Tag Archives: Steiff soft toys 1980s

FAO Schwarz – The Unique Toy Store

FAO Schwarz was established in 1862 and was one of the oldest store toy stores in the world. With a spirit similar to that of the UK’s Hamleys FAO Schwarz (FAO = Frederick August Otto) offered children and parents a choice of high quality and long-lasting toys, games, hobbies, books and crafts. By 1980 the company had evolved from their 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

Toy shop snap shot: Hamleys of Regent Street London W.1.

Peter and Jane: We Have Fun. Lady Bird Books. 1964 / 2004.

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!

The 1983 Christmas Book of Toys, Sports and Games by Hamleys. Front and rear cover. The front ‘cover subject’ is “Toy Lady” while the back features one of Hamleys famous bears.

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