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The History of Tinkertoys

Tinkertoys were created in the early 1910s by a stonemason named Charles Pajeau and his partner, Robert Petit. The men were inspired by watching children create abstract shapes using sticks, pencils, and old spools of thread. They created Tinkertoy by adding holes on all sides of a round wooden wheel and included specially sized sticks in the set. Shop owners then promoted the toy with elaborate store displays, which helped fuel its popularity. Tinkertoys were originally intended for younger boys, but after 1919, the toys added an electric motor component and instructions for creating elaborate mechanical tools like printing presses, lathes, airplanes, and power saws. This attracted older children who were interested in engineering. Colors were added to Tinkertoys in the 1950s and after Playskool acquired the toy in 1985, they redesigned it in 1992 using brightly colored plastic parts. They also reworked the packaging so that each set was designed to create particular objects. Today, Tinkertoys remain a beloved item for many children and adults alike.

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