Tinkertoy Construction Sets are the invention of Charles Pajeau, a stonemason from Evanston, Illinois. Inspired by watching children play with pencils, sticks and empty spools of thread, he developed several basic wooden parts which could be assembled into three dimensional structures. He formed the Toy Tinkers company, and introduced the product at the 1913 American Toy Fair in New York. Playskool acquired the Tinkertoy line from Child Guidance in 1985, and 'modernized' them in 1992, changing to all plastic construction.

As I 'node for the ages' - I can't help think about one of the premier 'toys for the ages' - Tinkertoys.

This classic American construction set has captured the imagination of kids for over 80 years.

The toys sell in a metal canister, come with instructions for creating elaborate mechanical "tools," such as airplanes, printing presses, windmills, lathes, vehicles, ferris wheels, bird cages and saws. The sets included wooden spools with holes around the edge and one in the middle, wooden rods of various lengths, and included little pieces of green cardboard used to make windmill blades. The possibilities for construction play are endless with Tinkertoy Construction Sets, referred to early on as the "Thousand Wonder Builder".

The 1950s brought color to Tinkertoys, the new version featured brightly colored plastic pieces.

Eventually Giant Tinker Toys were introduced and plastic Tinkertoys replaced the original wooden style in the 1990’s.

Joining Tinkertoys in the early 20th century were a host of other construction toys, including Erector Sets, Legos and Lincoln Logs. While providing endless hours of entertainment these toys also help to develop a child's spatial intelligence.

After Playskool acquired Tinkertoys in 1985 they redesigned the toy in honor of its 80th anniversary.

I highly recommend Tinkertoys, I could never have enough of them as a kid. The possibilties of play are truely endless, you can build structures that swing, roll, spin and incorporate other toys into your play. They offer the creative freedom to build what you want and invent new toys out of the Tinkertoys.

Preschool and elementary teachers often equip their "Architecture Center" with tinker toys, Tinkertoys are an ideal learn-while-you-play toy.

In 2001 Tinker toys won a Toy of the Year' ( T.O.T.Y). Awards sponsored by the Toy Manufacturers of America, so as you see they are still going strong 90 years later, and I have a hunch they will still be going strong 90 years from now.

For tinker toy collectors, I recommend - Collector's Guide to Tinker Toys by Craig Strange.

For a fascinating story about research done with a walking tinkertoy robot at Cornell University see:

Official site of Tinkertoys - www.tinkertoy.com

(source: www.tinkertoy.com)

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