Toys from the 1940s

Antique and vintage toys from the WW2 era: model cars, tin toys, dolls, trains, puzzles & games.

The United States entered the 1940s a shaken nation. The Depression years had been difficult nationwide. Poverty and unemployment had led to labor strife and the rise of socialist and communist sentiment, and to questions about the overall structure of American society. As a result many artists had become socially aware and active. Artists and writers of the 1930s were stark and realistic, focused on the common man. Social justice at home was their primary concern, but they also kept a cautious eye on Europe, where fascism was on the rise and war had broken out as Germany expanded. These artistic concerns continued into the 1940s, but Americans' creative endeavors also began to reflect a shift in American society, as World War II stimulated the economy and brought the nation out of the Depression. Prosperity replaced poverty. The film industry was presenting a darker view of the world, not simply providing light...


In 1941 as many as 40 percent of all American families lived below poverty level. Nearly eight million workers earned less than the legal minimum wage. Another eight million Americans were unemployed, and the median income was only $2,000 per year. While the economic picture improved during the 1940s, the sense of crisis created by the Depression permanently altered lifestyles and attitudes. The so-called depression mentality of fear and economic caution marked an entire generation, even as the economy boomed after World War II.


During World War II most scientific research served military imperatives as the U.S. government harnessed science and technology to win the war. The demands of wartime served to speed up scientific innovations -including not only new arms but also new intelligence and transportation technology- which in turn transformed the way the military waged war. World War II transformed science as well, linking science and politics. National-security interests required secrecy of scientists, contradicting the American ideal of free scientific exchange. The Cold War ideology of the postwar period involved science in the arms race and the race into space. With the development of the first atom bomb, American scientists ushered in the atomic age, as the public expressed a mixture of admiration and fear at this tremendous scientific achievement.

Updated: 26 November 2019

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1 comment
William - December 4, 2011
my father produced wooden toys, early 1940s, neville manufacturing co. mccomb, mississippi; pull simple wooden animal like figures, wooden wheelbarrow; attempting to locate any details or items; ad ran in toy world magazine 1940s,with stanton dennis as distributor (he from illinois); any information appreciated;
I have no idea where to start... did you try and search on Google with : neville manufacturing co. to narrow your search?