Explore the Evolution of American Pop Culture Through a Century of Toy Ads

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From the arcade games of the 1980s to the Tamagotchis of the '90s and early 2000s, there are a handful of toys that helped define each generation. And in TASCHEN's new book, Toys. 100 Years of All-American Toy Ads, authors Jim Heimann and Steven Heller examine the country's cultural evolution through the lens of the toy industry.

Toys, now available for pre-order, gathers together 100 years of ads, ranging from easily forgotten trinkets to iconic favorites like the Slinky and Silly Putty. Spanning 528 pages, this book details how advancements in manufacturing, combined with a growing middle-class, created a perfect storm for consumers and helped the industry take hold for decades.


From World War I through the roaring '20s and into the post-World War II baby boom, you'll see how agencies shifted their advertising strategies to pinpoint the latest trends. The humble Army toys of the '40s and '50s slowly give way to video game consoles and massive playsets by the time the '80s roll around. And while you can chart the improved technology and the changing interests of the market, the backbone of the industry—colorful, eye-catching ads aims at kids—remains consistent.

p. 447, Nature House, 1971
p. 447, Nature House, 1971 / Jim Heimann, Collection/Courtsey TASCHEN

Jump back into your childhood and see which toys you remember and which ones didn't stand the test of time. This book is available for pre-order through the publisher TASCHEN for $40, to be released in May 2021. You can also pre-order through Amazon for $40 for a June 16 release.

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