Morris and Rose Michtom founded the the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. in 1907, producing teddy bears. The company was based on Christopher Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
In 1935, with the success of their Shirley Temple doll, they moved to a large factory at 23-10 43rd Ave. in Long Island City.Son, Benjamin, took over the company when his father, Morris, died in 1938.
In 1941, they hired toy wizard, Lionel Weintraub, to run the company. In 1943 the Langer Printing Factory was liquidated on Jamaica Avenue in Hollis. Weintraub bought itin a bankruptcy auction for peanuts and starting molding the toy company into a world class operation.Thousands of local residents were hired to work there.
Shown above are employees making choo-choo trains made of strong tenite cellulosic plastic. The company was an early equal opportunity employer hiring people of all races and backgrounds. Note, the assembly line is all women. In 1953 the company was renamed the Ideal Toy Corp.
In 1968 the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Baby boomers fondly remember their favorite Ideal toy.
In 1982, grandson of the founder, Mark Michtom, sold the company to CBS Toys of CBS Inc. After a series of product recalls and lawsuits for unsafe toys, the factory shut down in 1983. CBS got out of the toy business all together in 1985 and sold off many of its assets to Hasbro.
(Editor’s note: If you are a World’s Fair fan, you might consider purchasing as a Christmas gift, the first book in a trilogy on thehistory of Queens, titled “The New York World’s Fairs,” at $14.99, plus$3 first class postage, which will be shipped in time for Christmas delivery. Checks should be made payable to Icon Archives P.O. Box 10, Rockville Centre NY 11571.)