Do you remember KangarIke, Ike Hopper, the Ikerville Flyer, Crockod-ike, Ikasaur, and Schmike from your childhood?
Introduced in the late 1920s by the Knapp Electric and Novelty Company (1895-1940s), Krazy Ikes were a wooden construction set from which the manufacturer promised children would “build a thousand funny things — all different.” Krazy Ikes consisted of various pieces that could be assembled to make people, animals and silly-somethings best called… Ikes. The slender connector pieces were about pencil-thickness and one to two inches long. These could attatch to knobs on the body, head or foot pieces.
As the popularity of Krazy Ikes endured, the company developed the Krazy-Ikes Game. It was patented in 1930 and manufactured in Indianapolis. The pieces were wooden and came in red, blue and yellow. A complete game set will include 28 red pieces, 19 blue pieces and 22 yellow pieces. The Ikes remained largely the same through WWII, having had the good fortune to be made of one of the few materials with no rationing restrictions. Whitman Publishing Company (better known for children’s books) eventually purchased rights to the toy and converted its production to plastics.
The Knapp Electric and Novelty Company was not a utility, but rather a toy and game manufacturer founded in 1895 in New York City by inventor David W. Knapp. The company moved to 3029 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis in the 1930s. Knapp specialized in electric motors, electric toy automobiles, board games, shocking coils, dynamos, toy trains, and magic kits. The company’s most popular game was probably The Knapp Questioner, manufactured from the 1890s through the late 1940s. This battery-operated quiz game advertised that it supplied “Answers by Electricity” (a great novelty in toys of the early 20th century). A correct answer to a question would elicit a buzz when contact was made with probes between question-and-answer studs on heavy paper over-lays. The game usually came with a number of question and answer sheets that Knapp also sold separately with subjects covering literature, nature, history, science, religion, current events and more.
The Knapps, in association with P.R. Mallory, also manufactured a range of electric items other than games while in Indianapolis including automobile fans, electric popcorn poppers, irons, coffee pots, small electric motors, toy motors, vaporizers, blenders, mixers and electric blankets.
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