Toy ads have always been a December fixture in the Post. Check out these vintage ads for train sets, baby dolls, shiny new wagons, and more.
The Ives Manufacturing Corporation made toy trains from 1868 to 1932. For decades, Ives made clockwork trains, but created its first electric train in 1910.
These three-car trains were as realistic as could be, with a 2-rail track, puffing smoke, and actual “choo-choo” sounds. But the price would set you back: the Pennsylvania model was $39.95, which would be more than $400 today.
Life Savers were invented in 1912 as the meltless summer mint with a hole in the middle. The five-flavor pack was introduced in 1935, and the Christmas Gift-Book made its debut soon thereafter. For many kids, it was the go-to Secret Santa gift, because who didn’t love Life Savers?
This toy promises that “using it will be loads of fun and at the same time give the children their first lessons in domestic science.” Of course, it was meant for girls only.
Erector advertised its toy as one that “solves the boy problem,” giving him “constructive work of practical value.”
This ad appeared just a month after the great stock market crash on October 29, 1929. Note that J.C. Penney emphasizes their better prices to reassure customers that they were getting a good value.
For many years, Firestone stores sold more than tires. At least at Christmastime, one could purchase not only appliances large and small, but also books, toys, and sporting goods.
This company eventually changed its name to Timex, but in 1953, they were already boasting that their watches could take a licking and keep on ticking.
Roy Rogers was one of the biggest Western film stars in the 1940s and ‘50s, and if you wanted to dress like him, Sears would oblige. Items included shirts, hats, boots, belts, jeans, gloves, watches, slippers, pajamas, and even a fringed jacket.
Many-a-child (or panicked parent) will remember sprinting into the local drug store for last-minute Christmas presents for loved ones. Whether you were shopping for a Royal Stag cologne set, Insta-Cube camera, or portable tape recorder, you’d find it at Rexall’s. (But please, please don’t buy anyone an iron for the holidays.)
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