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Rocking Horse, SCRABBLE®, and G.I. Joe®
Inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame®
at Strong Museum in Rochester, New York
ROCHESTER, New York—Three classic toys were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame® at Strong Museum today—the rocking horse, SCRABBLE®, and G.I. Joe®.
Nine other toy finalists vied for a coveted place in the hall, including Big Wheel, Cabbage Patch Kids®, Candy Land, Easy-Bake® Oven, Fisher-Price® Little People, Hot Wheels, Lionel Trains, Rubik’s® Cube, and Wiffle® Ball.
The rocking horse gallops into the hall after charming generations of young children for centuries. The 400-year-old toy evolved from the cradle, incorporating the soothing motion that quiets and pleases children. Rocking horses became popular toys when horse racing and breeding gained popularity in Europe and Britain. A child could mount his rocking horse and pretend to ride in the races or haul farm goods into town.
SCRABBLE racks up as an all-time favorite. Conceived and created by an out-of-work architect during the Great Depression, SCRABBLE wasn’t mass-produced and marketed until 1948; even then, it took until 1952 for word-of-mouth to boost sales. In a game that blends luck and skill, SCRABBLE players rack their brains and stretch their vocabularies.
G.I. Joe marches into the hall as a major innovator in the toy field. The Hassenfeld Brothers (now Hasbro, Inc.) launched G.I. Joe forty years ago. They named him after a 1945 movie celebrating average soldiers in World War II and called him an “action figure” to appeal to boys. Like Barbie®, G.I. Joe has been a controversial toy, highlighting differing American opinions on play, gender, politics, and even foreign relations. Love him or hate him, he is significant both as a cultural icon and as the prototype for an influential category of toys.
The National Toy Hall of Fame® at Strong Museum recognizes toys that have engaged and delighted multiple generations, inspiring them to learn, create, and discover through play. Criteria for induction include: Icon-status (the toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered); Longevity (the toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations); Discovery (the toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play); and Innovation (the toy profoundly changed play or toy design).
In addition, inducted toys must be generally accepted as safe for those for whom they are designed or who fall within the manufacturer’s recommended ages.
To date, the following 31 toys have made it into the National Toy Hall of Fame®: Alphabet Blocks, Barbie®, Bicycle, Checkers, Crayola® Crayons, Duncan® Yo-Yo, Erector® Set, Etch A Sketch®, Frisbee®, G.I. Joe™, Hula Hoop®, Jacks, Jigsaw Puzzle, Jump Rope, LEGO®, Lincoln Logs®, Marbles, Monopoly®, Mr. Potato Head®, Play-Doh®, Radio Flyer® Wagon, Raggedy Ann™, Rocking Horse, Roller Skates, SCRABBLE®, Silly Putty®, Slinky®, Teddy Bear, Tinkertoy®, Tonka® Trucks, and View-Master®.
Playthings, the leading trade magazine covering the children’s toy industry in the United States, is the national media partner of the National Toy Hall of Fame® at Strong Museum. Coinciding with the toy industry’s major event, International Toy Fair, Playthings will recognize all of the National Toy Hall of Fame® inductees at its Annual Industry Achievement Awards Dinner this coming February. Founded in 1903, Playthings offers the most current and in-depth information and news on toy manufacturers, retailers, licensing, products, and people. Playthings is published by Reed Business Information, the largest business-to-business publisher in the United States.
Strong Museum is the nation’s only museum devoted to the study of play as it illuminates American popular culture. Known for its family-friendly, interactive exhibits and world-renowned collections (including the world’s largest collection of toys and dolls), Strong Museum has been ranked one of the Top 10 “children’s” museums by CHILD magazine and among the most family-friendly museums in the Northeast by Family Fun magazine.
For more information on the National Toy Hall of Fame® visit www.strongmuseum.org.