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A daily look back at the toys, games, and objects that captured our attention as children and continue to fascinate us today.
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Bluebird Toys


 

The British toy company made a name for itself producing tiny toys that encouraged imaginative play.

Company

Founded 1980 by Torquil Norman in Swindon, England.

The company’s first toy was the Big Yellow Teapot, a plastic teapot with tiny residents that reimagined the classic dollhouse.

Gaining Momentum

Impressive early sales of the Big Yellow Teapot led Bluebird Toys to register as a public company with the Unlisted Securities Market in 1985.

The company expanded its reach with the acquisition of two other British toy companies, Peter Pan Playthings in 1987, and Merit Toys in 1988.

In the Pocket

Bluebird Toys launched the Polly Pocket series in 1989. The line of miniature dolls and accessories housed in plastic compacts was an immediate and lucrative hit for the toymaker.

In 1992, the company released Mighty Max as a follow-up to the Polly Pocket playsets and marketed specifically to boys.

In 1995, Bluebird Toys licensed characters from the Disney franchise for its Disney Tiny Collection and formed a distribution deal with Mattel that same year.

Changing Tides

Revenue at Bluebird Toys dropped as Polly Pocket and tiny toys fell out of fashion.

Mattel purchased the company in 1998. Swindon-based operations of Bluebird Toys closed and Mattel integrated the assets of Bluebird Toys into its US-based operations.

Objects of Play

Bluebird Toys released several toys and playsets that continue to capture the attention of collectors. Some of the most sought-after include:

  • Lucy Locket
  • Oh Penny
  • Dr. Doctor
  • The Big Red Fun Bus
  • The Jumbo Fun Plane
  • Manta Force
  • Zero Hour
  • Havok
  • Thomas & Friends playsets
  • A La Carte Kitchen
  • My Big Dresser and Table Set