Monday, April 27, 2020

Old Fashioned Fun

Hands up who dug out the jigsaws and board games recently?! Lots of us have been enjoying rediscovering old school entertainment lately. We decided it was the perfect opportunity to delve through our toys and games collection in search of some retro inspiration- whether you want to keep your mind active, have fun with the family, or take some time to relax. From brain teasers to building kits, here are some of our highlights.

Circular jigsaw, 'Air transport', Waddington's

Jigsaw, 'Picture Puzzles', JWS of Bavaria, c. 1890 - 1920

Puzzle it out

So what next after you’ve placed the final part of your 1000 piece masterpiece? Why not try a different type of puzzle. How many fairy tales scenes could you make from these picture blocks? Could you slide one tile at a time to crack the 15 Puzzle?
Set of 12 fairy tale picture blocks

Set of 20 picture blocks, early 20th century
Number puzzle, Fairylite, 1960
Solved number puzzle

Word play

If numbers aren’t your bag, we’ve also found some treats for the wordsmiths among us. What messages would you leave for your family with these alphabet tiles and letters? 
Alphabet tiles, early 20th century

Nursery Letters spelling game, 1950s

For crossword lovers, Kan-U-Go would be perfect. With single and multi-player versions, this game, introduced in the 1930s, was described as ‘one of the most entertaining, exciting and absorbing games of the day.’ And it develops your vocabulary! The first player to score a total of 100 points with their crossword entries is the winner.

Kan-U-Go, crossword card game, c. 1930s - 1950s
Or maybe you fancy yourself as an anagram aficionado? See if you can unscramble these Jumbled Proverbs. Answers on a postcard! (Or in the comments below…)
Jumbled Proverbs card game, c. 1920s - 1950s

Riddles are the order of the day in the Progressive Treasure Hunt. This set provided everything you needed for some ‘well-organised’ fun. The kit suggests everyday objects that are ideal for hiding and some inspiration for the perfect places to squirrel them away. It includes rhyming clues to help the treasure hunters figure out what they’re searching for and where.

Progressive Treasure Hunt, Universal Publications Ltd, c. 1930s - 1950s

Game for a laugh

If you’re in need of cheering up, we’ve unearthed some parlour game gems. These Humorous Dialogues are just the ticket. Suitable for all ages and promising not to cause offence even to ‘the most fastidious,’ there’s a speaking part for all the family. Would you be the Knave of Tarts, the milliner or the Pantry Ghost? We’re especially intrigued by the self-proclaimed ‘screaming comic farce, The Dog in the Coal Cellar’…
Humorous Dialogues, McGlennon's Standard Series no 28', McGlennon's, c. 1880 - 1920
The story telling party game, Winkle’s Wedding promises ‘a laughable game for old and young.’ A nominated narrator reads from the story of Willie Winkle, whilst the other players each have a set of cards with words and phrases on them. The narrator takes up the story from Mr Winkle’s marriage to Clara Clamps. Each time he reaches a blank in the story, the other players take it in turns to fill in the gap by reading out one of their cards. Thus Willie and Clara find themselves in all sorts of increasingly nonsensical and outrageous scenarios!
Winkle's Wedding or Why Did He Do It?

Board-om busters

Chess pieces, 1910s

Draughtsmen, K&C Ltd, c. 1950s - 1960s

For the competitive or the strategists, you can’t beat a board game. We’ve unearthed a couple of classics from the collection but would love to know what your favourites are? Leave us your recommendations in the comments below. Would some of these beautiful game pieces come in handy?

Counters in mother of pearl, bone and plastic, 19th & 20th century

Imaginary worlds

When you’ve emerged victorious from a marathon Monopoly game, a change of pace and a different type of challenge is in order. Budding architects might enjoy building their dream home or the next landmark building with their preferred construction sets. We found plenty of Bayko in the collection. One of the earliest plastic toys, Bayko is named after the Bakelite it was originally made from. There’s many a fine model to be made in the iconic red, green and white. 

Instruction booklet for Bayko Building Sets, Plimpton Engineering Co Ltd, 1951

Fabro Building Set No "O", Aero Models, 1940s
When all the fun and games has become too much excitement, you could take the opportunity to wind down with some paper crafts or get out the paints and crayons and unleash your creativity. You might use kits like our stencils and paper dolls for inspiration or just let your imagination run wild on a blank piece of paper.

Spear's Complete Stencil Outfit, Spear's Games

Postcard, 'Jack at play' cut out and dress doll, Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd, c. 1900s -1920s

Set of 8 crayons, 1950s

Watercolours paint box, Brodie & Middleton, early 20th century
For more inspiration or nostalgia, visit our Toys and Games collection online. You might rediscover some childhood favourites or just enjoy exploring some of the old classics and quirky curiosities.

We’d love to hear what you get up to. Please share your creations and favourite pastimes with us in the comments and over on our social media channels. We’ll be especially thrilled if you’ve been inspired by our objects, or you might inspire us to add something new to the collection. 

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