Rubber duck and chess join the Toy Hall of Fame

The rubber duck 'has been a fixture in pop culture for decades'. Photo / Thinkstock
The rubber duck 'has been a fixture in pop culture for decades'. Photo / Thinkstock

The rubber duck squeaked out a win for a place in the US National Toy Hall of Fame, joining the ancient game of chess in the 2013 class.

The pair beat out 10 other finalists: bubbles, the board game Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green Army men, the Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, the Pac-Man video game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the scooter.

A national selection committee made up of 23 experts, including toy collectors, designers and psychologists, voted in the winners.

"The two inductees ... are fantastic examples of the two extremes in the world of play," said Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections at The Strong Museum, which houses the 15-year-old hall.

"One is so strategic. It's rule-driven. It's something that adults play and puzzle over," Bensch said, "and at the other extreme is a toy that's pure fun. It has no rules. No one wins or loses."

Anyone can nominate a toy for the hall of fame, but to make it through the selection process and become a finalist a toy must have achieved icon status, survived through generations, foster learning, creativity or discovery and have profoundly changed play or toy design.

"If there is a game you can call classic, this is that game," said curator Nicolas Ricketts.

Chess can be traced back centuries to an ancient Indian war game, but evolved into the game it is today by 1475, Ricketts said.

Chess can be traced back centuries to an ancient Indian war game.Photo / Thinkstock
Chess can be traced back centuries to an ancient Indian war game.Photo / Thinkstock

"Scholars today still study the effect of this game's play on the childhood brain and development," he said.

The rubber duck "has been a fixture in pop culture for decades," curator Patricia Hogan said.

Although rubber toys first appeared in the late 1880s, no one knows exactly who hatched the idea of the rubber duck, museum officials said.

To date, 53 toys are in the National Toy Hall of Fame, including alphabet blocks, the jump rope, playing cards, Scrabble and the stick.

- AP

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