FAO Schwarz The Country’s Most Beloved Toy Store Celebrates 150 Years

Established in 1862, FAO Schwarz®, the country’s oldest and most beloved toy store kicked off a year-long celebration this week, beginning with a tribute to its founder Frederick August Otto Schwarz, the unveiling of in-store features and the introduction of a special 150th anniversary logo to mark this milestone.

In 2012, the company plans on honouring their rich heritage through commemorative product offerings, in-store events, a showcase of brand archives and a newly enhanced website.

“Frederick August Otto Schwarz Inducted into Toy Industry Hall of Fame – The year-long celebration began this week when company founder Frederick August Otto Schwarz was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, recognizing his significant contributions to the toy industry. The induction ceremony took place on Saturday, February 11, at the 12th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards, hosted by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), in New York City.

What’s new?

  • Those visiting the landmark store will notice the return of the famous face of the FAO Schwarz Clock Tower, originally displayed in the store from 1986 through 2004. It is newly positioned above the escalator leading down to the Concourse Level, where it once again plays the classic theme song, “Welcome to Our World of Toys,” which greeted guests for 18 years.
  • The renowned real-life “toy” soldiers welcoming visitors to the store are now dressed in new bright red uniforms and whimsical bearskin hats.
  • In addition to the real-life soldiers, visitors entering the magical toy emporium will experience 14-foot-tall illuminated toy soldiers with banners heralding the store’s milestone anniversary, which are positioned along the main aisle in the Grand Hall.
  • Companies such as Mattel®, Hasbro®, Playmobil®, Steiff®, Madame Alexander® and other manufacturers will pay homage to the famed toy retailer with limited edition items commemorating 150 years. Available later this year, items will include an FAO Schwarz-themed MONOPOLY board featuring classic playthings, as well as a toy soldier Barbie® doll and Playmobil® figures. In addition, FAO Schwarz will release its own exclusive plush bears to mark this anniversary.

And now for my favourite feature – “A Gallery of Historic Toys”. Next week FAO will officially unveil a one-of-a-kind in-store gallery filled with classic toys and brand artifacts. More than 25 of the most iconic playthings that have brought joy to children worldwide for more than a century will be showcased, including an original Crayola® 64 Box, first edition G.I. JOE action figures and a vintage Barbie® doll. In addition to toys, unique items from the FAO Schwarz archives will be featured, such as an FAO Schwarz sales ledger from 1909 and a selection of FAO Schwarz catalogs dating back to 1928.

For additional information about the brand or its 150th anniversary, visit FAO.com.

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