Saturday, 3 December 2016

Top Selling Toys From Years Gone By (Part 2)

It's only a few weeks until Christmas, so that means it's time for part two of my nostalgic trip down memory lane as I look at more toys found on lists to Santa from years gone by.  Once again, I've included the decade when the toys were first released, or the decade when they first achieved popularity, but of course the best toys are timeless, so don't be surprised if you associate some of these toys with a different era...

1950s - Slinky

Loved by kids around the world for its period of oscillation,
according to Wikipedia.
The simplicity of the Slinky toy made it a hit through the generations, and it's still going strong today.  In fact incredibly, over a billion Slinkys have been sold worldwide since it was first invented!  I could list any number of interesting facts about Slinky, but here's one from Wikipedia':

Due to the forces of gravity, a Slinky bunches up at the bottom because:

    p(n) = L(n-1)^2

Fascinating!  And did you know that the period of oscillation of a dangling slinky is:

    T = 2/pi/sqrt{/frac{m}{k}}

Wow!  Amazing!  Although to be honest, that one was fairly obvious, so it probably didn't need pointed out.

You can find out many more interesting scientific facts about Slinky at Wikipedia.
Interesting Slinky equations found on Wikipedia

1960s - Chemistry Set

Keeping kids entertained in the 1960s and later decades.
A Chemistry Set was a 'toy' I had as a child, although I would guess that modern health and safety regulations would mean that half the ingredients in chemistry sets would be deemed too dangerous to sell to kids nowadays.

The set came with an instruction manual which told you which chemicals were safe to mix together, but obviously me and my mates used to ignore the instructions, and instead we would just throw random chemicals into a test tube and see what happened.  One day my parents came home to discover a pungent smell stinking out the entire the house, and apparently it turned out that me and my mates had very nearly gassed ourselves.

1970s - Skateboards

A totally rad skateboard. Gnarly!
Skateboards have been around since the 1940s, but it was in the seventies when they first became popular with all the cool kids.  Skateboards could provide hours of fun for expert skaters as they pulled off fakies, ollies, nose-grinds and kickflips.  Or if you were like me, a skateboard could provide a few scary  moments as you slowly pushed yourself along and nervously tried not to fall off.

Since the 1970s, the popularity of skateboarding has continued to grow, with the market now worth an estimated $4.8 billion per year!  If you're new to the skateboarding scene and want to fit in with all the cool kids, then try using lingo like, 'mongo-foot', 'board-slide', 'half-pipe' and 'gnarly!'.  Or if you're a Wikipedia fan, then try using cool skateboard-related science terms such as, 'centripetal force', 'rotational inertia' and 'sublimated phase transition'.

Or something.

1980s - Teenage Mutant Ninja Hero Turtles

When the turtles were first released, the powers-that-be decided the word 'ninja' would transform kids into violent psychopaths, so in the UK the turtles were originally known as 'hero' turtles rather than 'ninja' turtles. Of course kids referred to them as ninja turtles anyway, and the whole thing was a bit ridiculous.

Nowadays, the powers-that-be appear to have relaxed their stance, as the ninja turtles are once again known by their original international name.

The turtles took their names from famous artists; Leonardo (Da Vinci), Michelangelo (Buonarroti), Donatello (Bardi) and Damian (Hirst).*

* #NotReally

1990s - Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

No coughing allowed!
1999 was the year when the UK (and many other parts of the world) got caught up in the millionaire craze, and there was an interactive board game to cash in, er ... I mean, to allow fans to recreate the enjoyment of the TV show in their own homes!  Fans could phone a friend, ask the audience, or even cheat with a few well-timed coughs from a friend to sneakily identify the correct answer ... just like the real show!

All the ingredients of the original TV show were included, and in fact the only ingredient which was missing sadly, was the million pounds.  This kind of removed the excitement somewhat, but it didn't diminish demand for the game.  Toys 'R' Us recently named 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?' as the top selling toy of 1999, suggesting it was makers Celador who wanted to be millionaires, and the success of the 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?' board game helped them achieve their goal.

. . . . . . . .

That's it for this year, but you can find my original look at popular toys from years gone by below:
Top Selling Toys From Years Gone By (Part 1)

And there are many more cool toys from days gone by, so I may feature another toy round-up next Christmas.

Christmas themed posts:
How does Santa spend his free time?
Christmas 'Higher Or Lower' Quiz
Free mp3! Santa arrives on the roof on Christmas Eve!

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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

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