Skip to content

How Toys Changed After World War II

  • History

By Greg Daugherty

World War II gave rise to countless innovations that would change American life for decades to come—from the rugged Jeep, to mass-produced penicillin, to the terrifying atomic bomb. But, ironically enough, few U.S. industries were more profoundly affected by the war than the toy business.

Not only were toy and game designers and makers able to take advantage of the latest scientific advances, such as colorful and inexpensive plastics; they also benefitted from two other post-war trends. The baby boom—more than 76 million kids born between 1946 and 1964—offered them record numbers of potential customers. And television, little more than a novelty before the war, soon made it possible to demonstrate the latest playthings to millions of kids at a time. Little wonder that toy sales grew from $84 million in 1940 to $900 million by 1953 and into the billions of dollars in by the early 1960s.

Source: History.