The Toy World of H G Wells
A drawing from the Illustrated London News showing H G Wells playing some of the floor games which he described in his book on the subject published in 1913.
We have certainly entered the modern age here! The industrial revolution has taken hold forever. Safety standards for kids and workers are getting better. WW1 is still two years away. We can see modern prosperity beginning to reign. Although this photo does not contain electric trains their influence is certainly prominent in it. Metal toys have began to take over. Things like toy soldiers, decorative toy houses, roads with modern toy bridges are becoming obvious. Small houses that are relatively modern are evident. It is obvious that this is probably much the same scene as in some store windows the very next Christmas. Ford and Edison are on their way with their great inventions and mass production methods. Ford was mentioning that workers needed to be paid to be able to afford to buy his product. Man has already experienced "Powered Flight" for ten years since the Wright Brothers made their first successful attempt at Kittyhawk.
In 1906 - just 7 years before this Lionel invented the first mass produced train track of standard gauge. Suddenly more than ever before, fathers and sons were both involved in the same hobby. Making a realistic world of trains where their imaginations could run wild!
But of course, two World Wars, and the great depression were just around the corner! Many kids playing with these same toys would lose their fathers in the first world war. Many would lose their lives in the second. But instead of on the backs of horses as shown here, they would fight using tanks, planes, and rifled guns. Even those wars and a great and long depression could not derail the modern age. It was finally on it's way. And toys and games that had been so popular with young folk for hundreds of years without fail were suddenly ready to begin to slowly die away. Gone forever, except in the fantastic world of toy makers like Faire Tyme Toys.
Coda... In August of 2007 a very prominent toy company had massive recalls due to poor offshore workmanship. Once again manufacturing has moved off shore so companies have very little control over it. Such companies might do well to read the above history and think it over very carefully in the very near future.
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