FAO Schwarz – The Unique Toy Store

FAO Schwarz was established in 1862 in New York and is one of the oldest toy stores in the world, in a spirit similar to that of the UK’s Hamleys.

FAO Schwarz (FAO = Frederick August Otto) offered children and parents a choice of quality and long-lasting toys, games, hobbies, books and crafts. By 1980 the company had evolved from their famous flagship 5th Avenue, New York store to twenty-eight stores across the US.

Below are scans taken from the Fall-Winter 1980-81 catalogue.

FAO Schwarz website and history

13 thoughts on “FAO Schwarz – The Unique Toy Store

  1. I put a link to your blog in my post because today’s post features a KISS ….toy…..something like that, and I thought that a) you might like to see it b) you might know more about it than I would c) people who like it might find some of the things on your blog interesting. I will take it down if you want me to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Spanishwoods, haha, for sure you can have two, and I’ll add you a playset and some costume changes too. It was funny seeing the giant Tinkertoy because I remember vaguely the smaller sets but had no idea they produced the giant versions… what fun they must have been.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi TVTA, I echo 2loud2oldmusic and Troy’s comments, there is something special about toy stores (and catalogue pages) even for me and I am past forty years old now!
    Also I am pleased to say I owned a Buck Rogers Starfighter and still have it to this day YAY! Sadly the Buck Rogers and Twiki figures have gone as have the mini projectiles but the wings still slide closed and pop open at the click of a button! So as Twiki would say, “Bi-De Bi-De Bi-De!! Thanks TVTA, what a guy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi FT, that’s great you still have the Starfighter! Looking at the scans I remember I had the flying helicoptor toy on its base, lots of Corgi cars, the Britains cavalry soldiers, the Mercedes Benz radio control car (mine was silver), and a few Playmobil figures. None of these toys has survived into my adulthood though. Back then I always wanted a Big Trak… and the good news is I finally have one after all these years 🙂 Look out for a post on this cool toy coming soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s fantastic news on Big Trak. I too hoped to get one but unfortunately missed out. A friend of mine did own one and it had the tipper trailer, we hauled all sorts of important freight including a tennis ball! Can’t wait to read your BT review!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Another fantastic post. So many memories. If someone ever solves the equation for time travel, toy stores in the 1980s will be some of the first places I visit. Until then, spectacular catalog pages like this will have to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Troy. Please book me a seat on that time trip to the 80s toy stores too! A thing I admire about companies such as FAO Schwarz, same as Hamleys, is the ‘complete toy experience’ they fostered – from quality stock to imaginative displays to the superb photos in their adverts and catalogues. Pure nostalgic joy to look back on.

      Liked by 1 person

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