Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - December 16, 2011

Toys of a time gone by

After children explore the LEGO landscape at the Museum of American Heritage, they can also travel back a century with a separate exhibit of vintage toys.

"A Child's World: Antique Toys 1870-1930" showcases the unusual collection of the Tad and Marybelle Cody family. Besides establishing an architectural firm, the late Tad Cody, a Stanford University graduate, became a toy manufacturer. He was said to be inspired by the gift of an antique train when he was a young man.

"He fell in love with them and decided to make his own," said Jim Wall, president of the museum's board of directors. The exhibit highlights both the myriad of trains owned by Cody and the tools he used to build them.

Also on display are pressed-metal antique toys, some dating back to the 19th century. They include a train station with small metal people milling about, a Paris cafe scene, and dolls on bicycles.

Several of the toys are rare because many metal items didn't make it past World War I, Wall said; they were melted down for the war effort.

The exhibit is open through April 29, Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

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