The sale of items from the legendary late collector set new participation records for a Sotheby’s UK auction.
The Ideal Toy Company was an American toy manufacturer which operated from 1907 until 1997.
About the company
The company was founded in 1907 as The Ideal Novelty and Toy Co, was most notable for producing the first toy teddy bears in 1903 (whose success led to the founding of the company).
The Ideal Toy Company officially disappeared in the mid-1980s, but many companies still produce the toys and games that made it famous.1
Examples include the Magic 8-ball and Rubik's Cube, which continue to be manufactured by Mattel Inc.
Main article: Teddy Bears
In 1903, newspaper stories of President Theodore Roosevelt's refusal to shoot a defenceless bear while out hunting inspired Clifford Berryman, then a cartoonist for The Washington Post, to sketch a small, bewildered, tethered bear with the president turning away in disdain.
The cartoon appeared on the front page of the Post on November 16 over the caption, “Drawing the Line in Mississippi, and proved an instant hit with readers.
In New York City, Rose Michtom, the wife of Brooklyn candy store owner Morris Michtom – both Russian Immigrants – made two stuffed teddy bears. Her husband put them in his window at $1.50 each with a sign calling them “Teddy’s Bears.”
The bears proved such a success that the Michtoms, both Russian immigrants, established the Ideal Toy Co. to keep up with demand.2
Betsy Wetsy and Tiny Tears
In 1934, an unusual new doll was introduced by the Ideal Toy Company: Betsy Wetsy, a doll that could drink and wet.
Betsy Wetsy made it possible for girls to go about changing wet diapers on the doll. The doll remained popular into the 1950s and is sought by collectors today.
A similar doll that became popular in the 1950s was Tiny Tears. Another product of Ideal, this doll also drank but produced tears when her belly was squeezed.3
In 1967, the Ideal Toy Company was the first organisation to market the company KerPlunk. Consisting of a plastic tube, plastic rods called straws and a number of marbles in which players remove the straws without allowing the marbles to drop in the tube. The game remains popular to this day.4
List of Ideal toys
Main article: List of Ideal toys
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