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The Doodler from Kenner (1950s)

The Doodler could be manipulated into a variety of shapes and patterns.

Despite its name, The Doodler from Kenner has nothing to do with the popular pastime of scribbling absentmindedly on a piece of paper.

Released in the early 1950s, The Doodler was designed for Kenner by Cincinnati-based artist Nelson Ronsheim. Ronsheim also designed The Snoot-Flute, another classic toy from PAR Beverage, the predecessor to Kenner Products. The Doodler was made from spring tempered steel wire that was plated to make it more resistant to corrosion. A series of coloured glass beads were interspersed throughout the mass of wire to increase the design aesthetic.

The Doodler’s colourful packaging indicates that it is “inspired by a centuries-old toy from Burma.” The toy is quite pliable and was designed to promote hand dexterity. Pulling, squeezing, or pinching the toy allows it to be formed into a variety of shapes and patterns. To spur creativity, Kenner provided examples of 8 sample shapes that could be “doodled” on the front of the package.

Explore classic toys and games that captured our attention and never let go.