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Wood Toy News June 8, 2011

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The Little Wooden Toy Shop is a home-based business selling all natural handmade wood toys. The Little Wooden Toy Shop is a home-based business which was started to offer wholesome and simple alternatives in promoting healthy, educational play among our children and within our families. All of the products we sell are made from 100% natural materials, including wood, cotton, wool and silk. A great percentage of the wood used to make many of these toys is harvested directly from the areas where the toys are made. Where possible, fabrics are organic and 100% washable. All finishes and dyes are 100% non-toxic and safe for our children and our animals. A concerted effort has been made to purchase all of our toys and playthings from small family-run businesses and environmentally conscious farmers and homesteaders throughout the United States and Canada. All of these products have been lovingly handmade by talented crafts people and tradesmen schooled in the art of old-fashioned toy making. Dressed in blue work pants and a plaid, flannel shirt, 67-year-old For years, Jim Turbyville made Bill Clark doesn’t look elfin, yet wooden furniture and then from the he has tendencies that suggest scraps he made a few wooden toys. he could fit in with a group of toymaking little people. Lisa Allmendinger, Heritage Newspapers: His first toy was a wooden duck that he continues to sell to this day. “Every time I’d come to the market to sell furniture, I’d sell toys,” he says. Now, the toys dominate his sales at the Sunday Artisan Market in Ann Arbor. Turbyville sets up his booth to be inviting to children who might want to stop and play with one of the 50 different types he sells. Many of them are moving pull toys. “I want children to come in and play with the toys, walk around dragging them,” he says. He believes that if people see children playing with the toys, perhaps they’ll want to buy one. The toys are made from a variety of woods, including cherry, birch and oak. There are buses, cars, animals, trains, airplanes, farm equipment and race cars, to name just a few. The toys include four types of planes and a duck with an egg on its back that moves when the toy is pulled around. In addition to the kids playing with the sturdy toys, the men come into the booth to look at the planes and say they are buying it for their kid, but Turbeyville knows it’s really for them he muses with a broad smile. He says he has two tubs full of toy patterns and makes everything from a Model T to a road grader. The toys range in price from $5 to $50.

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Clark is not Santa Claus. He does, however, take delight in giving away toys now and again. And he does this with a great, big smile on his face. “People that do stuff for me, I give them away,” says Clark of his handmade toys. But he also sells them to people who approach him, and most recently he began selling them through the Museum of the Albemarle Shop, where artisan and shop co-owner Lisa Winslow says his handmade cars, trucks, tractors and trains are a big hit.


Wood Toy News June 8, 2011

www.toymakerpress.com

Wooden ooden Toy Collection Made by Homer McNeil tells story of wartime innovation. The wooden toys in this collection were designed and made by Mr. Homer Pittman McNeil in the basement workshop of his residence at 1222 Burnett Avenue, Ames, Iowa. The majority of the toys were made for his only son, Donald Homer (born in 1941). They were presented as gifts for Christmas holidays and for birthdays from 1942 through 1946 when manufactured toys could not be purchased due to shortages, rationing, and other restrictions during World War II. www.ameshistoricalsociety.org

The scale of the toys – approximately 1:30 – was chosen for convenience in construction and to fit the sizes of the materials available, especially the typewriter ribbon spools which served as wheels. The scale was also, perhaps, thought to fit the handling by a young child from age 1 through 5.

Materials for these toys included various household scraps of wire and wood. Dowel rods, the ubiquitous wooden “peach crates” of that era, and small wooden cheese boxes from Wisconsin were used. Also found on the toys were many steel typewriter ribbon spools and wooden accounting tape spools gleaned from the Ames Trust & Savings Bank where Homer McNeil was Cashier.

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Wood Toy News June 8, 2011

www.toymakerpress.com

It is unlikely that any plans were ever drawn by Homer for any of the models. It is unlikely that any plans were ever drawn for any of the models. If so, they were scrapped or lost long since. Homer McNeil had a steady hand for drawing and a compulsion to make lists and notes, but he preferred to do his shop work through improvisation and imagination: “by guess and by gosh.� Ideas for subject matter came, first and foremost, from live subject matter in Ames.

The toys were used as objects for set pieces of childhood imagination and were trundled about indoors but were never taken out-of-doors or otherwise abused and absolutely were never allowed into the rough hands of playmates.

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Wood Toy News June 8, 2011

www.toymakerpress.com

“I made very simple toys at first. They were a lot like my dad’s, robust and durable. While I still make them for children’s play, I also make shelf model units for collectors.” Jack Beursken For 10 years, Jack drove truck for a Lorain, Ohio, construction firm. During his 34 years as a paid volunteer firefighter, he drove and operated fire trucks. His truck-driving avocation afforded Jack insight into trucks and their varied capabilities. With the inherent woodworking skills gained from his father, Jack began building model toys for his children.

“I made very simple toys at first. They were a lot like my dad’s, robust and durable. While I still make them for children’s play, I also make shelf model units for collectors,” Jack related. Jack builds a wide variety of children’s wood play toys, including: trains, trucks, tractors and more. But his craftsmanship shows through his 1/12-scale model replicas.

In addition to exhibiting at numerous trade shows in north central Ohio, the Beurskens have been generous with their talent. They frequently donate a toy each year for silent auctions and raffles for these organizations: Harvest Happenings Festival, Sandusky, Ohio, Festival of Lights, Huron, Ohio and Partners for Sustainability Conference, Huron, Ohio.

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Wood Toy News June 8, 2011