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Wooly Willy

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The original Wooly Willy was manufactured by the Smethport Specialty Company in 1955

Wooly Willy is a toy in which metal filings are moved about with a magnetic wand to add features to a cartoon face.[1] The toy was originally manufactured in Smethport, Pennsylvania and was launched on the toy market in 1955. It remains in production as of 2016.[2]

Funny Face, Betty Brunette, and Dapper Dan were similar toys.

The Woolly Willy trademark is currently held by the Beloit, Wisconsin-based company PlayMonster, formerly known as Patch Products, which purchased the Smethport Specialty Company in 2008.[citation needed]




The artwork for the first Wooly Willy was created by artist Leonard Mackowski of Bradford, Pa. His signature is found hidden in the grass on the reverse side.[4]


Priced at US$0.29, Wooly Willy was successfully launched on the market in 1955.[3] A buyer for G. C. Murphy dime store chain initially purchased six dozen of the toy and expected not to sell them for a year. The buyer called Herzog just two days later and ordered 12,000 for nationwide distribution.[5] F. W. Woolworth Company also distributed the toy. More than 75 million Wooly Willies have been sold.[5]


Wooly Willy became a hit with young baby boomers, and remains in production as of 2010[4] by the Smethport Specialty Company, which is now owned by PlayMonster. PlayMonster was known as Patch Products until 2016.[5][6]


  1. ^ "The Magnetic Appeal of Wooly Willy". www.mentalfloss.com. 2020-09-29. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  2. ^ "Original Wooly Willy". Play Monster. 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  3. ^ a b Waggoner, Susan (2007). Under the Tree: The Toys and Treats That Made Christmas Special, 1930-1970. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-58479-641-1.
  4. ^ a b Rich, Mark (2005). Warman's 101 Greatest Baby Boomer Toys. kp books. p. 193. ISBN 0-89689-220-4.
  5. ^ a b c Attoun, Marti. "Wooly Willy Attracting Smiles for 50 years". American Profile Sep. 27 - Oct. 5, p 12.
  6. ^ "Toy Industry Association Announces Its "Century of Toys List"". Business Wire. 2003-01-21. Retrieved 2008-10-29.

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