimps were used as they are ideal for packaging in a toy as they enter a natural state of suspended animation in some conditions. While playing, when the kids will release these ‘monkeys’ in the water, they will hatch.

Lincoln Logs

The son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, John Lloyd Wright, invented this classic building set. The initial instructions had plans for a replica of Abraham Lincoln's cabin. It also had full details for constructing Uncle Tom's cabin. It was a delight!


When a stonemason observed some kids building items with spools of thread and pencils, he got the inspiration to create Tinkertoys.

Sock Monkeys, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Slinky and Troll Dolls are some other such iconic toys you would want to explore.