The ancient top, cultural phenomenon Masters of the Universe, and the Lite-Brite are the 2022 inductees to the National Toy Hall of Fame. They were chosen from a field of 12 finalists that also included bingo, Breyer Horses, Catan, Nerf, piñata, Phase 10, Pound Puppies, Rack-O, and Spirograph.
Since ancient times, the spinning top has been a childhood staple of cultures in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Australia. The toy form has entertained adults, too. (Ancient Greek pottery shows women playing with tops more than 2,000 years ago!) Special eight-sided tops called teetotums supply the element of chance in board games and similar pastimes. Modern kids play with this classic toy still, calculating the placement, centrifugal force, and velocity needed to execute the longest spin or to capture their competitors’ prized tops.
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
The Master of the Universe line of action figures, which includes the iconic He-Man and She-Ra, traces its popularity to maker Mattel’s use of comic books, television, and the big screen. The cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which ran from 1983 to 1985,created a cohesive, fantasy world that allowed Mattel to introduce new characters and new toys to the line. Over the years, Mattel has paired the brand with everything from toothbrushes to sleeping bags. In 2021, a new Netflix series based on Masters of the Universe proved the toy’s staying power.
Created in 1966, Lite-Brite uses the same concept as stained-glass windows, allowing children to create glowing images against a black background, either following manufactured designs or creating their own picture. Through the years, Lite-Brite has gradually changed its format and technology but the potential for open-ended creativity has kept Lite-Brite popular for more than 50 years.
The National Toy Hall of Fame® at The Strong, established in 1998, recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period. Each year, the hall inducts new honorees and showcases both new and historic versions of classic toys beloved by generations.
[Based on a press release.]