Power Shop from Mattel (1964)

Company: Mattel | Release date: 1964 | Where to purchase: eBay

“Works with real wood!”

In 1964, Mattel released Power Shop, a “Make and Play” toy that allowed children to create toys and models using real wood. The multi-purpose Power Shop could be configured into one of four tools typically found in a basic workshop: a drill press, jigsaw, lathe, and sander.

Power to the shop was provided by connecting it to an electrical outlet. Built-in safety features included a saw that couldn’t cut fingers, a lathe tool that couldn’t fly off, and an overload control that automatically shut off the motor if it became jammed. A safety face shield was also included for eye protection that could be worn while operating a tool.

Power Shop had more than 40 parts, including drills, jigsaw blades, sanding discs, and glue. Samples of pine and balsa wood were included in the mix. Printed instructions outlined step-by-step how to set up each tool, provided an order form for replacement parts and refills, and included several pages of project suggestions.

The entire set was stored in a red, leather-grained, high-impact plastic “store-all” tool kit.

In 1978, Mattel re-issued Power Shop in a new configuration that provided access to all four tools simultaneously without any additional configuration steps. The revamped shop was also manually operated via a crank and only worked with thin pieces of balsa wood.

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