History of Colorforms


Over at Collectors Weekly, our pal Ben Marks talks to the co-inventor of the wonderful classic toy Colorforms, simply a pack of die-cut vinyl shapes and a board to stick them on, invented in 1951 and available to this day:

“Harry had just gotten out of the Navy and I had just graduated with a degree in art from the University of North Carolina,” recalls Patricia of her late former husband. “At the time, we were taking classes at the Art Students League in New York City. Harry loved to paint, but he couldn’t afford the price of materials on his G.I. Bill, so he called around and found a wonderful plastic material someone had been using to make pocketbooks. It would stick to any shiny surface, but that was the problem—all the pocketbooks stuck together. Harry asked me, ‘What do you think?’ and I said, ‘Let’s get some in primary colors.’”

Harry ordered a few rolls of red, yellow, and blue vinyl, which were delivered to the young couple’s apartment on 29th Street. “They were quite large,” Patricia recalls, “like maybe 3 1/2 feet tall and a foot and a half in diameter. We started cutting out pieces and sticking them on the refrigerator, mirrors, windows, anything that was shiny. Harry was the one who said, ‘I think we can make something out of this.’”

"Stuck on Colorforms, the Two-Dimensional Toy Beloved By Mid-Century Modern Kids"

Colorforms Original 60th Anniversary Edition (Amazon)