Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Marx U.S. Presidents in Living Plastic



I hope that you'll forgive the United States - centricism of this post...

1960's toy manufacturer Marx made lots of classic toys, but this series of collectible presidents seems to often be forgotten.  They were available painted and unpainted, in sets as well as separately at toy and hobby shops.  Here in Chicago, they were a promotional giveaway at a grocery store.  They went so far as to offer the styrofoam rotunda that I have them glued to here (apparently quite rare), and a booklet detailing the exploits and adventures of each president.

These are not finely detailed miniatures, but rather of a plastic green army man quality.  The paint job is equally unartistic, but I don't object to this.  Rather I am impressed by the concept of a toy that isn't obliquely a learning toy, nor tied into a heavy marketing campaign. 

It strikes me as a brave move to not only create all of these model versions of important historic figures (and to continue to update the collection as time went by), but it also seems brave to suggest that U.S. history might actually be interesting to kids.  Are there even toys like this anymore that aren't from some snooty "educational plaything" boutique?


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