By Caurie Putnam
ROCHESTER, NY (Reuters) – Rubber Duckie you’re the one. The world’s most popular bath toy sunk fierce competition to be named one of two 2013 inductees to the United States’ National Toy Hall of Fame on Thursday.
The rubber duck and the game of chess were selected from 12 finalists including bubbles, Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green army men, Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, Pac-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the scooter.
“The winners this year represent both extremes in the world of play,” said Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections at The Strong, a children’s and cultural history museum in western New York where the National Toy Hall of Fame resides.
They follow 51 other toys inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame since 1998, with Star Wars figures and dominoes chosen last year.
The rubber duck first appeared on the toy scene in the late 1800s – the original ducks did not float, but were used as chew toys for babies. They developed into floating tub toys in the 1940s and now come in a myriad of colors and collectible designs that dress up ducks as everything from dental hygienists to vampires.
“They have evolved from water play,” said Patricia Hogan, the museum’s curator of toys and dolls. “They have been a fixture of pop culture for decades and recent variations of the toy appeal to adults as well as toddlers.”
Chess, one of the world’s oldest games, springs from an ancient Indian war game called chaturanga, in which pawns represented different types of fighting men. Around 1475, in England, chess began evolving into today’s classic game of wit.
“The game demonstrates the importance of intellectual play throughout most of human kind’s important history,” said Nicolas Ricketts, the museum’s curator of art, paper, clothing, and board games.
Chess and the rubber duck were chosen from more than 300 toys that are nominated by the public each year.