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Cover for A Century of American Toys and Games

A Century of American Toys and Games

The Story of Pressman Toy

Jim Pressman, Donna Pressman, Alan Axelrod


List Price: 60.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


From Chinese checkers to the Wheel of Fortune board game—the story of how one family business shaped the way Americans play

When Jack Pressman went into business as a manufacturer of basic playthings like lead soldiers and toy xylophones in 1922, he could little have imagined that his small venture would become one of the iconic American toy companies. The firm scored its first megahit in the 1920s, when it popularized Chinese checkers, and it went on to introduce enduring favorites like Rummikub and Tri-Ominos. Today the Pressman Toy Corporation remains well known for its line of classic board games in eye-catching red boxes, as well as games based on popular TV shows.

This centennial history traces the growth of the company under the leadership of three successive Pressmans: Jack, his wife Lynn (one of the first female CEOs in the industry), and their son Jim. It is a story that reflects the development of the toy industry as a whole—encompassing the rise of plastics, the emergence of character licensing and TV advertising, and the surprising endurance of the physical board game in our digital age. Abundantly illustrated with new color photography as well as rare archival images, this will be an essential volume for anyone with an interest in the history of play.

Praise For A Century of American Toys and Games: The Story of Pressman Toy

What an incredible story that is so symbolic of the origins of the American toy industry. . . L’dor v’dor—“from generation to generation”—so we watch this amazing story and passing of the baton.

— Alan Hasselfeld, Chairman Emeritus and former Chairman and CEO of Hasbro

This book chronicles the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of the everchanging toy industry better than anything I have ever read. . . For me as a competitor and friend of Pressman Toy, this book is inspirational and instructional.
— Bob Moog, President and Co-founder of University Games

Not only is the book beautifully designed and printed, but I thoroughly enjoyed delving into the history of such an important and influential toy company with products that touched millions of lives over the decades. The text does a nice job of setting Pressman products into a context of history and popular culture that makes the story of the evolution of this family firm all the more meaningful.
— Christopher Bensch, VP of Collections, The Strong Museum of Play

A wonderful trip down memory lane, and a remarkable story of perseverance . . . The pictures are priceless!
— Richard E. Grey, former chairman and CEO of Tyco

This is a must read for anyone interested in the toy industry, and actually anyone interested in how to successfully build a business.
— Tom Kalinske, former CEO of Mattel, Matchbox, Sega, and Leapfrog

Abbeville Press, 9780789214447, 256pp.

Publication Date: November 29, 2022

About the Author

Jim Pressman was president of the Pressman Toy Corporation from 1977 until the company’s sale to Goliath Games in 2014.

Donna Pressman is his wife and frequent collaborator.

Alan Axelrod is the author of numerous books on business and history, including Everything I Know about Business I Learned from Monopoly.