The latest essay from the Eames Institute is a fun look at how mid-century designers were inspired by "simple" playthings. In 1961 designer Charles Eames said, "toys are really not as innocent as they look. Toys and games are preludes to serious ideas." Highbrow designers then delighted in honest and sincere folk toys such as kites and tops, eschewing more commercially successful mass-market toys of the time. That shows in the collection of interesting items like a circus funhouse mirror and a barrel organ. But they weren't snobs, loving only vintage playthings: Charles Eames called the Superball a "great and elegant" design.
I dug the inclusion of a 1962 Kettcar, with its powder blue steel frame, hot rod rear tires, and white bucket seat with racing flags. My son loved his 80's version of the kid-powered pedal car.
Enjoy the online version or order the printed catalog.