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Fascinating facts about the invention of the
Tinkertoy Construstion Sets by Charles Pajeau in 1914.
TINKERTOY®
Spokes, spools, rods and reels . . . Playskool's Tinkertoy® Construction Sets, the tools of America's tinkerers were invented in 1914.  Tinkertoy® Construction Sets are one of the truly classic toys of all time. They have driven the imaginations of children for generations, proving that fun and stimulating toys never lose their appeal.
Tinkertoy The possibilities for construction play are endless with Tinkertoy® Construction Sets. In 1992, to freshen up in preparation for the big 80 birthday event, Playskool unveiled a major redesign to this classic toy of motion and construction. The new, all-plastic Tinkertoy® sets feature brightly-colored, easy-to-assemble parts that allow kids to build bigger structures than ever before. Each set includes instructions to create vehicles that really roll, tall towers and even free moving Ferris Wheels.
Tinkertoy® Construction Sets are the invention of Charles Pajeau, a stonemason from Evanston, Illinois who established The Toy Tinkers company. Inspired by watching children play with pencils, sticks and empty spools of thread, Pajeau developed several basic wooden parts which children could assemble in a variety of three dimensional abstract ways. He designed his first set in his garage, and with high hopes, displayed the toy at the 1914 American Toy Fair. But nobody was interested. He tried his marketing skills again at Christmas time. He hired several midgets, dressed them in elf costumes, and had them play with "Tinker Toys" in a display window at a Chicago department store. This publicity stunt made all the difference in the world. A year later, over a million sets had been sold. Playskool acquired the Tinkertoy® line from Child Guidance in 1985.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
History of Toys   from The Great Idea Finder
Invention of Erector Sets  
from The Great Idea Finder
Invention of Lincoln Logs  
from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle : And Other Surprising Stories About Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson / Paperback - 128 pages (1999) / Puffin

Brief factual stories about how various familiar things were invented, many by accident, from animal crackers to the zipper.

ON THE WEB:
Tinkertoy History
Brought to you by the owners of Tinkertoy, Hasbro.
(URL: www.hasbro.com/default.asp?x=corp_history_tinkertoy)
Building Basics: Tinkertoys

From Just the Arti-FACTS at the Chicago Historical Society.
(URL: www.chicagohs.org/AOTM/dec97fact4.html)
Lesson Plan: Building a House
You are going to need some tinkertoys for this house building lesson.
(URL: www.contractor.edu/buildhouselp/buildhouselp.html)

Construction Toy Homepage
These pages are devoted to vintage construction toys of all types. This site is intended for the enjoyment of its visitors and has no connection with any commercial firm.
(URL: www.chem.sunysb.edu/msl/lego/homepage.html
)

WHERE TO FIND:
Tinkertoy Classic Jumbo Builder Set
By Oddzon / ASIN: B00004TFRN / Less than $30.00
Tinker Toys have entertained kids for decades—ever since their 1913 invention by Charles Pajeau, who was inspired by children playing with pencils and empty spools of thread. This set features 102 versatile wooden spools, connectors, and brightly colored dowels packed in an easy-to-store keepsake canister. Simply add a child’s imagination for hours of creative fun.
 

Tinkertoy® Construction Sets are a registered trademark of Hasbro.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised March, 2005.
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