Monday, November 5, 2012


I have fond memories of paint by number kits from when I was growing up. The images were usually landscapes and used lots of different colors. The paints were actually pretty smelly but that just made the kits seem less like toys and more like real art supplies.

The first paint by number kits were sold by Palmer Paint in 1951 under their Craft Master brand. This was just 1 of the many fads of the 1950’s and the kits are less popular now but still fairly easy to find.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


In 1914 Charles H. Pajeau designed a new toy called Tinkertoys, he invented the building set after seeing some kids building things with pencils and empty threat spools. The toy featured different sized wooden circles with holes in the middle and around the edges, it also had lots of wooden sticks to connect to the circles to build lots of different toys. Through the years there have been some changes, with the sticks being given bright colors and some different parts added, but it is still basically the same toy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


A convertible bed with a mirror on it doesn't seem very safe and it also looks very heavy, but maybe it was very sturdy and safe, just not very practical.

Monday, September 3, 2012


The front and back side of a card that illustrates the high shine possible with this particular stove polish.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Disney has always been efficient at using different channels to promote their TV shows and movies and they have had a big presence on Viewmaster.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The View-Master toy arose out of old fashioned stereopsis viewers. They were used to view 2 photos side by side. The photos were almost identical and tricked the brain into thinking the photos had depth. Stereoscopes were made of wood and were rather expensive. But many families had the novelty items in their homes. The photos were often of tourist spots in the United States. The photos were mounted on stiff cardboard and clipped into the end viewer a short distance from the glass eye ports.

In 1939 2 men, Wilhelm Gruber and Harold Graves decided to join forced to make a new kind of viewer which would be much smaller and lighter. The viewer used new, lighter color film, which was mounted on a small cardboard wheel, 7 pictures per wheel. There where 2 views of the same image on the same disk mounted a suitable distance apart. They called their invention the View-Master and it debuted at the New York World’s Fair and was sold along side traditional scenic postcards.

At first the subjects were just tourist areas but soon the types of subjects expanded to popular culture, including everything Disney. View-Master got the rights for Disney subjects when they bought out a rival in 1952.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Collecting Advertising trade cards

Starting in about the 1860's manufacturers began producing and giving away millions of trade cards. The front would have an attractive picture, almost always in color, and the back would have an advertising slogan and often the name of the local store where the product could be purchased.

The cards were intended for consumers, but they became very popular with children. The cards were collected and traded by children. Often even adults had their own collection, some going so far as to paste the cards in albums to show off to friends.

The fad died down around the turn of the century, when there were more ways to advertise, but the cards themselves are still collected by some people, but now more for their historical interest than for any other reason.