When Did the First Plastic Toy Appear?

There have been many brilliant toy designers throughout history. Dolls, Play-Doh, and Mr. Potato Head are just a few of the most well-liked toys. Toys like this have evolved significantly since their infancy. These traditional toys have been recreated in plastic and are now widely available across the world.


Celluloid was the first synthetic plastic and was created in the United States. The mixture of nitrocellulose and camphor used to create it. It was a transparent substance that was frequently shaped or painted. It was a passable substitute for ivory and tortoiseshell and could be carved and decorated.

Celluloid was a cheaper alternative to rubber and other luxury materials in the early 1800s. Toys and ornaments were also made from it. It was a popular substitute for ivory in billiard ball production, among other things. Dolls were first created out of celluloid and were sold as toys.

In the last decades of the nineteenth century, several celluloid toys were produced. The bather doll, with her painted-on blonde hair, became rather popular.


Toys constructed from synthetic polymers first appeared in the eighteenth century. Wood and metal were not suited for manufacturing on a large scale. Their inherent flammability also rendered them unfit for use as playthings. Toys made from plastic were great since they were cheap and lightweight.

Man-made plastics began to take over the toy industry towards the end of the twentieth century. Toy manufacturing slowed with the start of World War Two, but businesses were able to respond to consumer demand. In the late 1940s, Fisher Price was the first to manufacture an entire line of plastic toys.

In 1869, the first celluloid film was made. It was constructed from organic components like cellulose nitrate. Toys for the tub, including as rattles, were crafted from it. The production of photographic film also relied on it. Yet it caught fire easily, thus it was outlawed in 1951.

The Potato-Head Man

Mr. Potato Head is a plastic toy that has been around since 1949. It was designed to look like a potato. It has modular components that can be swapped out and used with other potatoes. Potato is used for the head and styrofoam for the rest of the body.

Mr. Potato Head was the first plastic toy to sell one million copies. Toy designer George Lerner of Brooklyn, New York, is responsible for its creation. His innovation broke new ground by replacing flat parts with three-dimensional ones.

The fact that Mr. Potato Head was the first toy to be promoted on television is probably the most notable thing about him. A potato in a wagon with a kid was featured in the commercial.

Two eyes, four noses, and three caps came with the initial batch sold. Eight felt pieces shaped like facial hair were included in the first set.

Toys 'R' Us

While now commonly associated with play, Play Doh wasn't originally conceived out as a toy. Initially, it was designed to clean wallpaper. In the beginning, all you needed was flour, salt, and water to make it. Cardboard cans with metal bottoms were used to preserve its moisture while shipping.

Play Doh's creator, Joe McVicker, started marketing the product under a new name in the '50s. After that, we just called it "Rainbow Modeling Compound." In 1987, Tonka Company purchased the business.

Play Doh's popularity waned when wallpaper cleaner fell out of favor. The firm had a modest advertising budget, not nearly enough to run ads throughout the country. The corporation gave the production company that voiced Captain Kangaroo 2% of the gross. Play Doh quickly became a staple on children's television after its introduction on Captain Kangaroo.


Dolls have been influential in shaping human culture for centuries. From religious to magical rites, they served several functions. Children also enjoyed using them as toys.

Dolls were carved from stone and wood in the Stone Age. In 2017, the oldest dolls ever found were located in Siberia. The oldest doll is probably older than 4,500 years. The doll's head was carved from soapstone, while the body was fashioned from natural materials.

Dolls were popular in Ancient Japan, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Greece. In ancient religious rituals, dolls played the role of an idol. They were also treasured keepsakes and playthings for kids.

Dolls were first produced commercially in the 1600s. Clothes were also often modeled on dolls. They wore refined footwear and jewelry.


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