Toys and Games
Amazing Skill with Unseen Strings gives life to Most Famous Puppets (Jun, 1933)

Amazing Skill with Unseen Strings gives life to Most Famous Puppets

Thirty Operators Working Eighteen Miles of Wire and String Are Needed to Give a Performance with the 800 Animated Actors that Are Cleverly Molded of Wood

By Robert E. Martin

EIGHT hundred performers, moved by miles of wires and string, are now touring the country presenting the most elaborate puppet show of history. Known as the Teatro dei Piccoli, “The Theater of the Little Ones,” the organization has spent eighteen years in Italy building up its cast. Tap dancers and opera singers, witches and clowns, , bull fighters and pianists, acrobats and jubilee singers, and even a Mickey Mouse give animated performances, amazingly lifelike.

Cubic Jig-Saw Puzzle (May, 1933)

Novel Jig-Saw Puzzle MADE IN FORM OF CUBE

By George S. Greene

THIS new and unusual type of jigsaw puzzle forms a cube when assembled and has a different picture on each of its six sides. When the parts are spread out and well shuffled on the table, they resemble those of an ordinary picture puzzle, except that some of the pieces have no indication of pictures on them at all to aid in the assembly.

Train Rolls Through Maze of Wires on Suspended Track (Dec, 1955)

Train Rolls Through Maze of Wires on Suspended Track

SOMETHING DIFFERENT—that was the goal of Philip Karr and his son David, of Milwaukee, Wis., when they decided to build a model-railroad layout. They achieved it by suspending the rails from the ceiling joists on wires. Now they have a multilevel layout that can easily be changed by lengthening or shortening the wires. Chains anchored to a table under the layout prevent any side sway of the tracks. The layout contains 84 feet of track, supported by plywood strips at the joints. From a distance the track appears to be floating in mid-air.

Dashing Barrel-Body Chariot Thrills the Backyard Warrior (Nov, 1938)

What, no whip?

Dashing Barrel-Body Chariot Thrills the Backyard Warrior
Here’s a chariot you can make for the children that will provide lots of fun for them and their friends. All you need is a barrel and a pair of wheels from a coaster wagon or even an old baby carriage. Cut the barrel as indicated and put reinforcing strips of flat iron inside the barrel opposite each hoop, screwing both the hoops and the strips to each stave. The axle of the wheels is mounted on the barrel bottom with iron brackets, after which the tongue is attached as indicated. It’s a good idea to sandpaper all of the edges carefully to avoid any possibility of splinters and then give the chariot a couple of coats of bright-colored paint.

Have Fun With This Chariot-Type Tricycle Trailer (Dec, 1950)

Have Fun With This Chariot-Type Tricycle Trailer

Rolling along on semipneumatic wheels, this little trailer will double the enjoyment the youngsters get from their tricycles. The frame, rail and tongue are all bent from thin-wall conduit, either by using a standard pipe bender or by filling the conduit with sand, plugging the ends and then bending by hand. The trailer-hitch bolt engages a hole drilled in a piece of flat iron which is bolted to the tricycle-seat frame. The wheels are fastened with cotter pins or the axle is drilled and tapped for attaching them with roundheaded screws

POO-POO PILLOW (Apr, 1936)

I must say I like the term “Whoopie Cushion” better than “Poo-Poo Pillow”. In an appropriate error my OCR program recognized “fast-selling” as “fast-soiling”.


Place this under a cushion or newspaper before someone sits down, WOW! a most embarrassing sound results! A SCREAM FOR PARTIES, DANCES, AUTO-SEATS, etc. Durable rubber. Sample only 25c, postpaid. Send for FREE catalog of fast-selling Specialties. AGENTS WANTED!

3225 W. Crystal St., Dept. 335, Chicago

The Art of Making Lifelike Marionette Bodies (Feb, 1936)

The Art of Making Lifelike Marionette Bodies

Materials and tools . . . Various types of joints . . . Costuming . . . How to string puppets . . . Hints on their manipulation

By Florence Fetherston Drake

Lifelike MARIONETTE bodies may be made in several ways for use with heads of the type described last month (P. S. M., Jan. ’36, p. 57):

1. Sewed and stuffed with kapok or cotton, and weighted.
2. Papier-mache shell bodies, filled and weighted.
3. Of wood (scrap pieces and dowel sticks) whittled to shape.
4. Best of all, carved from softwood, but this takes more knowledge and artistry than the others and therefore should follow experiments with one of the simpler methods.


Here are two simple designs of midget trailers that can be towed by foot-operated juvenile autos or carts. The one at the right is exceptionally easy to build. Sides, seat and floor are plywood while the front and back may be sheet metal. With circular holes in the sides, and the latter cut to a pleasing contour as shown, the thing has a decided streamline effect. Still, there’s no top and the rider seems to project through the roof. For the more advanced young “trailerites” the “covered wagon,” shown below, may be preferred as it more closely simulates the real thing in that it has a roof and a hinged door through which riders have access to the inferior. This one, also, is built mostly of plywood on suitable framing. In both cases a pair of coaster-wagon wheels, preferably of the pneumatic-tire type, are used for comfortable riding

Fairy Tales Come to Life (Mar, 1952)

Fairy Tales Come to Life

Children’s Fairyland in Lakeside Park. Oakland, Calif., includes Noah’s Ark which houses a pair of very active monkeys and floats in a small lagoon.

The Little Red Schoolhouse is the home of Carrie, the black sheep and Mary’s little lamb plus mama. Eighteen sets spread over two acres, cost $50,000.

Toys and Ideas Fill Kids’ Rumpus Room (Nov, 1947)

My siblings and I would have loved a room like this. I do have a minor quibble with the characterization of a 12×18 as “minimal”. That’s bigger than any room in my house by quite a bit.

Toys and Ideas Fill Kids’ Rumpus Room

A MODEL playroom—a child’s dream world from floor to ceiling—has been designed by architect Joseph Aronson for the American Toy Institute, research division of Toy Manufacturers of U.S.A., Inc. The idea of the 12- by 18-foot model room is to get the most out of maximum play area in minimum space in a way that the average home owner can duplicate, either in a whole room or in a corner of a bedroom. The model emphasizes elevated play areas and ample, easy-to-reach toy-storage space. A linoleum floor with inlaid patterns avoids the splinter hazard and doubles as a hopscotch field. Dust-catching decorations and sharp corners are eliminated, and bright colors add the finishing touch.