Manhattan-based Transogram produced toys and games – many of them based on licensed popular characters – that inspired family game nights and created lasting memories.
Founded in 1915 by Charles Raizen, who bought Friction Transfer Pattern Company from his boss. The year 1915 is the company’s defacto founding date even though Raizen only changed the name to Transogram in 1917.
With Raizen at the helm, Transogram produced kid-tested toys and games. The company was also among the first to acquire licenses for established characters, including Little Orphan Annie, The Monkees, Perry Mason, and others.
Transogram produced Tiddly Winks, Trik-Trac, Ring the Schnozzle, The Little Country Doctor and Nurse Kit, Arrest and Trial, Wink Tennis, Green Ghost, and many more classic toys and games.
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While Transogram had its thumb on the pulse of the generation, Swing Wing was a notable misstep. Released in 1965, this cap with long tendrils was affixed to the top of a child’s head. The child would then swing their head and neck in a circle to make the tendrils fly. But, as reports of injuries emerged, it was eventually pulled from the market and is still regularly featured on lists of dangerous toys of the past.
Transogram was the first to establish a kid-centric testing process that is the foundation of modern toy and game development.
After significant financial losses in the late 1960s, controlling interest in Transogram was sold to financial holding company, Winthrop Lawrence, which ousted Raizen as CEO.
Although Transogram filed for bankruptcy in 1971, its toys remain popular with collectors and nostalgia buffs.
Charles Raizen was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 1986.