The history of gaming – children’s game magazine – the family guide

Humans have always played and in the course of history the possibilities have changed. Playing is a cultural asset and is part of our development.

If we talk about toys today, we associate them with special items tailored to the needs of children.

Even our ancestors in the Stone Age developed objects such as small dolls or animal figures that come very close to our idea of ​​toys.

However, a clear demarcation between real toys and mythological objects could not be clearly defined. Doll figures, for example, also served as grave goods.

The original game?

The first game was developed 5000 years ago. The Royal Game vin Ur can be admired today in the British Museum in London. Above all, the rules are also available in writing.

The Egyptian dice game "Senet" clearly moves in the religious-mythological area from birth to life after death.

Only the ball, as the perfect shape of a body, can be found all over the world, made of a wide variety of materials and in every age.

In the case of toys, such as dolls or animals, these were always illustrations of reality and therefore only that which lived with us was depicted.

This meant that this toy could be used in the children’s role-playing games in which they re-enacted reality.

But over the course of history the toy developed into a toy and this led to the toy changing and adapting.

Toys can be anything: This is how toys become from a stick or a stone as soon as you explain them to them. Toys, on the other hand, are deliberately made for the purpose of playing. But society had to be organized according to the division of labor so that a commodity developed from it, because after all there were dolls already in antiquity, even with movable limbs.

But it wasn’t until 1350 that the first finger-length dolls were made from clay on a larger scale. The first riding figures were also for them guys available.

They have seams on the sides as a symbol of the production from models. At that time, the term “Tocken- or Dockenmacher” (old German for doll makers) became a synonym for toy makers, “Dockenwerk” became a general term for “toys”.

Clay, wood or cardboard were the first raw materials to produce large numbers of toys.

The first mail order company for toys

In order to sell them, the Georg Hieronimus Bestelmeier from Nuremberg finally came up with the idea of ​​a toy mail order company.

In 1793 the resourceful merchant published the first order catalog. A milestone in toy history. A total of 97 items such as dolls, board games, accessories for magic tricks or technical gadgets were available. In 1823 Bestelmeier already offered 1,350 products.

Industrialization enabled the mechanical production of toys in large numbers from around the middle of the 19th century. Technical tin toys such as cars, ships or trains hit the spirit of the time.

Photo credits: Museums of the City of Nuremberg, Toy Museum
Toy car made from one piece of firewood, 1950s.

With growing prosperity, the need for toys increased across all social classes. New production techniques such as injection molding or zinc die casting as well as new materials, especially plastics, expanded the type and quality of the toy range in the second half of the 20th century.

Today, the offer is as diverse and comprehensive as our society and the technical possibilities, which are once again profound in all areas of life due to the triumph of the computer change have experienced.

“Toys are always miniatures of the world. The way the world changes, the toy changes. This can be traced through the entire toy story, ”explains Dr. Helmut Schwarz.

Its appearance is only adapted to the time preferences. Even if a wide variety of products have been developed over the centuries – for the head of the toy museum, the ball is and remains one of the classic toys.

No matter what material it is made of, its function for practicing and coordinating motor skills does not change. That’s why Dr. Helmut Schwarz sure, balls will accompany us through the next centuries.


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