Bringing Two Sisters and Their Brand Back to the Future

Hello

Please enjoy the background on the original Founders of Twinzy Toys their creations and where we hope to take the brand in the 21st century.  This story and the characters that drive it have captured my imagination and I hope that others will feel the same.

The Rebirth

of Twinzy Toys

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Bringing a Battle Creek Brand Back to Life

Squier House

In 1895 Charles Squier built a home for his new wife, Julia Hickman, right next door to his father’s house on Fremont Street, just north of the park.

Squier Factory

Shortly after completing his home he built a factory building behind the house. In this small factory Charles operated the American Manufacturing Company, producing shipping and merchandising tags on a machine he invented.

Sailor Twins

In 1918 Squier’s twin daughters, Bernice and Blanche, made a wager with their father that they could raise the money they needed to attend college at University of California Berkley.

Twinzy Ad Art

The girls began making dolls and earned the funds to pay for their first year at school.  But there were so many orders for their dolls that the twins decided to come home from school and began producing dolls and stuffed animals full time.  They formed the Twinzy Toy Company and went into business in their father’s factory building.

Twinzy Ad Art 2

Twinzy dolls, toys and animals were designed to be safe for young children.  They were made out of soft cloth and ginghams as well as art leather, which became the most popular line.  New dolls are made with certified organic materials and child safe ink.

Dolls on a shelf

Their first mass produced doll, the Buddy Doll, was a stocking doll with a painted face which resembled an elf.  Another popular doll was a “Man-on-the-Moon” figure with a glow-in-the-dark face.  From stuffed dolls the girls expanded into building blocks and stuffed animals.

First Patent Pic

Their dolls were displayed at the New York Toy Fair in 1920.  After the fair, the girls received their first patent and a large order from Marshall Fields.  By 1939 sales had increased and the twins opened a New York sales office.

Twins at Falls

In 1940 the twins ran into some labor problems and stopped making the popular toys.  One year later, when the twins returned from a trip to the West, they found so many orders awaiting them that they decided to resume production.

QP Entrance B&W

The Twinzy Toy Company continued to manufacture dolls well into early 1950s.  The factory building stood in its original location behind the house until the mid-1960s, when it was torn down by the owners at that time.  Parts of the foundation still remain at the site which is now in Quaker Park.

Twinzy Plaque

In modern day Quaker Park is where the latest chapter of the Twinzy Toy story began.

One day in 2010, while walking our dog Maddie, I came upon the plaque telling the story of the twins and their entrepreneurial exploits.  I was captivated and began looking into the history further with the help of the Historical Society of Battle Creek.  An interest in neighborhood history developed into a desire to relaunch the brand with a 21stcentury twist.

Gen E LogoHBC Logo

A new Twinzy Toy company was formed and was granted an exclusive license to the Twinzy brand by the Historical Society of Battle Creek.  This company is partnering with Generation E, a local non profit dedicated to youth entrepreneurship, as well as with local students.  These students own and run aspects of the business to make money for their education.  A portion of the proceeds also go to the Historical Society to further their mission of historical preservation and education.  Twinzy Toys is truly a community venture that supports economic, social, and environmental well being.

Twins with Dog

It has been a wonderful adventure of discovery thus far. We are excited to continue on the journey in the months and years to come but we can’t do it without you.  Your feedback, your ideas, your stories, and your experiences with Twinzy Toys are what truly bring the brand to life.  We can explore the rich history together as we retell the true tales of the twins, their town, and their times.   We can also carry the story forward into the present day and write new chapters together.

another proof for prototype first run

Thank you for choosing Twinzy Toys and we look forward to building the brand with you today, for the children and the stories of tomorrow.

To share your experiences and ideas for further Twinzy Toys and stories please visit us and post pictures and suggestions.

Thank you

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5 thoughts on “Bringing Two Sisters and Their Brand Back to the Future

  1. I’m planning to build this website this winter. When done perhaps you would like to showcase twenty toys there. We’ll chat.

  2. My parents owned this home at 149 Fremont Street and were the ones who had the toy factory behind it torn down. My family lived there for several years and we used to have Halloween parties in the factory. Years ago my Mom gave the Historical Society some items she had from the factory that are exhibited at the Kimball House Museum.

    1. Hi Todd,

      Thanks for sharing. Would you be open to getting together to share more stories. Not sure if you are local but I am here n BC and open next week.

      1. Sorry for the late response as I just saw this. I am on the Board of Directors for Heritage Battle Creek and believe you came to our meeting a few months ago. Both of my parents and I live in Battle Creek and would be glad to meet with you if you would like. My email address is Greenbc25@aol.com.

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