Humanities ? History & Culture The History of Toys Share Flipboard Email Print Briony Campbell/ Taxi/ Getty images History & Culture Inventions Famous Inventions Famous Inventors Patents & Trademarks Invention Timelines Computers & The Internet American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. our editorial process Mary Bellis Updated February 18, 2019 Toy manufacturers and toy inventors use both utility and design patents, along with trademarks and copyrights. In fact, many toys especially video games take advantage of all three types of intellectual property protection. Toys as "big business" did not begin until after the 1830s, when steamboats and steam trains improved the transportation and distribution of manufactured goods. Early toymakers used wood, tin, or cast iron to fashion horses, soldiers, wagons, and other simple toys. Charles Goodyear's method for "vulcanizing" rubber created another medium for manufacturing balls, dolls, and squeeze toys. Toy Manufacturers One example of a contemporary toy manufacturer is Mattel, an international company. Toy manufacturers produce and distribute most of our toys. They also research and develop new toys and buy or license toy inventions from inventors. Mattel began in 1945 as a garage workshop belonging to Harold Matson and Elliot Handler. Their business name "Mattel" was a combination of the letters of their last and first names, respectively. Mattel's first products were picture frames. However, Elliot started making dollhouse furniture from picture frame scraps. That proved to be such a success that Mattel switched to making nothing but toys. Electronic Toys In the early 1970s, Pong, the first patented video game was a great hit.?Nolan Bushnell?created Pong along with a company named Atari. Pong debuted in?arcades and was soon ported to home units. The games Space Invaders,?Pac-Man, and Tron followed. As technology advanced, the dedicated single game machine was replaced by programmable machines that allowed different games to be played simply by exchanging a cartridge. Inventions in circuitry and miniaturization in the early 1980s produced handheld games. Nintendo, a Japanese electronics company, along with many others, moved into the video game market. Home computers created a market for games that were versatile, action-packed, challenging, and diverse. As our technology progresses, so does the complexity and diversity of our amusements. Once, toys simply reflected everyday life and activities. Today, toys create new ways of living and teach us to adapt to changing?technologies and inspire us to follow our dreams. The History of Specific Toys From Barbie to the yo-yo, learn more about how your favorite toy was invented Barbie DollCrayonsEtch-A-SketchFrisbeeHacky SackHula HoopLEGOMr. Potato HeadPlay-DohPuzzles, Board and Card GamesSilly PuttyTeddy BearsComputer and Video GamesYo-Yo ?