Think back to how exciting it was opening up gifts during the holidays. I often miss the magical feeling of unboxing the newest doll, or watching my kids open that one gift they’ve been begging for.

If you are also looking for that little bit of nostalgia this holiday season, get ready. I bet you didn’t know these playroom staples originated in New Jersey.

(Craig Allen photo)
(Craig Allen photo)

Toy train sets, Play-Doh and Colorforms were all invented In New Jersey, in addition to the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and Transformers.

New Jersey is home to some of the largest manufacturing factories in the world, and at one point was known as one of the largest toy-manufacturing centers in the nation.


Many of these toys were invented by well-known inventors such as Edison, who figured out how to shrink phonographs to fit inside of dolls, allowing them to talk.

There was also Kay Zufall, who was a nursery school teacher when she invented Play-Doh. The substance was first meant to be used as wallpaper cleaner but later served a more playful use after wallpapers no longer needed the Play-Doh. Today over 3 billion tubs have been sold of Play-Doh and it is in the national Toy Hall of Fame.

Lionel O-Gauge Model Train
New Jersey State Museum

Toy trains were partially founded in New Jersey, as important parts of a train set such as houses and figures were created here. The trains themselves, however, were put together in North Carolina.

New Jersey has always thrived in the toy industry, as it is close to New York City. That being said, if you are looking to buy the best toys in the market this year you know where to go.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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