This is a toy I got in a lot with many other things. At first I didnt think it was something special, although the friction motor worked really fine. It takes a long time for it to stop, only after having gone over a long distance.
At some point I saw the marking (which is a bit hidden) IDEAL New Jersey 1974. Of course, I knew Ideal from before, it is one of the great historical American toymakers, so I started looking at this toy differently. The car is quite sturdy, although a small child that borrowed it made some cracks in the chassis structure by pushing too hard down. I repaired it. My son also dropped it a few times and the back bumper broke. This is the most weak part. I repaired it, and then reinforced it with some pieces of wood. My son likes it a lot.
So, back to Ideal toys, the company was founded in 1907 in Hollis, New York with a slightly different name: "Ideal Novelty and Toy Company", and its founders were Morris and Rose Michtom. They claim to be the inventors of the Teddy Bear in 1902, after that famous anecdote with president (Theodore "Teddy") Roosevelt and a real bear, although the real fact is that the Teddy Bear was invented simultaneously in Germany by Steiff too. So, the Michtoms are at least the co-inventors of the Teddy Bear.
The dolls were introduced in 1907 and gained popularity for being advertised as unbreakable, because they were made of a new material based on sawdust (wood dust) and glue called "composition".
One of the most renowned dolls were Betsy Wetsy, which was produced for more than 50 years starting in 1934. it was one of the first African American dolls ever produced. Today these are very sought after by collectors. The Toy Industry Association named it one of the 100 most creative toys of the 20th century.
The original name was changed in 1938 to Ideal Toy Company, and due to the Baby-Boom after World War II in the U.S., Ideal grew to be the largest American manufacturer of dolls, increasing its revenues and even selling licenses for other countries, including Australia, United Kingdom, Canada or Brazil.
The good business and success stories continued until the 80s, moving from New York to New Jersey, also reallocating factories in Hong Kong. In 1980-81 the company distributed the "official" Rubik's Cube toy, that was a little fiasco, there were many bootleg cubes and the bussiness was not as good as expected. Apparently Ideal sued many distributors and retailers.
In 1982, the company was sold to CBS Toys, and in 1987, CBS would sell it again to ViewMaster International, creating View Master Ideal. In 1989, View Master Ideal was bought by Tyco Toys, and Tyco Toys would merge in 1997 with Mattel.
FACTS and FIGURES:
- Name: LAND ROVER SAFARI
- Year: 1974
- Company: Ideal (U.S.A.)
- Size: Around 9 cm
- Scale: Unknown