model train set on track

Top 102 Toys

e*Train Issue: Apr 2002   |   Posted in:

by Bob Mintz

Okay, the new millennium didn’t officially start until January 1st 2001. Hopefully, we will avoid Y2K + 1 computer issues and we can now present the 102 most memorable toys of the 20th century
Which came first?
Betsy Wetsy or Chatty Cathy?
When we think back on our childhood, toys figure prominently. Ask a baby boomer about that first Barbie doll or Matchbox car, and watch his or her eyes light up. Anyone who was a child in the ’70s has fond memories of taking a spin on a Big Wheel or tugging on Stretch Armstrong. And the children of today are sure to look back fondly on their Gameboys and Beanie Babies.

The following timeline shows the year of introduction for the most beloved toys of the century. There are a few exceptions: Yo-yos, for example, originated centuries ago in the South Pacific but weren’t introduced to Americans until Donald Duncan began manufacturing them in 1929.

An amazing number of these toys are still in production; others are brought down from Grandma’s attic for the next generation to discover. Still others endure in the minds of those who played with them.

Take this trip down memory lane with us, and see if your face doesn’t break into a grin.

Flexible Flyer sled (early 1900s)
Lionel trains (1901)
Teddy bear (1902)
Crayola crayons (1903)
Rook (1906)
Kewpie (1911)
Buddy L cars/trucks (1912)
Erector sets (1913)
Raggedy Ann (1914)
Tinker toys (1914)
Lincoln logs (1916)
Marble King marbles (1920s)
Madame Alexander dolls (1923)
Duncan Yo-yo (1929)
Radio Flyer wagon (1929)
Playskool Cobbler’s bench (1930)
Buck Rogers Sonic Ray Gun (1930s)
Monopoly (1935)
Red Ryder BB gun (1939)
View Master (1939)
Nok Hockey (1939)
Model airplanes (early 1940s)
Chutes and Ladders (1943)
Slinky (1945)
Tonka toys (1946)
Electric football (1947)
Scrabble (1948)
Cootie (1948)
LEGOs (1949)
Silly Putty (1949)
Candyland (1949)
Clue (1949)
Mr. Potato Head (1952)
Pez dispensers (1952)
Matchbox cars (1953)
Play-Doh (1955)
Burp guns (1955)
Betsy Wetsy (1955)
Ant farms (1956)
Frisbee (1957)
Fisher Price Corn Popper (1957)
Green plastic army men (late 1950s)
Skateboards (1958)
Hula Hoop (1958)
Barbie (1959)
Troll dolls (1959)
Little people (1959)
Risk (1959)
Chatty Cathy (1960)
The Game of Life (1960)
Etch-A-Sketch (1960)
Slip n’ Slide (1961)
Easy-Bake Oven (1962)
Schwinn StingRay (1963)
G.I. Joe (1964)
Operation (1965)
See N Say (1965)
Super Ball (1965)
Slot cars (mid 1960s)
Twister (1966)
Ouija board (1967)
Battleship (1967)
Lite Brite (1968)
Hot Wheels (1968)
Model rockets (1969)
Nerf ball (1969)
Big Wheel (1969)
Atari Pong (1972)
Baby Alive (1973)
Sit n’ Spin (1973)
Dungeons and Dragons (1973)
Rubik’s Cube (1974)
Stretch Armstrong (1976)
BMX dirt bikes (1977)
Star Wars action figures (1977)
Mountain bikes (1979)
Little Tikes Cozy Coupe (1979)
Merlin (1980)
Rollerblades (1980)
Smurfs (1981)
He Man/Masters of the Universe (1982)
Cabbage Patch Kids (1983)
Nintendo (1983)
Trivial Pursuit (1983)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures (1984)
Transformers (1984)
Lazer Tag (1986)
American Girl dolls (1986)
Koosh (1987)
Pictionary (1987)
Barney (1988)
Gameboy (1989)
Super Soaker (1991)
Beanie Babies (1993)
Sony Playstation (1995)
Pokemon (1995)
Tickle Me Elmo (1996)
Tamagotchi (1997)
Furby (1998)
Teletubbies (1998)
Sega Dreamcast Game Console (1999)
Razor scooters (2000)
Sony Playstation 2 (2001)