x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Toys that inspired children 40 years ago

Would today's children, used to fully assembled wonders presented on several occasions throughout the year, make of the simple, handmade playthings of their grandparents?

Boys demonstrated their ingenuity by making toy cars from oil and food tins in the absence of manufactured toys in 1971.
Boys demonstrated their ingenuity by making toy cars from oil and food tins in the absence of manufactured toys in 1971.

What would today's children, raised on the wonders of Toys R Us or Hamleys at the Dubai Mall, make of the playthings of their grandparents or even parents.

Would they have the imagination and resourcefulness to fashion a toy car out of old cans and with wooden axles held in place by what seem to be discarded rubber heels?

Taken in Al Ain by the redoubtable Gertrude Dyck, of Oasis Hospital fame, these homemade vehicles also reflect the times in which they were made; oil cans from BP and Shell and condensed milk tins from the Two Cows Brand.

The date of the photograph is given as 1971, the year of the formation of the UAE. The boys here are now doubtless grown men with families of their own. The leap of imagination for their children to imagine life here 40 years ago is as great as that required to see a battered tin can as a car.

* The National

Time Frame is a series that opens a window into the nation's past. Each week it features an image from the archives of both prominent institutions and private collections. Readers are invited to make contributions to yourpics@thenational.ae