Monday, April 23, 2007

Get a buzz out of the Buzzy Bee’s buzzes... zzzzzzz!

Have you ever seen a child as busy as a bee with a Buzzy Bee? No? Then let us tell you all about this famous toy.

The Buzzy Bee is one of the many icons of New Zealand. Created by Hector and John Ramsey, it was first released in the mid 1940’s. It is a very famous pull-along nursery toy. Made of wood, it comes in bright colors and represents a honey bee. As you pull it along by its string, the wings go round and round and it makes a clicking noise. The faster you go, the louder it gets.

The Aukland brothers first started by producing wooden homeware. They then made toys and their first release was the famous Mary Lou Doll in 1941. It was immediately a great success. Afterwards other wooden characters such as the Buzzy Bee came out. The sale of the Buzzy Bee increased rapidly after the post-World War II baby boom. A that time, couples that had been separated by the war could reunite which resulted in many births. In 1989, even Prince William of Wales was seen playing with the toy, which gave it free publicity.

In the 70’s, there was a fire in the factory where the Buzzy Bee was originally produced, and the Buzzy Bee operation was sold to different companies. It was then sold to the Lion Rock Ventures Limited (a company that specializes in commercialization) which still owns it today.

John Ramsey was instrumental in designing the Buzzy Bee and sourcing the native timber – Tawa – from which it was made. The material has changed several times. The original wings tended to damage children’s teeth. They were thus replaced by plastic ones in the late 60's. The Buzzy Bee has remained pretty much the same in appearance since the 1990’s. It has had to undergo changes due to safety regulations though. It has furthermore always been entirely assembled in New Zealand.

The Buzzy Bee has given rise to a wide array of by-products from jigsaws and story books to mobiles and underwear. In addition, stories and songs for toddlers have been published featuring the Buzzy Bee as the main character. The commercialization of these products in the world shows how much this little wooden toy has influenced children and parents over time.

Deborah and Na
tassia :-)

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