Just about everyone who visits my store comments on the Roy Toy® log building sets. I imagined this classic toy would evoke fond memories from my fellow baby boomers. But I didn’t expect these kits of multiple wooden pieces would have such wide appeal, especially among today’s “wired” youngsters. Much to my surprise, I have been proven wrong (once again).
Nostalgic adults are always happy to buy Roy Toy sets for kids. I suspect most of these “grown-ups” are often eager to show children just how much fun it is to build a log cabin, fort, or tree house.
The fact that all pieces are 100% real wood (no plastic components here) makes them just like we “old timers” remember them when we were kids. That’s the way Roy Toy has been making their log sets in Maine since the company got its start during the Great Depression…
On a hot August afternoon in 1930, the first wagon load of original Roy Toy wooden toys headed to the train station across town in Machias, Maine. For the next 30 years, Roy Dennison’s factory went on to produce thousands of log building sets that would fill millions of hours of creative playtime for children across the country and beyond.
Sadly, after Roy’s death in the 1960s, the doors to his factory closed, and the machinery that made the wooden toy pieces were dismantled and stored with relatives until 1992. That’s when Bruce Dennison, Roy’s grandson, decided to revive the Roy Toy business as a hobby, unaware of the monumental task ahead of him.
With parts of the now antiquated machinery scattered about, Bruce quickly realized he was putting together a very complex puzzle with some critical pieces missing: motors, gears, shafts, blades. He spent endless hours investigating old photos and other relics in addition to talking to many people who had a connection with Roy and his factory. After assembling everything he could find from the past, it would take Bruce over a year to have Roy Toy back in business.
All that time and effort paid off. He authentically replicated the handmade design of his grandfather’s original wooden toys that he fondly remembered from his youth. The revived Roy Toys have the same interlocking “no roll” rectangular logs, red wooden gables, and green plank roof slats as the ones Roy Dennison first created over 80 years ago.
Rest assured, every component in these building sets is hand cut from pine boards sourced from lumber mills that practice sustainable forest management practices. Each wooden piece is tumbled for a smooth finish and then stained with non-toxic, food-approved, allergen-free dyes. (Roy Toy also offers an all-natural, non-dyed line of log sets.)
In this day and age of high-tech, electronic gizmos, it’s nice to have a simple toy that allows you to share playtime memories from your childhood with today’s generation of imaginative “builders.” So buy a set or two (components from all Roy Toy sets are compatible with each other)…and LOG ON!
Founder and Proprietor, New England Everyday Goods & Farm Market, Jaffrey, NH.
Just a stone’s throw down the road from The Old Farmer’s Almanac headquarters, Jim and his wife Susan operate a sprawling retail store that specializes in useful and unusual products with interesting stories behind them.