Toy Horses

Donated by Pat Vaughan

plastic toy horses, circa 1950sDuring the 1950s and 1960s, small plastic figurines like these horses were popular,  inexpensive toys. Four major manufacturers of these plastic playsets were Ajax, Archer, Beton/Bergen, and Lido. According to some sources, Beton/Berger made the first plastic horse figurine only to have their molds copied by the other manufacturers.

Of the four horses seen here, only one bears a manufacturers mark: Lido. Lido toy Company was formed in 1947 by Seymour and Effrem Arenstein, nephews of William Shaland, who owned one of the world’s largest large toy import companies. Lido produced a wide variety of toys until 1964 when it was sold to Bala Industries.

Donated by Pat Vaughan

During the 1950s and 1960s, small plastic figurines like these horses were popular,  inexpensive toys. Four major manufacturers of these plastic playsets were Ajax, Archer, Beton/Bergen, and Lido. According to some sources, Beton/Berger made the first plastic horse figurine only to have their molds copied by the other manufacturers.

Of the four horses seen here, only one bears a manufacturers mark: Lido. Lido toy Company was formed in 1947 by Seymour and Effrem Arenstein, nephews of William Shaland, who owned one of the world’s largest large toy import companies. Lido produced a wide variety of toys until 1964 when it was sold to Bala Industries.

Bear Brand Teddy Bear

Bear Brand Hosiery teddy bear, circa 1970sDonated by David Quin

This teddy bear was a marketing item for Bear Brand Hosiery Company. Founded in Chicago in 1893 as Paramount Knitting Company, the name was changed to Bear Brand in 1922. At first the company specialized in factory-made fleece-lined men’s socks, later branching out to include stockings for women and casual socks for the whole family.

In 1951, Bear Brand Hosiery opened a factory in south Fayetteville (the present-day location of the Arkansas Research and Technology Park on Cato Springs Road). According to an article in the Northwest Arkansas Times (April 10, 1951), the new plant boasted 280 knitting machines, “hundreds of windows which afford proper lighting,” a special ventilation system, and an employee cafeteria. The knitting machines were to be run on a double shift, yielding an output of 2500 pairs of socks per day. At its full operation, Bear Brand anticipated putting 150 local people to work. 

Bear Brand also opened a plant in Siloam Springs in 1951, followed by factories in Bentonville in 1962 and Rogers in 1968. The 1960s saw Bear Brand’s focus shift to production of women’s pantyhose, making Northwest Arkansas a leader in the pantyhose industry. In 1970, Fayetteville hosted Bear Brand’s annual national sales meeting. Held at the Holiday Inn, the convention featured a “psychadelic, choreographed fashion show” which stressed the “hosiery needs of the liberated woman.” New hosiery styles shown included “those for the woman with a generous figure, thigh-high styles for future fashion in longuette (mid-length) dresses, an over-the-calf style for wearing with pants suits, styles for the young or early teen petite figure, and a nude pantyhose with only the waistband unconcealed.” (Northwest Arkansas Times, June 3, 1970)

The Siloam Springs Bear Brand factory closed in 1975 and the Rogers plant in 1976, with the Bentonville and Fayetteville operations soon to follow.

Donated by David Quin

This teddy bear was a marketing item for Bear Brand Hosiery Company. Founded in Chicago in 1893 as Paramount Knitting Company, the name was changed to Bear Brand in 1922. At first the company specialized in factory-made fleece-lined men’s socks, later branching out to include stockings for women and casual socks for the whole family.

In 1951, Bear Brand Hosiery opened a factory in south Fayetteville (the present-day location of the Arkansas Research and Technology Park on Cato Springs Road). According to an article in the Northwest Arkansas Times (April 10, 1951), the new plant boasted 280 knitting machines, “hundreds of windows which afford proper lighting,” a special ventilation system, and an employee cafeteria. The knitting machines were to be run on a double shift, yielding an output of 2500 pairs of socks per day. At its full operation, Bear Brand anticipated putting 150 local people to work. 

Bear Brand also opened a plant in Siloam Springs in 1951, followed by factories in Bentonville in 1962 and Rogers in 1968. The 1960s saw Bear Brand’s focus shift to production of women’s pantyhose, making Northwest Arkansas a leader in the pantyhose industry. In 1970, Fayetteville hosted Bear Brand’s annual national sales meeting. Held at the Holiday Inn, the convention featured a “psychadelic, choreographed fashion show” which stressed the “hosiery needs of the liberated woman.” New hosiery styles shown included “those for the woman with a generous figure, thigh-high styles for future fashion in longuette (mid-length) dresses, an over-the-calf style for wearing with pants suits, styles for the young or early teen petite figure, and a nude pantyhose with only the waistband unconcealed.” (Northwest Arkansas Times, June 3, 1970)

The Siloam Springs Bear Brand factory closed in 1975 and the Rogers plant in 1976, with the Bentonville and Fayetteville operations soon to follow.

Bisque and Composition Dolls

Donated by Ada Lee Shook

These dolls belonged to Frances Slaughter (b. 1905) when she was growing up in the Washington County community of Goshen. The dolls have no markings; no background information is known about them other than the baby is bisque (unglazed porcelain) and the boy is composition. Bisque dolls were developed in the late 1860s and were popular through the early 1900s. Composition is a mixture of glue and sawdust and was developed in the late 1800s. Sturdier than bisque, composition became the most common material used to manufacture dolls in the 1900s until the advent of plastic in the 1950s.