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Little People, once made in Medina, inducted into Toy Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 November 2016 at 2:24 pm
File photo by Tom Rivers: These Little People, which were manufactured when Fisher-Price was in Medina, are pictured as part of a display by the Medina Historical Society in 2014.

File photo by Tom Rivers: These Little People, which were manufactured when Fisher-Price was in Medina, are pictured as part of a display by the Medina Historical Society in 2014.

ROCHESTER – A toy that was once mass produced in Medina at the former Fisher-Price plant has been inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester.

Museum officials announced Little People have joined the distinguished group of toys. Other inductees announced today include the swing and the game Dungeons & Dragons.

The honorees were selected from a field of 12 finalists that also included: bubble wrap, Care Bears, Clue, coloring book, Nerf, pinball, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Transformers, and Uno.

The Little People are manufactured by Fisher-Price and for many years were made in Medina until Fisher-Price left in the late 1990s. The company started operations in the Orleans County community in 1970.

The Little People are the first Fisher-Price toy to make the Hall of Fame.

“Little People have been a fixture—albeit a small one—in many American playrooms for more than 50 years,” said Chris Bensch, Strong Museum’s vice president for collections. “More than two billion Little People have been sold since 1959, and they have helped generations of small children imagine big adventures in play sets representing farms, schools, airports, and other fascinating places in their worlds.”

Here’s what the the Strong National Museum of Play had to say about the Little People:

“Fisher-Price first offered its Little People in a 1959 Safety School Bus pull toy. These stylized figures populated a variety of play sets that encouraged youngsters to explore the world beyond their homes and to imagine themselves at school or the airport, at the service station or the amusement park, and at the zoo or a faraway farm. Fisher-Price made the first Little People of wood and lithographed paper; solid, single-colored wooden bodies followed. Later figures were made of hard plastic. In the 1980s, concerns about the small figures becoming a choking hazard led to the 1991 introduction of a new design for larger diameter Little People known as “Chunky People” or “Chunkies.” By the mid-1990s, the Little People became more people-like with arms, legs, and dimensional faces.”

The National Toy Hall of Fame was established in 1998 and recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period. Each year, the prestigious hall inducts new honorees and showcases both new and historic versions of classic toys beloved by generations.

For more information about the hall and to see the list of previous inductees, visit toyhalloffame.org.

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