Major Morgan

A favourite toy for many but who designed this music man?

Major Morgan
Case number - AIBDC : 0_2306
Playskool Major Morgan, a blue, red and yellow electronic music making game from the 1970s. A card would have been placed at the front of the toy and instructions followed in order to play a tune by pressing the buttons.
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DesignerUnknown - Wanted
ManufacturerPlayskool
Manufactured forHasbro
CountryHong Kong
Date1976 (circa)
Dimensionslength 180 mm, width 75 mm, depth 32 mm
Materialsplastic, unknown - Wanted
Methodinjection moulded
Coloursblue, red, yellow
Inscriptionmoulded: "Major Morgan T.M.United states patent No~British Paternt No. 1,454 349. Made in Hong Kong" (rear)
href=" http://10most.org.uk/artefact/major-morgan"

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30/05/14

Major Morgan AIBDC : 0_2306 This object is part of a trial to see if giving specific guidance on research methods makes the game a more successful means of obtaining information about the objects featured. We know a lot about this classic toy but not who designed it or the plastic from which it was made. We do have a patent number. Ways of researching it include looking for the patent, looking at books or websites about toys, and writing to the manufacturers Playskool or the company it was made for, Hasbro. Do please see what you can find out. Follow the investigation here: http://10most.org.uk/artefact/major-morgan.

30/05/14

Patent No. 1454349 granted February 15th 1974 to L.J.Greenberg and G.E.Hyman for an educational apparatus incorporating a keyboard and battery operated tone generator. See -http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&II=3&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=19761103&CC=GB&NR=1454349A&KC=A

31/05/14

You've come up trumps again, Ian. So L.J. Greenberg and G.E.Hyman were responsible for the sound bits. Is that right? But we still need to find out who invented the 'Major Morgan' idea. Have you any thoughts on that?

31/05/14

No. Photo ref - https://www.flickr.com/photos/honeyfitz/3751297177/

01/06/14

Good to see the packaging and now we know it was called the Electronic Organ.

03/06/14

Major Morgan was invented by Greg Hyman and Larry Greenberg of Hyman/Greenberg Associates. The Museum of Play says - ‘Fresh out of college, Hyman built customized electronic devices for advertising and public relations firms and for television game-show presentations. By 1974 Hyman had partnered with Larry Greenberg, a man he had met in television work. They started their own firm, Hyman/Greenberg Associates, and developed toy ideas to pitch to manufacturers. Because no manufacturers licensed any of their electronic toys for several years, the two inventors needed to keep “real jobs,” as Hyman described them. In 1977 the men’s luck improved. Creative Playthings manufactured the pair’s first toy, Little Maestro Piano Organ, and Milton Bradley signed Hyman and Greenberg to contracts that paid advances against future toy ideas. Finally, the two could turn to toy design full-time. Playskool introduced their first big success, Alphie the Robot, whose lights, sounds, music, action, and games helped youngsters learn letters, numbers, songs, and more. Additional card sets varied Alphie’s lessons and activities. Alphie went through seven versions; the latest arrived in 2010, just in time for kids who grew up with Alphie in the 1970s to purchase the new and improved Alphie for their own children. Hyman and Greenberg licensed 40 toys together before Greenberg passed away in 1992. Their inventions include Major Morgan the Electronic Organ, an electronic musical phone, a Win, Lose, or Draw game, and the Big Blaster Electronic Bike Horn. In the 1990s and after, Hyman continued inventing toys on his own or with other inventors.’ See -http://www.museumofplay.org/blog/play-stuff/2012/04/the-path-to-toy-invention-greg-hyman/

08/06/14

Brilliant, Ian. So all we need to find out now is which plastic was used to make it. Do you have views on that?

08/06/14

No. Not without being able to apply the Williamson test. That is, being able to touch it. This test is, of course, better performed by Colin Williamson himself.

09/06/14

Thanks, Ian. I'll ask the colleagues to take another look. We are as a team much better at materials than we were a few years ago.

19/06/14

Well - we've.had another look (and feel). We favour HIPS but are not confident. Would you be inclined to agree Ian, or not?

20/06/14

Can't tell without touching it.

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Case notes

Susan Lambert's picture

Major Morgan: Case AIBDC : 0_2306

This object is part of a trial to see if giving specific guidance on research methods makes the game a more successful means of obtaining information about the objects featured.

We know a lot about this classic toy but not who designed it or the plastic from which it was made.  We do have a patent number. Ways of researching it include looking for the patent, looking at books or websites about toys, and writing to the manufacturers Playskool or the company it was made for, Hasbro. Do please see what you can find out.

 

Patent found

30/05/14

Chief Agent Holdsworth has come up trumps again. He has found Patent No. 1454349 granted February 15th 1974 to L.J.Greenberg and G.E.Hyman for an educational apparatus incorporating a keyboard and battery operated tone generator.
See -http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio...

But where did the idea for Major Morgan come from and we are still wanting to know what plastic it is made out of.
 

Titled: The Electronic Organ

31/05/14

Chief Agent Holdsworth has found an image of Major Morgan 's packaging.

We are still looking for the name of the person who came up with the idea and also the plastic.

Designed by Greg Hyman and Larry Greenberg

03/06/14

Chief Agent Holdsworth has done another brilliant job and found a mass of information about Greg Hyman and Larry Greenberg including confirmation that their involvement with Major Morgan included creating the concept. Read about it here: http://www.museumofplay.org/blog/play-stuff/2012/04/the-path-to-toy-inve....

We are still looking for the material used to make this toy. What thoughts do you have?