Toys and games have been a staple of childhood for thousands of years yet the toy industry can be very difficult to break into and even harder to stay afloat within. Certain enterprises like LEGO, Crayola, Mattel and Hasbro have managed to stay in business for decades but another—far more low-key—brand that has enjoyed nearly four decades of success is The Manhattan Toy Company which continuously seeks to promote toys that are innovative yet adhere to traditional play models. Essentially, the company offers toys that are technology-free and hark back to traditional playthings made from wood and fabric.


The Manhattan Toy Company was founded by Francis Goldwyn, the grandson of Samuel Goldwyn who was a famous Hollywood studio mogul. After relocating to New York City and finding work as an accountant, Francis founded Manhattan Toy in 1978. The company was known for selling plush toys that were intentionally under-stuffed which gave them a very unique look. Eventually, the company was purchased by new owners who relocated it to its current headquarters in Minneapolis. “Our goal is to bring joy to everyday play,” said Jeanne Bleu, Creative Director at The Manhattan Toy Company.

“We focus on toys that inspire imagination, and help little ones learn to navigate their world. We also specialize in plush toys that inspire an emotional connection, appealing to all the senses!” Currently, there are approximately 450 toys in the line. Most are developed in-house but the company occasionally partners with outside inventors. “We doa lot of product and competitor research to make sure our toys are unique,” Jeanne explained and noted that trend research pertaining to patterns, colors and icons play a key role in most design processes.


At present, The Manhattan Toy Company has some very recognizable lines. For example, MiO is a series of wooden playsets that come with unique characters that have wooden heads and bean-bag bodies. Although the wooden playsets are somewhat akin to the “Treehouse Playset” that is offered by Lakeshore Learning Materials, the figurines are especially unique. While the items in the MiO line are recommended for children over the age of three, The Manhattan Toy Company also offers a number of baby items.

Numerous soft plush toys, the “Click Clack Ball,” the “Skwish Rattle” and the “Winkel” were all designed for infants and toddlers and mostly focus on strengthening motor skills and cognitive understanding of colors and texture. While these items are somewhat akin to products offered by Lamaze and Vtech, they are notably more abstract which is befitting of their equally-artsy Wimmer-Ferguson series. More traditionally, the “Groovy Girls” series pays homage to traditional dolls as does the “Playful Pony” activity set which is included in the same series as the “Playful Dino” and the “Storybook Castle” and “Tree Top Adventure” sets geared toward young children.

Ignoring technological trends in favor of classic play habits has proven to be very beneficial for The Manhattan Toy Company which shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. The company is actively working on new offerings that will further their good reputation by producing more imaginative playthings in the near future.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!