From the archives: Toys of long ago

Here’s a trip down memory lane for some of you, and for others just an interesting peek at what kids played with in the 1940s. Click here or more pictures of toys with local girls and boys.


Electric trains were the most popular toy in 1938. These boys really wanted one of those aluminum models of the Pacific Streamliner.


Four-year-old Halbert Snyder thinks this 1939 streamlined coaster wagon is just wonderful.


Wartime toys were extremely popular during World War II. I found photos of kids in every type of serviceman outfit, including an “air warden” play set. Above, Patsy Ann McHugh, as a nurse, bandages the hand of “wounded aviator” Bobby O’Connor with her nursing kit in New York.


Barbara Wilton of Chicago poses holding the cord to her Little Chef stove. The stove had a hot plate and working range! And we thought the Easy-Bake ovens were dangerous?


Sandra Lake, 4, of New York, gets set for a return blow at the punching bag. I’m sure the black eye added for the photo made this a must-have on all little girls’ wish lists in 1948.


It’s a ski! It’s a sled! Wrong, it’s a SKED (the Rocket Ski)! For just $12.99,  Timothy Jones, 5, of Omaha can go safely skedding because of that great safety feature on no endangering clamps on his feet in 1948.

Hope you enjoyed a look at toys from the past. There are even more featured toys on the showcase link above.

Jolene McHugh

About Jolene McHugh

I was a graphic artist prior to coming to the Omaha World-Herald in 2007, and now I’m a photo imaging specialist, which means I prepare photos to print properly in the newspaper. I also have the incredibly fun task of restoring old photographs from our massive library. My favorite part of my job is getting lost in the history and stories behind the photographs. Many of the archive photos have little or no information attached, so I need to properly date and identify the people and places in them. Researching the stories is a bit like being on a historical scavenger hunt. The largest challenge I face is restoring photos we run in our books. Our newest book, “At War, At Home: The Cold War” is filled with hundreds of old photographs, and most of them small and in poor condition. I live in Omaha with my husband, one of my daughters and three very furry Maine Coon cats.
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  1. Dianna Eveland says:

    Great articles. Thanks for the memories!!

  2. alan says:

    i,ve just found the Sked in excellent condition ,could you find someone that would be interested in purchasing it and an approximate price for it

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