“I make my toys in the hope that a young person will embrace them and allow his imagination to transport him or her to another time or place.” George Pfister
Above: A few of George's toys from ToymakingPlans.com plans Super Crane (left) and Triceratops (right).
I was born in 1935 in Chicago in the midst of the depression. All I remember of my early years is hunger and little else. I was the last of seven children. My father had no job and we provided our own entertainment like so many others in that time. Toys and dental work were a low priority.
George was involved in making his own toys at an early age as were thousands of Chicago youth. Below: This 1939 photo from ToymakingPlans.com files shows a group of young Chicago area teenagers selling their handmade toys and crafts at a yard sale.
While in high school I was scouted and signed to play baseball, property of the Baltimore Orioles. However, the curve ball proved my undoing so I volunteered for the draft.
As you know, in those days almost all of us served. I spent 38 months in the U.S. Army. When I returned I decided I would focus on obtaining a college degree.
I entered school and earned my degrees at Elmhurst, Illinois College and Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, Illinois. I spent the next 30 years in De Kalb as a teacher, counselor and administrator. My teaching experience awakened me to the individual differences in the background of our students.
Below: Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, Illinois.
I spent the next 30 years in De Kalb as a teacher, counselor and administrator. My teaching experience awakened me to the individual differences in the background of our students.
My own childhood lacked closeness and I vowed that my children would not have like circumstances. So I started to take evening classes in woodworking at our high school. I found that I loved working with wood and concentrated on toys. But my time was limited until my retirement in 1990. Since that time I have acquired a prolific library of toy books and plans including books from ToymakingPlans.com. I started toymaking in Northern California while working as a manager of a campground. A neighbor was a secretary for the Sonoma Country Public Health Nurses and she graciously accepted my toys for free distribution through the nurses. Above: The campgrounds of Northern California are in pristine wilderness areas like this.