of Twinzy Toys
Bringing a Battle Creek Brand Back to Life
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 21st century twist.
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.
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.
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.