Mechanical Toys — November 30, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Innovating an Ageless Toy


This past summer, when the new generation of Z WindUps came off the assembly line, it began a new era in the evolution of windup toys. Never before has such precision been achieved from a small, spring driven toy. This is no small feat considering the long history of windup or spring driven toys.

Spring driven machines have been around for more than 500 years, including extensive work by Leonardo da Vinci. Mass production of windup toys began in Europe in the 1880s, but the limitation was the inability to create precision gears and linkage. Injection molded plastics overcome this limitation.

After more than 18 months of development on the new Z WindUps there is no better example of the evolution of windup toys than WINKY, the two-inch tall frog. He requires 16 separate pre-assembly operations on the gear box alone to attach the 6 cams, 4 gears, 2 pushers, 3 cam locks and 1 eye function
arm. With 42 total parts and 8 paint steps to create this single toy, he is a mechanical marvel.

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