Rubber duck, chess inducted into Toy Hall of Fame

Toy Hall of Fame inductees: The rubber duck and the game of chess joined childhood favorites the jump rope and the game of Scrabble in the Toy Hall of Fame yesterday, beating out the Magic 8 Ball and Nerf toys.

Carlos Ortiz/Democrat & Chronicle/AP
Toy Hall of Fame inductees: Rubber ducks are on display during the National Toy Hall of Fame ceremony at the National Museum of Play at The Strong in Rochester, N.Y., Thursday, Nov. 7.

The rubber duck squeaked out a win for a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame, joining the ancient game of chess in the 2013 class inducted Thursday.

The pair beat out 10 other finalists: bubbles, the board game Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green Army men, the Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, the Pac-Man video game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the scooter.

Online polls had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and My Little Pony running strong, but in the end a national selection committee made up of 23 experts, including toy collectors, designers, and psychologists, voted in the Toy Hall of Fame winners.

"The two inductees ... are fantastic examples of the two extremes in the world of play," said Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections at The Strong Museum, which houses the 15-year-old hall.

"One is so strategic. It's rule-driven. It's something that adults play and puzzle over," Mr. Bensch said, "and at the other extreme is a toy that's pure fun. It has no rules. No one wins or loses. You squeeze it. You float it. It's so silly, so fun."

Anyone can nominate a toy for the hall of fame, but to make it through the selection process and become a finalist a toy must have achieved icon status, survived through generations, foster learning, creativity or discovery and have profoundly changed play or toy design.

"If there is a game you can call classic, this is that game," said curator Nicolas Ricketts as he introduced chess during an induction ceremony that featured the unveiling of chess- and rubber duck-themed cartoons by syndicated cartoonist Leigh Rubin.

Chess can be traced back centuries to an ancient Indian war game, but evolved into the game it is today by 1475, Mr. Ricketts said.

"In 1779, Benjamin Franklin wrote that playing this game inspires habits of foresight, circumspection and caution, all important traits in human life," he said. "Scholars today still study the effect of this game's play on the childhood brain and development."

The rubber duck "has been a fixture in pop culture for decades," curator Patricia Hogan said.

Although rubber toys first appeared in the late 1880s, no one knows exactly who hatched the idea of the rubber duck, museum officials said.

They weren't always meant for the bath – the first ones didn't float – but Ernie on "Sesame Street" secured its place in the tub with his 1970 ode, "Rubber Duckie." The song made it to No. 16 on the Billboard Top 40 chart.

To date, 53 toys are in the National Toy Hall of Fame, including alphabet blocks, the jump rope, playing cards, Scrabble, and the stick.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Rubber duck, chess inducted into Toy Hall of Fame
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Family/2013/1108/Rubber-duck-chess-inducted-into-Toy-Hall-of-Fame
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe