“Batteries Not Included.” These are the three words most dreaded by parents as they anxiously watch their child open a gift. But once this technical hurdle is surmounted, battery-powered toys are truly awesome, as remote-control, or RC, cars chase the family cat under the dining-room table, helicopters and airplanes dive bomb little brothers and sisters, and toy robots march down long hallways, incinerating everything in their terrible paths.

Some of the most prized early battery-powered toys are the tin robots produced in postwar Japan. Flashy Jim from the 1950s featured a remote-control unit that held the toy’s batteries, while the Radicon Robot from the same decade was actually the first wireless remote-control toy. More traditional was Nomura’s Robotank-Z from the 1960s, which rolled on wheels that were hidden by lithographed tank treads, lit up, made noise, and moved red arms that ended in a claw. Bandai’s Moon Explorer, also from the 1960s, walked on blocky legs, shined a red beam of light from a third eye in the middle of its forehead, and featured an analog clock in its chest.

Model cars, of course, were perfect vehicles for hidden power sources. In 1965, A.C. Gilbert, the maker of Erector sets, produced a battery-powered Aston Martin, just like the one driven by James Bond. About a decade later, in 1976, Mego made a Ford Gran Torino just like the one on “Starsky and Hutch.” The red muscle car, with its trademark white stripe running down the sides and across the back of the car’s top, had a siren, lights, and changed direction when it ran into things like table legs or a wall.

Things that fly and float also lent themselves to battery power. Remote-control airplanes could be sent on surveillance missions to peak over the fence and into the neighbor’s backyard, while RC boats could be used to terrorize unsuspecting swimmers in the family pool. Batteries were also needed for anything that made noise, from “Donny & Marie” microphones that played through AM radios to “Partridge Family” basses and guitars.

Other battery-powered toys were ostensibly more benign. Fisher-Price and Playskool used the juice of D-cells and double-As to produce endless repetitions of sounds for toddlers. Although these educational toys were designed to stimulate growing young minds, they almost certainly destroyed those of many a parent.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

Embrace your inner child on this website from the Victoria and Albert Museum, filled with high-quality images and i… [read review or visit site]

The Wheelmen

The Wheelmen

This elegant tribute to turn-of-the-century bicycling includes memorabilia, photographs, and an index of 3140 bicyc… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Reading Deluxe Playmobile Toy Dashboard Battery Operated1958 Oliver Olympus 35 Toy Outboard MotorVintage Huge Pond Boat 24 Inch Japan Ito Wooden Model A-1 Toy Speed Boat In BoxVintage Wind Up Ambulance By Kingsbury All Original Working 1920's Age 92 Scarce1950's Japan Ito Company Battery-op Wood Speed Boat Toy Twin Props 21.5" #bc44Vintage Battery Operated Ahi Blue Batman Robin Batmobile Toy Car ! No Reserve !Johnson Vintage Toy Boat Motor On Wooden Wood Glider Boat Model Japan As Is1959 Johnson 50hp Super Sea Horse Outboard Toy Boat Motor K&o Japan For Parts?Huge 31 1/2" Ito Tmy Battle Ship Wooden Battery Op. Boat With Original Wood Box1964 Marx Hootin' Hollow Haunted House Tin Litho Bat Operated Halloween No Resv Yonezawa Chevrolet Unmarked Police Car With Mystery Action, Original Box, JapanVintage Firebird Iii. Concept Car.battery Op. Alps. Japan.1960s1950's Japan Scott-atwater 33hp Boat Motor Batery-op 5.5" Tall #bc301950's Japan Evinrude Big Twin Tiy Boat Motor Battery-op 5.5" Tall #bc47 1950’s Vintage Yonezawa Japan Battery Operated Opel Tin Toy CarVintage Battery Powered Wood + Plastic Toy Boat With Johnson Outboard Motor% 1960's Battery Operated Deluxe Reading B-400 Battleship 32 Inches Long1950's Japan Battery-op Wood Speed Boat Toy Twin Props 18" Long #bc45Attacking Martian Robot Prototype Horikawa JapanRare Vintage Rosko Walking Astronaut Toy Tinplate Robot; 1960's; Japan NomuraTn Nomura Army Command Jeep Battery Toy Tin Litho Vintage Japan 1960s With BoxEvinrude Big Twin 35 Horse Battery Operated Boat Motor Vintage Miniature Toy 1950's Litho Yonezawa Japan Tin Toy Battery Northwest Huge Airliner Plane1950's Japan Fleet Line Battery-op Wood Speed Boat Toy Single Prop 15" #bc46Vtg Cragstan High Jinks Circus Clown Chimp Toy Box Battery Operated Japan MintMasudaya "pressure Control" Half Track Battery Op. Vtg Tin,japan,nomura,yonezawaBandai "sightseen Bus" Battery Op. Vtg Tin Japan,yonezawa,masudaya,nomura,alps% 1960's Ideal Battery Operated Clancy The Great In Original Box 22" TallLinemar I Am The Boss Bear Japan Tin & Cloth Battery Operated Working Marx ToysC.k. Daishin Musical Jolly Chimp With BoxBandai Japan Tin Battery Operated 1960s 2 For 1 Volkswagen Bugs 10" Parts CarsSleeping Baby Bear Linemar Japan Vintage Battery Operated ToyVintage Motorized Toy Cruise BoatVintage 1960's Battery Operated Modern Robot By Yonezawa; Rare Japan TinplateVintage Battery Operated 1956 Vw Karman Ghia Complete Orig Working+box + InsertVintage Wind Up Spirit Of St. Louis Cragstan Htc Mint Box Friction 1956 Age 61Rare Metal House Tetsujin 28 T-28 Driver Cockpit Robot Limited Edition #12/50Vintage Very Rare Melody Kiddy School Bus Japan Plastic Toy Battery Operated NibIchiko Buick "polizia Stradale" Battery Op. Vtg Tin Japan,nomura,masudaya,bandaiVintage Batman Batmobile Tin Litho V8 Piston Car 1970's Battery Operated - Rare1950's Dentist Bear Battery Operated Tin Toy Japan For Parts Or RepairToy Outboard Motor - Johnson "30" "seahorse" From Mid-fiftiesCzechoslovak Vintage Space Toy Battery Operated Planet Vehicle Ites 60s RareVintage Battery Operated Fishing Bears Bank Complete All Original Working 1958Tug Boat Battery Operated Tricky Shaky Action By Louis Marx & Co. Light & Horn Original 1958 Tin Battery Op. Whiskey Barrel Rolling Turtle. A+. Works. No ResVintage Batmobile Battery Operated Batman Tin Car For Parts Restore Op Jolly Chimp Nice Condition With Box Works Daishin-japanNintendo Game WatchMarx Big Red Vintage Hot Rod, Battery-operated. With BoxVintage Huge Tin U.s. Air Force Af Jet Plane Thunder Jet F-84 Linemar Mar Parts1950's Wood Racing Boat 15" Long Great Details #bc31Tippco Superconstellation "klm" Friction/battery Vtg Tin,w.germany,arnold,schucoYonezawa Electra "lufthansa" Passenger Plane,battery,vtg,tin,japan,nomura,marxVintage Battery Operated Citroen Ds19 Complete All Original Working 1950s SuperbLarge 13" Vintage Ichiko Tin Battery Operated Highway Patrol Car W/speed MeterDaiya U.s. Army Vertol-107 Battery Op. Vtg Tin,japan,alps,nomura,yonezawa,mt,T.n Nomura "lited Piston Action Plane" Battery Op. Vtg Tin,japan Mib,yonezawaRed China Me641 Country Horse Cart,tin,friction,ms,mf,dongfeng,bejing,shanghaiVintage Musical Jolly Chimp Works Original Box!! Super Collectible Super Cool!!