Iowa Toymakers Busy This Time of Year

Dec 12, 2014

We all had toys that we loved as children, do you remember your favorite?

According to Stacey Bannor, who makes wooden toys in Des Moines, it’s thought of an earlier time that motivated her and her husband to go into business.

“I used to run a daycare, and toys were breaking all the time," she explains. "One year my husband wanted to make our boys wooden trucks, and they were really neat. That’s when I thought, ‘we could sell these.’”

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Bannor and two other Iowans steeped in the world of toys. Kate Bossen, who owns Bossen Implement Farm Toys, has been collecting and dealing farm toys for more than twenty years. She ships toy tractors made by storied Iowa companies all over the world. 

A kaleidoscope that Leonard Olson made in his shop in Pochahontas, Iowa

“We try to make Bossen like a real implement dealer,” she says. “If you want lights or windshield wipers for your toy tractor, we can do that.”

Leonard Olson, who owns the Kaleidoscope Factory in Pocahontas, Iowa, also joins the show. He quit his job as a computer programmer and started making kaleidoscopes after suffering from a severe heart attack a number of years ago.

“Kaleidoscopes,” he says, “are a metaphor for life. If you look at Kaleidoscope and see a really beautiful image, and then hand it to your neighbor, something changes.”