In the 1940’s, the world was fighting its biggest war. In the U.S., people were forced to ration what they had to be able to supply the war effort with what it needed to be successful. The toys invented in the early part of the 1940’s reflect this sentiment, and in the late 1940’s, toys would reflect the excess of a prosperous war economy. The things invented for military needs would be repurposed as toys for kids.
Model Airplanes were first made out of balsa wood because of its strength to weight ratio. But, the invention of polystyrene meant that companies now had plastics to use to mass produce toys. Model airplanes shifted to being made out of plastic instead of wood, and kids and adults fell in love with them.
The wealth of wartime research and development meant that several products would eventually find themselves made into toys. A couple examples were Slinkies and Silly Putty. Both were invented by military men while trying to solve problems for their military equipment, but were eventually marketed as toys, where they were bought up in droves.
The wartime rationing seems most evident with toys like Bubbles, which were simple and inexpensive, but kids loved them. Blowing bubbles had been invented before the 1940’s, but it wasn’t until this decade that the first commercial marketing of the solution to blow the bubbles with was sold. Because of the simplicity and price of bubbles, Tootsietoy has turned Bubbles into the best selling toy in the entire world.