Retro Toys - the 60s

Toys from the sixties were very much simpler that today. There was no electronics; the most sophisticated products were probably model racing cars. The choice of toys for children in the 60s was influenced by the times. Popular subjects television programmes and cinematic films were well represented in children's toys.

More basic games, such as darts and table tennis were popular. This was also the era of Airfix models and cap guns.

A selection of stuffed toys from the sixties, including Pinky and Perky and Sooty

The selection of stuffed toys from the 60s, above, features some popular TV characters. Second from the left are "Bendy" Pinky and Perky. Next to them is Sooty on a tricycle. The other bears are very typical of the 60s. The two tone look was popular.

A panda was also a popular children's toy in the 60s. Chi-Chi, the panda, arrived at London Zoo in 1958. She was to have gone to America, but was labelled "communist goods" and refused entry; so  she went to London Zoo instead. There was even an attempt at detente between pandas when Chi-Chi was introduced to An-An from Moscow Zoo but they did not get on! After Chi-Chi died in 1972, the Chinese Government made a present of two pandas, Ching-Ching and Chia-Chia, to the then British Prime Minister, Edward Heath.

Classic selection of toys from the 60s

This is a classic selection of toys from the 60s. The influence of the times can be seen in the toys people bought for children in the sixties. There are from top to bottom and left to right:

  • A slide projector, echoing the adult liking for slide film in the 60s;
  • Model aircraft kits;
  • Water colour paints;
  • Toy gun and holster set, the popularity of Westerns as a film genre made this a favourite boy's toy;
  • A building set for toddlers, which resembles sixties tower blocks;
  • A plastic tea set in contemporary style;
  • Xylophone;
  • A compendium of games;
  • A table tennis set;
  • A learn and play set for toddlers;
  • A dart board;
  • A western style toy rifle;
  • A cricket bat and stumps;
  • A model car racing circuit - still popular today and
  • A model railway set for toddlers

Most are very much a product of their times. The model cars have continue to have alluring appeal Scalectrix recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Is it still popular with children, or are fathers just recalling their youth?

Bikes and Z-Cars pedal car from the 60s

This selection of boy's and girl's bikes and a pedal car are also from the sixties. The bikes are very simple models without gears. The bike in the foreground has very dated leaver brakes. The other two bikes have cable brakes. Styling is based on adult bikes of the era, which was derived from the two-tone look of sixties cars. Note the two tone saddles and paintwork. The tyres are either white, or white-walled; again derived from automotive styling.

The pedal car is clearly inspired by the Z-Cars TV programme.   It also has white walled tyres.

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history