Originally called ‘Mechanics Made Easy’, Meccano is a popular and enduring toy construction set invented in 1901 by Frank Hornby from Liverpool, England. Due to its huge success and demand, Hornby opened factories around the world, one of which features in today’s post – the Bobigny factory in France, which in 1951 was producing more than half a million Meccano box sets a day!
Hamleys toy shop based in Regent Street, London, England, was founded in 1760 by William Hamley. It is the biggest and oldest toy shop in the world, and prides itself on selling not only traditional toys but newer toys that enter the market. Hamleys Book of Toys, Sports and Games, Christmas 1983 states
“Whilst traditional toys and dolls are as popular as ever, a vast revolution has nevertheless taken place in toyland. Electronic games and home computers have captured the imagination of children and their parents throughout the world.”
The Hamleys book goes on to announce the creation of a vast 4,000 sq. ft electronic games complex called ‘A Step Ahead’ with trained technology advisors on hand to guide customers through what surely must have been described back then as ‘video game heaven’.
Hamleys also announce another new department ‘Small World’ featuring international dolls furniture and miniatures, as well as extra space given over for their ground floor Star Wars department.
The 123 page Hamleys Christmas book is wonderfully presented with photographs and descriptive text, giving us a sense of not just what the toys looked like back in 1983 but what they did too, Enjoy the scans!
Hamleys “A Step Ahead” Electronic Games Complex
That’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed the scans. Thanks for looking 🙂
Further reading: A history of Hamleys by Hamleys
Developed by Denys Fisher in England in 1965, Spirograph is a creative design toy that uses gears, wheels and a pen to create 2D geometric patterns. The first sets were sold in the US by Kenner and soon became popular. Many different types of Spirograph sets have been sold around the world and continue to be sold today.
See also TVTA’s Cassette-O-Graph
Sam’s Toy Box has some great Spirograph sets.
I couldn’t find much information about this French drawing / design toy that seems to be based on another popular drawing / design toy, Spirograph. The ad states that Casset.O.Graph is from the same makers as SkeDoodle – which is yet another drawing / design toy that was similar to the massively popular Etch A Sketch… which is, erm, another drawing / design toy! Then there’s the Rotadraw, and Sketch-Master… phew!
If anyone has any info on the Casset.O.Graph then please send me a drawing / design, I mean a message 🙂