Archive for the ‘Toys’ Category

Want One!


Note that Santa is dressed in blue, he was originally, before the advertising agencies started to take interest in him – Ted 😉

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….. but haven’t got the money 😉

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A board game played by German soldiers in the trenches of World War One is giving modern computer games a run for their money – how has it managed to stay so popular for so long?

There is, we know, a very big centenary under way. In Germany 100 years ago there was a momentous development, and the revolution that ensued is being marked with great fervour in village halls up and down the land.

People sit down around tables. There is discussion and there are moments of reflection, punctuated with loud altercation.

I refer, of course, to the invention of the board game Mensch Aergere Dich Nicht. It was devised a century ago and became popular among German troops in the trenches.

Families back home ordered games from the manufacturer, who would then despatch them straight to the frontline.


The game was invented by Josef Friedrich Schmidt, an employee of the city of Munich who had three bored children to entertain at home. He devised the game with dice and counters and played it happily with an ever-widening circle, including his neighbours’ children.

After a couple of years of this amateur fun, he decided to put it on the market. It only took off during World War One.

Schmidt had the very bright idea of making hundreds of copies of the game and giving them to hospitals used by the war-wounded. Sales haven’t slowed down in the succeeding century.

There is, I think, something very German about the stubborn refusal of its citizens to move with the times. Of course, Germans embrace lots of aspects of modernity – "Vorsprung durch Technik" (Progress through technology) – but one of the charms of the place is that old habits die hard.


I shake hands with my colleague every morning and evening. There is a bakery on every street. We eat a proper lunch – a beef stew in the canteen, with sprouts.

They cook seasonally too – goose with red cabbage on the menu in restaurants at Christmas, cured herring in June, Pfifferlinge – a type of fine mushroom – in late August, pumpkin or Kuerbis in October.

There is a heart-warming eschewing of newness for the sake of it.

In the finance ministry the lifts are ancient. They are those open lifts which continually move in a belt and which you step onto with some trepidation, I find. Old-fashioned but effective – a fitting symbol for a finance ministry.

The German way: Improve what works but keep what pleases people – like a board game.

It comforted shell-shocked lads 100 years ago and it is giving computer games a run for their money today. How comforting.

Text and images from BBC NEWS magazine

Take a good look at the picture above of the family playing the game. Dad looks like a little kid enjoying himself and the rest of the family looks bored way into the soporific. But in Germany dads are still the boss, if he wants to play, they play – Ted

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A splendid plan published in Modern Mechanix in July 1931   958_chute

Build This Monorail Bathing Chute for Thrills

As a thrill producer, it will be hard to beat this monorail bathing chute. Erected on a hill sloping down to a beach, it will send you flying out into the water at a breathtaking speed. Construction is very simple.

BATHING weather prompts many novel means of sport in the water such as diving slides, swings, etc., but here is a regular “shoot the chute” in simplified form with which loads of sport can be obtained and all at a minimum cost.

In laying out plans for the chute try and find a spot of land with a long gradual dip towards the bathing beach or swimming hole. Several hundred feet will furnish the greatest amount of fun, but it should have a hundred-foot stretch at least.

The track can be constructed entirely of ordinary hemlock or spruce boards six inches wide and 7/8 inches thick. The accompanying sketches show just how to put it together. Use short lengths of board laid end to end, the joints meeting over posts sunk into the ground at the proper height to give the track a nice even bearing to the slider.

Plans and description in jpg HERE

Found at: blog.modernmechanix.com

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Patent print for a board game apparatus called Monopoly filed August 31, 1935. Sheet 1 of 7. Inventor Charles B Darrow.

I’m a real shark at Monopoly, no one wants to play it with me anymore even though I’ve got a luxury version from Franklin Mint – Ted 😦


Patent print from etsy

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876_bowBows are among the oldest weapons in the world, yet an amazing thing was only recently discovered about them. Through mathematical analysis, laboratory investigation, high-speed photography, and painstaking field tests, it was found that the famous English long bow, after which practically all target bows are patterned, does not have the most efficient shape. Its beautifully rounded limbs are a delight to the eye, but the best cross section for a bow is something much simpler—just a plain rectangle. This discovery led to the development of the modern American flat bow, one easily made variety of which is described here.

When the white man provided the American Indian with a cheap trade musket in place of his native bow and arrow, he saved himself a good deal of grief, for had the red man developed his weapon along a logical path he might have arrived at an approximation of the bow we now know as the "semi-Indian," "flat," or "American" bow. With such a bow he could have shot with accuracy at a hundred yards (about the extreme accurate range of the long rifle), and could have delivered arrows faster than any frontier scout could load his rifle.

Drawings and plans in pdf format –> pdf_thumb

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Summer is here, at least on my side of the blue planet so it’s time to don the Bermuda shorts and head for the croquet field. And what better to play with than a set you’ve made yourself – Plans in pdf format HERE

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794_miss friday

Say hello to Miss Friday everyone. Miss Friday is a busy battery powered typist who works all day and presumably was meant as a toy for girls. Not exactly action man, and a toy at least my own daughters would found boring after about 17 seconds at the age a toy like this would have been a suitable present – Ted 😉

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And If I Were …


… blind I bet I would play the piano. Holy Crap, what a mindlessly stupid ad – Ted

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page_illThis single-stick airplane model of simple parts is so designed that it can be converted into twenty different types of flying models. It opens new fields for the model enthusiast to conquer. Through building it, the beginner can master a variety of construction methods while actually expending the time and material necessary to make only one. model; and the expert can adapt the principles for use on any pet model of his own. To the best of the writer’s knowledge, the model is the first of its type.

Descriptions and plans in
jpg and pdf format

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I remember well the Christmas I got my slot car set, my dad and my uncle played with it all night and I had to get up before dawn on the 25th to get my first try – Ted 😉
(In Norway we open our presents on the 24th)

Image found on Paul Malon’s Flickr photostream

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This post featuring the deluxe Nancy Pearl librarian action figure with the amazing push-button shushing action is particularly for my girlfriend who has recently finished her librarian studies. Not that she looks anything like Nancy Pearl nor dress like her nor is she the shushing kind.
On the other hand it’s nice to know that even a sedate occupation like being a librarian can end up as an action figure and that this might make children interested in books and in reading – Ted

Image found at “Library Fangirl

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I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

I loved LEGO as a kid, could play with it for hours on end so my respect for the company as a grown man is great. Having said as much I’m not sure the idea to make a Blade Runner set was one of their finest moments. The quote and the image above sort of don’t go all that well together – Ted

Image found at “Aarsbog World” – The quote found in calligraphy on the wall in my studio.

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I found this cut out PhotoShop fun at “death becomes her” a couple of weeks ago and this is how long I managed to keep myself from trying it out – Ted

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Article from Modern Mechanix July, 1931 found at “blog.modernmechanix.com

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Daddy Saddle


I have two daughters who would have loved this one, fortunately they never knew of it’s existence when they were kids. Now they’re 21 and 23 and too big and too old for games like this. My girlfriend on the other hand will see this when it gets posted and I’m not quite sure about her.

Before I know it I might end up like the bloke here and he’s not enjoying himself, far from it, poor sod – Ted 😉

Top image found at “Living in a retro world” Bottom image found at “Formicarius

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