By Garland Pollard
The Ideal Toys brand has resurfaced at Big Lots, and on Amazon (see below). Ideal was one of the great American toy companies, and was the maker of one of the classic toys of the 1970s, Toss Across, which was basically a bean bag toss and tic tac toe.
Wikipedia’s entry has the company has it founded in 1907 as the Ideal Toy and Novelty Company, eventually merging into CBS Toys. The Queens-based company later became part of Tyco and later Mattel, which still makes the Rubik’s Cube and Magic 8 Ball. It was know for toys like Mouse Trap, Kerplunk, Careful, Panic and Odd Ogg. It also made dolls like Betsy Wetsy.
The Ideal brand has resurfaced on the Tinker Toy-like item Fiddlestix, which was a product of Plaza Toys of New York. Ideal is now one of the brands of Poof-Slinky Inc., 45400 Helm Street; P.O. Box 701394; Plymouth, MI 48170.
The revival is an instructive case because the people run large companies in the U.S. mostly have a doctrine of killing off the corporate brand when they purchase other companies. It is mistakenly believed that corporate brands do not have value, and they are routinely discarded in mergers. In the toy sector, many classic company brands have disappeared including Marx, Selchow and Righter, Mego, Remco and others. The kids that bought the toys knew that different companies stood for different things. These brands were well-known, and the companies that they were merged into became the new parent brand brand for the individual toy.
Some sub-brands have survived. For instance Hasbro has wisely kept its Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley identities. They seem to get it more than other companies.