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The 25 Craziest Toy Fads in History

Let's dig up some amazing toy fads from decades past!

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The Duncan Yo-Yo



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The Duncan Toys Company purchased the Flores Yo-Yo Company from Pedro Flores, who brought the yo-yo to the United States from the Philippines in 1912. Thanks to putting on competitions throughout the country, Duncan popularized the yo-yo toy quickly, and it became a fad in no time. Figure out the most popular toy from the year you were born.

Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.


Parker Brothers Inc. Monopoly Game



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Back in 1935, Charles Darrow patented the real estate board game Monopoly, and by 1936, it became a popular present during the holiday season. It is now the most played board game in the world, according to Guinness. Fun fact: In 1941, the British Secret Intelligence Service had John Waddington Ltd., the licensed manufacturer of the game in the United Kingdom, create a special edition for WW2 prisoners of war held by the Nazis. Maps, compasses, real money and other objects to help them escape were tucked inside the games. These childhood toys are worth thousands today.


James Industries Slinky


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In 1943, mechanical engineer Richard James invented the Slinky by accident. While working on devising a spring to hold shipboard marine torsion meters steady, some of the samples fell off a shelf. James watched in amazement as the springs gracefully "walked" down, instead of tumbling. He and his wife Betty then developed a successful plan to turn his invention into the next big novelty toy. If you want to make money in the future, by these cheap items that will be worth a fortune later.

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Hasbro Inc. Mr. Potato Head



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Inventor George Lerner created a set of silly face parts as bonuses for cereal box promotions. Hasbro, Inc. acquired his creation in 1952, with the original package including eyes, a nose, mouth, and ears. There were 28 different plastic facial features in all, as well as a Styrofoam head for kids to practice making wacky expressions.

mattel barbiePaolo Bona/Shutterstock

Mattel Barbie


Look up "1959 Barbie" and you might be surprised to find that the original doll is being sold for thousands of dollars! Drawing inspiration from a doll she saw on a trip to Germany, Ruth Handler created Barbara Millicent Roberts in 1959. It might pay to have kept your old Barbie, these vintage Barbie dolls are worth a fortune today.

hungry hungry hipposvia

Milton Bradley Hungry Hungry Hippos



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Also referred to as "the frantic marble munching game," Hungry Hungry Hippos came to be in 1978. The Milton Bradley game was imported stateside from Japan by toy inventor Fred Kroll. Kroll also created the game Trouble. These items in your house could be worth money.

rubrik's cubevia

Rubik's Cube



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Originally called the Magic Cube, the puzzle was created by Erno Rubik, a professor at Budapest's Academy of Applied Arts and Design. Rubik often built geometric models, and one of them, a 27-piece cube was marketed in Hungary in 1977. By 1980, it was frustrating millions of Americans. It was licensed to the Ideal Toy Corp in 1980.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by AP/Shutterstock (6302228b) A doll created by mountain artist Xavier Roberts, whose "Little People" made him a millionaire, is expanding his line to include the "Cabbage Patch Kids" shown at his home in Cleveland, Ohio, United States in 1983 USA Cleveland International Cabbage Patch Kid, Cleveland, USAvia

Coleco Cabbage Patch Kids



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One of America's longest-running doll lines, the Cabbage Patch Kids are soft sculptured doll-like creatures sold by Xavier Roberts. Roberts came up with the idea as a 21-year-old art student, when he utilized the quilting skills he learned from his mother and the historic technique of "needle molding" to develop his own line of fabric sculptures. The dolls were first manufactured by Coleco, then Hasbro, Mattel and eventually Wicked Cool Toys.

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American Greetings/Kenner Toys Care Bears



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The Care Bears, a fictional group of multi-colored bear characters, were originally created by artist Elena Kucharik in 1981 to be used on American Greetings cards. The characters went on to become a toy fad in 1985, which then inspired TV programs and films. Today, there are 218 Care Bears. Also, check out the most popular book from the year you were born.

game boyrobtek/Shutterstock

Nintendo GameBoy


GameBoy revolutionized video games, taking the game from the couch to the streets. The first eight-bit handheld video game system to utilize cartridges, GameBoy was the brainchild of long-time Nintendo employee Gunpei Yokoi.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman