Culture Trips

Toy stories: 100 years of American toy adverts – in pictures | Life and style

From electric train sets to Arnold Schwarzenegger action heroes, a new book from Taschen brings together American toy adverts of the 20th century. “Whenever you ask someone, ‘What was your favourite toy?’, there’s an immediate response – everybody had one,” says co-author Jim Heimann. Print adverts for toys are rare now, but these images preserve a snapshot of the society that produced them. At the start of the book, which is chronological, boys are advertised guns and adventures, while girls are sold dolls and kitchenware; gradually, attitudes (and adverts) start to shift. “I wanted to show how toys reflected what was happening at the time,” says Heimann. “It definitely does tell a story.”

Toys: 100 Years of All-American Toy Ads by Jim Heimann and Steven Heller is published by Taschen (£30) on 9 April

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