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Little People History

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This page contains the following sections:

  1. The Grand and Glorious History of Little People
  2. Identifying and Dating Your Toy
  3. Logos and Dating
  4. Knock-Off's

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The Grand and Glorious History of Little People

      Those special guys and gals (and doggies, too) that are referred to by Fisher Price as "Little People" take many shapes and forms.  Certainly one of the most successful and well-recognized toy lines ever created, the Little People name lives on even to this day (1999), although it must be admitted that the current line of figures bear only a passing resemblance to their ancestors.   Be that as it may, the origins and history of the Little People products is not only interesting, but surely ranks as a classic American success story, and certainly exemplifies the true spirit and character of the company logo "Our Work is Child's Play".

    For convenience sake, the figures referred to as Little People can be broken down into four main categories and eras.  Further details on each of these eras can be found further below.


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Identifying and Dating Your Toy

Fisher-Price Toys Date Code

*This chart was provided by Brad Cassity

   In the above example, it's a 1975 toy; that's the first "catalog-year" that the item appeared for sale in a company sales brochure.

   Whew! Are you confused yet? Don't worry. All of the dates on our site are listed by the catalog-year dates (according to when the toy first appeared in a manufacturer catalog or price list, and what "year" that catalog or price listed is dated) and NOT according to the actual real-life "calender year". So a "1976" toy, which first appeared in a "1976" catalog or price list, is listed as being a "1976" toy EVEN THOUGH IT COULD HAVE CONCEIVABLY BEEN PURCHASED AT A RETAIL STORE IN LATE 1975 (such as Sears or Macy's, etc.). We use the manufacturer's "catalog-date" to date the toys (and believe that you should, too).

   WAIT, there's more! Because of the above "model-year" considerations, it may be possible that you will find a store catalog or advertisement (i.e. Sears) dated in 1975 with a toy listed on our site as being new in 1976. We use the manufacturer's "catalog-date" to date the toys!   So, if you come across such a situation, don't panic; now you understand why!

   One last thing: on many of the component pieces to the playsets (Little People, Adventure Series, Husky, etc.), some pieces will have a one or two letter/number cast into the piece (i.e. "2", "G", etc.). These are NOT date codes! As best as we can determine, these are the mold numbers that the item was produced in.......the company probably had several different molds that were used to produce, say, the black plastic wheels for the cars, and each mold had its own identification number ("2", etc.) for quality-assurance purposes. Click here for a quick peek!

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   Another way to attempt to "date" a toy....especially the pre-'70 through the study and analysis of the Company Logo Design that appears on the toy or on the packaging box. Since the company changed their logo a number of times, this method of dating can sometimes assist you, but most often (surprise!) just adds to the confusion. Here's why:

1956 only






Dates Unknown











   Let's go over them one at a time:

   (A) Used from 1931-55, this is one of the least reliable dating logos (since it didn't change very often); the most beneficial thing about it is that if you see it on a toy (or a packaging box), well, that means it's old! However, note this: items made in '56-later that were originally introduced before 1956 may still carry this logo design on the toy, on the box, or both!
   (B) A very nice new logo, wouldn't you say? And really great for dating purposes, since it was used for one year only (1956). However, toys made in '57-later that were originally introduced in 1956 may still cary this logo design on the toy, on the box, or both!
   (C) This logo introduces the "Second Generation" of company logo designs, a very creative and attractive design that would last, in its various forms and versions, for almost 40 years! Not bad!

   Introduced in the 1957 model year, it appears in catalogs, toys, and boxes until at least 1961......and has even been seen in some company catalogs and brochures until early in 1963. As usual, items made during this era sometimes carried this logo design, or may have still carried logo "A" or "B" (depending on the original toy introduction date)........or maybe they didn't! Having fun yet?

   (D) A nice refinement to the above's the same logo, but now "wrapped up" pretty in an outline of a gift box, complete with the ornamental "bow" on the left side. This logo actually appears in some catalogs and toys as far back as 1959, but doesn't come into predominant use until the 1962 model year. The last use of this logo appears to be in the 1971 model year.

   Sometime during this period, the logo received an enhancement in the form of the words "An Original" above the red and blue circles, thus making the logo read as follows: "An Original Fisher-Price Toy". Although it is unknown when or why this change took place, our best guess is that it was inspired by the introduction of cheaper "look-alike" products by competitors, or even outright toy forgery by crooks........and this change would supposedly add reassurance to the customer that what she was getting was "the Real McCoy".

   (E) A minor refinement occured in 1972 as the lettering style (text "font") for the "Fisher Price Toys" wording changed in three ways: first, it changed from all-capital-letters to a mixture of upper- and lower-case letters; second, the text was in bold type, and last, the font was a new design....actually known as Fisher Price Font, since it is specific to and developed by the company.....and it's really neat looking!

   This logo design hit the shelves for over 10 years, seeing its last use in 1983.
   (F) The use of this logo design is hard to pin appears in very few brochures, but does appear on some products and boxes. We can only assume that once Fisher-Price started marketing a number of non-toy products (such as furniture, roller skates, etc.) that it was necessary to drop the word "Toys" from the corporate logo.
   (G) The "Third Generation" of logo design. This logo (officially known as the "awning" design) appears as several different versions from 1984-up. The basic design is shown as style "G" in the pictures above. Four red scallops outlined by a white pinstripe, hang below a horizontal bar.
   (H) The next variation "H" is the same logo, but with the words "Fisher-Price" (in white) placed within the "awning" design. These two styles (G+H) have been used simultaneously from 1984-present. If logo style "G" was used, then the words "Fisher Price" would usually appear somewhere else on the packaging or on the toy.

   Style "G" appears to be the "earlier" version, appearing in 1984. Style "H" seems to have been a later variation, but starts to appear more and more often beginning around 1989, and then predominating from about 1994-on.

   (I) Another variation appears in 1991, and is shown as style "I" in the table above. In this version, the words "Fisher-Price" (in black) were directly below the "awning" design, and underlining the words was a horizontal blue bar. Lasting for only 3 years or so, this logo may represent the merger of the Kiddiecraft Toy Company into the Fisher-Price "umbrella" of toy companies, as Kiddiecraft had recently been acquired by Fisher Price. This "I" style logo appears in some product catalogs and on a few toys made during the 1991-1995 time frame.
   (J) Finally, most of the re-packaged Kiddiecraft toys ('91-94) used this logo style, where the "awning" was now blue (instead of red), the words "Fisher Price" were in white, and there was a red "pinstripe" tracing underneath the four scallops of the awning. An interesting side note is that the Kiddiecraft toy line items were then sold in Fisher-Price brand name packaging, but many of the toys still had the Kiddiecraft decals and logos on the toys themselves.

   Some final thoughts on logos and dating:

   Prior to 1984, the company logo almost always appeared on the packaging box, and many times on the toy itself via a decal, tag, or lithograph. However, from 1984-up the corporate logos appeared on the toy itself less and less (but it still always appeared on the packaging).

   And remember this: a toy that was made before and after a logo-change year may be difficult to date properly if you try to rely on the logo style as an indicator of the age. For example, the #915 farm was introduced in 1968, but in 1972 the company logo changed. But, 915 farms made in 1972-3 (or even later) may have had the earlier ('68-71) design logo printed on the roof litho. This isn't always true, but is certainly something to be aware of when trying to properly date an individual toy.

   And finally there's the issue of logo use on the catalog vs. logo use on the box vs. logo use on the toy itself. In some cases, we've seen the catalog use one logo style, the box a different style, and the toy a third style......whew! In one case (and we haven't seen everything!) the box itself had three different logo's used on it, click here to see! It makes you wonder if the folks at FP had some sort of corporate logo-schizophrenia!!

   Anyway, these are the facts, and are some of the many things you must consider when researching your lovable old toy! Happy hunting!

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   Imitation, they say, is the greatest form of flattery. And though that may be true, in the case of copyright or trademark-protected products, it is also illegal.

   Like so many other succesful, market-leading companies, Fisher Price has had its share of unauthorized competitors. Sometimes it takes the form of a "me-too" product........very similar to the original, but different enough (upon close inspection) to not infringe on any legal rights of the originator.

   And then there's the pure unadulterated fakes...........such as the Illco "little riders" vehicles and the Mexican "JP" Company products such as the #146 Pull-Along Lacing Shoe and many others. Some, like the Mexican JP products, are easy to distinguish from the real ones.........the wording is all in Spanish...........while others, like the Illco vehicles and some Little People figures take a trained eye to distinguish. So, as always, "caveat emptor".............let the buyer beware!

   Of course, if you're still confused, frustrated, or baffled, always feel free to write to us at  and we'll always be happy to try to assist you in any way possible!

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