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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • TAKE A KODAK, c. 1930s

Toyland: 1953

Toyland: 1953

From around 1953 comes this color transparency, possibly shot by Charlotte Brooks for the Look magazine assignment "Christmas Toys," and definitely a future exhibit in the Baby Boomer Museum. View full size.

 

Big orange boxcar

The large scale boxcar the boy is sitting on is a Smith Miller product and was made from pressed steel. The roof lifts off to be a toy box. Smith Miller made large scale truck toys and this seem to be their only railroad toy.

Little Red Wagon

I don't know if other states had their versions, but when we lived in Port Arthur, Texas, in the early 1960s, we had a Texas Ranger red wagon, as shown in this photo.

Probably sold at Western Auto, as that was where my dad bought most everything.

December 15, 1953

Look magazine ran series of photographs of 'A Child's World of Toys' that featured American Flyer Trains, Marx Doll Houses and other dolls, boats and cars. It is notable that not one of the toys featured in that issue of the magazine is included in the above photograph. Look certainly featured American Flyer Trains in their photo shoot but did give a nod to Lionel Trains as well. American Flyer had 6 full pages of advertising in the same issue compared to 0 ad space for Lionel. Maybe that influenced the Publisher and Editor.

That sure looks like Sheriff Woody and his horse

from the modern animated series Toy Story, in the middle right in that Humpty Dumpty circus tent. I would not be surprised if that particular toy was the inspiration for the animated character, because from what I can see they sure look similar.

As for myself, I had a Radio Flyer wagon identical to the one in the photo and my parents probably did not get rid of it until we moved to Italy in the early 1960's. I still recall sitting in that on one knee and propelling myself with the other leg, steering with the tow bar like some little maniac. Sure brings back memories!

Frequent Flyers

In addition to the Radio Flyer wagon, we have a wonderful American Flyer train. Looks like a GM GP-7 diesel switch engine. Not too sure about the box car, but the caboose is one of the illuminated ones. The couplers on the train place it at 1952 or earlier.

No batteries required

The good old days of toys. Growing up in the '60s, I got a Radio Flyer wagon for Christmas, just like that one, bought from a local sporting goods store. All steel construction with solid rubber tires.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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