The 1970s may be known as the ‘decade that taste forgot’ but it also gave us some of the most iconic toys in the history of popular culture. Toys became much more exciting and versatile in the late 1960s and early 1970s, thanks to various technological advancements and the influence of sci-fi shows and electronic music. Let’s explore the 1970s most talked-about toys right now.
1. MAGNA DOODLE
The Magna Doodle was a magnetic drawing toy operated by a stylus. It’s thought that more than 40 million Magna Doodles have been sold over the years. The toy was first launched in 1974 by Tyco, which was later purchased by Mattel, who sold it as part of their Fisher-Price range of products. The toy is still available today and is now sold by Cra-Z-Art. Drawing boards are now available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and brands, from Disney to Despicable Me. The toy has even used underwater by scuba instructors, although it was not designed for such uses.
Pong was one of the world’s first ever video games consoles and first entered the market in 1975. The console only played one game, Pong itself, which was first available in arcades from 1972. The 2D table tennis game tasked players with moving a paddle across one half of the screen. Paddles were used to hit balls, and the winning player was the first to hit eleven points.
3. HOT WHEELS
Hot Wheels paved the way in the world of diecast cars
and vehicles, offering a wide range of vehicles to suit any occasion. Ranging from 1:64, 1:43, 1:18 and 1:50 in scale, Hot Wheels Cars
have been very popular for the last 60 years. The first vehicle was made by Elliot Handler and was designed as a trick car, and 16 casting were released. Hot Wheels have gone one to make a wide range of popular cars and vehicles, and it is estimated that 41 million children have played with their toys.
4. PET ROCK
Believe it or not, the Pet Rock really was one of the most popular and sought-after toys of its era. Pet Rocks were stones sourced from Rosarito Beach in Mexico and came in special cardboard boxes with breathing holes and straw. The Pet Rock was a short-lived fad that lasted around half a year. 1.5 million rocks were sold before the item was discontinued in early 1976. The rocks even came with a 32-page training manual for the Pet Rock, despite the fact that it was an inanimate object rather than a genuine pet. The rock was reintroduced to the market in 2012.
Weebles have now been around for the best part of fifty years and are known for their slogan “weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”. Weebles resembling people, animals and other figures have been created over the years. The toys were first unveiled by Hasbro in 1971 and have been relaunched on a number of occasions. Hasbro created new, larger Weebles in the early 2010s. Many accessories for Weebles have been introduced to the market, including furniture, buildings and cars.
6. CONNECT FOUR
The two-player game Connect Four was first issued in 1974. The object of the game is to be the first to create a line of four discs in the same colour, though it is possible to draw a game if the board fills up before this is achieved. It is now possible to play Connect Four over the internet, and many large versions have been created for outdoor use. Connect 4 is very popular in the games & puzzles world, people have spent thousands of hours playing with it all over the world.
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What is your favourite toy from your childhood?