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Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them Hardcover – October 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; First Edition edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0740755714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0740755712
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 11.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tim Walsh, co-inventor of the TriBond and Blurt board games, which together have sold more than four million copies in 13 countries, believed in his "toys story" so intensely that he first self-published The Playmakers. Tim sold 10,000 copies at $50 each through mail order and local distribution, after major book publishers rejected the book again and again. That same dogged determination brought this Sarasota, Fla.-based writer to AMP.

More About the Author

As a kid, I always had WHAM-O toys close at hand. At the epicenter of our household was the kitchen junk drawer filled with a hodgepodge of writing utensils, batteries, flashlights, nail clippers, a tube of SuperElasticBubblePlastic, and an assortment of SuperBalls. Yet this stuff was anything but junk. On the contrary, these were items that couldn't be 'put away' for fear that they might be needed at a moment's notice. If I needed a little bounce in my step, SuperBall was there.

Our garage held the larger WHAM-O playthings. Assorted Frisbee discs, a Trac Ball set, a water-stained Slip 'n Slide box, all at the ready. A Hula Hoop hung from the bicycle rack. The closet just off the garage contained wrapping paper, party supplies, and a can of Silly String. At any given moment, my brothers, sisters, and I were within a few feet of fun. The potential for play was palpable.

I discovered things while at play. I learned that a Frisbee could actually rise on a summer breeze and elevate my mood right along with it. I found out that the sticky mud and itchy grass plastered to my skin could be absolutely ignored if I happened to be standing in a neighborhood line of friends waiting for another trip down the Slip 'n Slide. And I learned, after discovering SuperBall's lethal second bounce the hard way (with a welt on my cheek to prove it), that playing with it thrilled me even more. There was something about its danger that enticed me to take my lumps and, like my favorite boyhood ball, bounce right back.

'We're always seeking what we call 'the magical degree of amazement' in our products,' WHAM-O co-founder Rich Knerr once said. Can you recall the first time you saw a Frisbee float in midair or saw someone spin a Hula Hoop in defiance of gravity? Ever see a group of kids giggle with glee while being chased by a Water Wiggle? Maybe an Air Blaster astonished you or a Wheelie-Bar made you stare in wonder. If a WHAM-O toy ever wowed you, then WHAM-O Super-Book is the book for you.

Rich Knerr and his lifelong friend and WHAM-O partner, Spud Melin, squeezed every drop of fun they could from life and it showed in all that they gave us. Their TV ads were fun. Their print ads were fun. Their hit toys were fun. Their fads, and even their flops, were fun. For sixty years the family culture they created has endured through the massive number of Hacky Sack and Frisbee fans who share that family bond.

Rich Knerr, his daughter, Lori Knerr, and Spud's widow, Suzy Melin, generously gave me something that I have tried to share in these pages. After reading this book, it's my hope that you too will feel welcomed into the WHAM-O family.

Customer Reviews

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This is a hard cover, full-color, coffee table sized book.
Allan Bedford
The author has created an excellent book covering the most popular toys of the 20th Century.
J. Guild
A book for everyone to enjoy, Timeless Toys is a pleasure to read through.
Harold McFarland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Allan Bedford on December 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It took me only a few moments of flipping through this book to realize how much fun it would be to read. After staying up much too late that same night reading the book in greater depth I knew that my initial reaction had been correct. This text isn't just a dry history of toys and games, but instead is a collection of fabulous childhood memories woven together with smiles and giggles. If you had even a couple of these playthings when you were growing up you are sure to find great interest in those and the write-ups on many others.

Before I talk further about what's in the book I want to make mention of the overall look and feel of the book itself. This is a hard cover, full-color, coffee table sized book. But the brilliant design of the book ensure that it won't sit on your coffee table for very long. It begs to be picked up and examined. The pictures are large, sharp and reproduced in vivid colors. Even the dust jacket deserves a special mention. It uses a special fold at the top and bottom that has left room for extra info and a quiz to be printed. The nearly 300 thick glossy pages mean that this is a heavy book. Don't worry though, you'll have so much fun reading it you'll never notice!

Now a bit more about what's inside...

The contents are arranged chronologically, with special sections in the middle for toys from WHAM-O and designer Marvin Glass. These sections don't break up the flow of the book at all, but rather fit nicely with all of the other entries. Each toy, game or plaything includes information about the year of debut, the inventor, the company or companies that produced it and so on. The text is arranged in a two-column per page format but wraps around the pictures and illustrations as needed.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A book for everyone to enjoy, Timeless Toys is a pleasure to read through. The author details the development of classic toys from the 1900s through the 1990s. For each toy the author includes who created it, when it debuted, the various companies that produced it, changes in design, the trials the inventor went through getting it to market, how the toy changed over time, and a lot of other fascinating facts. Some of the toys detailed in the book include Lionel Trains, the Teddy Bear, Erector set, Radio Flyer wagon, Monopoly, Slinky, Clue, Silly Putty, Frisbee, Hula Hoop, Super Ball, Lite-Brite, Etch A Sketch, Lego, Uno, Rubik's Cube, Trivial Pursuit, and Super Soaker. What a great way to bring an older generation and younger generation together through the classic toys common to both and an ability to share toys of the past with children of today. A thoroughly enjoyable read complete with many photographs and illustrations, Timeless Toys is highly recommended for the child in all of us.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Megan Romer on November 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Invented Them is one of the most beautiful books about toys and games that I've ever seen. Walsh looked at the history of nearly every major toy and game invented in this century. He covers the history of Teddy Bears, Crayolas, Tonkas, Play-Doh, Crossword Puzzles, Mr. Potato Head, Frisbees, Etch-A-Sketch, G.I. Joes, and so many more. Whatever your favorite toy during childhood was, you'll probably find the history of it and the people who invented it in this book.

I love that the book not only takes a look at the games themselves, but also at the real people who invented them and the stories behind them. Sometimes they're touching, sometimes they're silly. They're all interesting, though, and they'll bring you a new appreciation of all the toys and games you've always loved.

I can't emphasize enough how beautiful and interesting this book is. When we first got it, we actually argued over who got to read it first ("But Honey! I have to read it! For work!"). It's been sitting on my coffee table ever since, and every adult who has been in our living room has picked it up and become completely engrossed. Pick it up and see for yourself!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roger L. Schlaifer on July 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As a toy inventor I was surprised when I first saw the book by how beautifully designed it was as well as the extraordinary quality of the photography. On further examination, it greatly surpassed my first impression with its fascinating stories and (truly astonishing), that it got its facts right!

In addition to the fun of seeing all those cool looking toys and taking a nostalgic look back over the last century, it's an historical tribute to American and American immigrant's genius and hard work that has given us all so much pleasure.

treat yourself and your friends to this fine book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alan W. Petrucelli on December 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A typical child between the ages of two and nine spends 28 minutes each day coloring --- and wears the nub 730 crayons by the time he or she turns 10. Frank Lloyd Wright's son John invented Lincoln Logs. In 1908, Dr. A.. C. Gilbert won a U.S. gold medal at the Olympics --- the same doctor who invented Erector sets. Think of this as timeless trivia that's part of the appeal of Tim Walsh's delightful book. Filled with hundreds of color photos of classic toys as well as archival photos and vintage ads, Timeless Toys demands playtime for the young-at-heart. Your move.
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