Thursday, February 02, 2012

It Ain't Easy Being Green

A short history into one of America's most classic toys.

You have probably played with one, once or twice in your life, perhaps even blew one up with a firecracker but have you ever thought about the history behind one of America's most classic toys?

Almost 75 years ago the first American plastic army men started to be manufactured. Originally manufactured by a company call Beton, they were painted like their metal figure originators. It wasn't until after WWII, these men took on the classic green style they are known for today. 

By the 1950's the popularity of these toys started to really take off, soon companies started to create play-sets and additional figurines like farmers, cowboys, and policemen. At the height of their popularity in the 1960's, the Army men were being sold for about a penny a piece. It was also during this time these green men took on different colors to represent opposing armies. French was designated Blue, British/Khaki, German/Grey and Japanese/Yellow.

By the 1970's the toys interest did start to fade due to the rising cost of plastic and the backlash of the Vietnam War. But 40 years later these classic toys can still be found in every kid's toy collection. They might stick out against their iPads, Wii's and Lego Sets but never the less a part of most children's childhood.

Some Fun Facts: 
  • Time Magazine named these toys #13 on the 100 all time greatest toys 
  • They stand about 2.2 inches tall 
  • These toys came to life in 1995's Toy Story 
  • There is an edible version 
  • Usually sold in two colors representing opposing sides 
  • Are considered "Toys" not "Models"  
  • Usually sold in plastic bags or buckets
  • Most commonly modeled after an American Solider with a M1 Steel Helmet
By: Kristy Dineen @ Rothco

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