TP Toys History
Ever wondered where and when TP Toys started? Take a look at our long history below - going all the way back to when we were founded in 1959!
TP turns 60 years old! Still, as innovative as ever, TP delivers a new range of Mud Kitchen Accessories that can be added to the side of wooden playhouses, adding a whole new world of fun. The fun continues with the revolutionary 3-in-1 Activity Swing Seat, fully equipped with 3 modes that allow you to swing, stand and hang! 2019 has lots more surprises still to come, so stay tuned!
The TP Design Barn opens in the beautiful Worcestershire countryside, home to TP’s in-house design team.
New QuadPod arrives, the new 4-in-1 swing seat. Replacing a top best-seller, the new Quadpod retains all the best in the original design but now includes a tilting T bar for easy access and SwingSafe stabiliser bars for an exceptionally straight swing.
TP delivers their first ever TV campaign!
TP’s innovation in trampoline design culminates in the launch of the new igloo door surround for the best-selling TP Genius Trampolines. Getting in and out of a trampoline has never been so much fun!
TP is now part of the family of Mookie Toys, the home of the UK’s No1 outdoor toy, Swingball. Mookie Toys is a great British toy company, with a reputation for innovative design and excellent quality. It’s the perfect new home for TP’s range of active outdoor playsets and trampolines.
Many TP toys are still made in England. All are made from quality materials, to the highest standards and backed with impressive guarantees that mean you can buy TP with confidence.
The Kingswood range of wooden play sets is added to the range and for the first time it is possible to ‘grow’ a wooden climbing frame. With the additional purchase of a Top Deck, the Kingswood Low Tower grows up to full height. Now children as young as 18 months can enjoy wooden climbing frames too.
As wood becomes a more popular choice for outdoor play equipment, TP begin to manufacture wooden climbing frames and wooden swing sets at their own factory in Stourport, launching the award winning Sherwood range in this year. At the same time most of the extensive range of accessories are made available in green as well as the traditional blue/orange colour way – a better fit with natural wood products.
TP commission the largest injection moulding tool ever made for the toy industry and create the new CrazyWavy slide. Made from injection moulded polyethylene, the CrazyWavy slide is so strong there is no need for conventional steel framework. It also makes the slide very quick and easy to assemble.
A year of significant product innovation for TP Toys. The Challenger Climbing Frame becomes ‘growable’ as Challenger 2 is launched. TP now offer two steel climbing frames suitable for children under three years old. Both ‘grow’ from toddler to full height at no extra cost. All that is needed to grow the frame is included in the original purchase.
In the same year, a large wooden climbing frame with swings, the Chesapeake, is included in the TP range for the first time. Many of the ever-popular TP swing accessories fit the new Chesapeake, so it has immediate appeal. In the next few years, timber will become a material of choice for outdoor playsets as parents seek more natural-looking play equipment that blends into the garden environment.
Also new for 1999, was the introduction of a range of large circular trampolines. The rectangular gymnastic trampoline was now joined by four circular trampolines, ideal for all family use. The circular design automatically directs the jumper back into the centre of the mat so is ideal for the less experienced trampolinist. Like timber playsets, trampolines were already very popular in the USA. In a few more years, their popularity in the UK will have increased significantly
New to the range this year is the Nursery Roundabout. Now children can enjoy playground fun at home. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, the roundabout is easy to carry and fun for children up to 10 years old
The TP Skyride, the most popular two seater swing attachment in the TP range is launched. Child accelerated so ‘can you push me’ becomes a thing of the past!
Another new departure that year - the launch of tptoys.com
A good year for swing sets!
TP patent a great idea for small gardens, the City Swing. The heavy duty load bearing frame is simply bolted to the wall of the house and a fun swing set is created in a very small space.
The Outrigger, forerunner of the Swingdeck, brings new play value to the Giant Swing range. Now it is possible to add climbing, hiding and sliding activity to your TP Giant Swing Set.
The unique concept of ‘growability’ is developed for the best selling Everest climbing frame, the forerunner of today’s Explorer. TP have long been committed to making toys that last for generations. Now, by facilitating assembly of the Everest at half height, to later grow the frame to full height at no extra cost, the play life of Everest frame is extended. Children as young as 18 months can now join in the fun.
In the same year TP are awarded the accolade of Best British Toy Company 1993 by the National Association of Toy Retailers
TP form a subsidiary company, TFH, for children with special needs or learning difficulties. TFH offer over 1000 specialist items including TP outdoor play equipment specifically modified to meet the needs of these children.
Another TP first - the Romany Caravan. Made from galvanised steel and heavy duty canvas, it’s considerably bigger than a traditional playhouse. It comes complete with foldaway table and bench. Bunk beds are an optional extra!
It has the added benefit of mobility but, as it is very heavy, travel is limited - unless there’s a passing carthorse!
The Universal Tree House is added to the TP range. It consists of a platform that can be located between two trees, on the fork of a large tree or onto the wall of a house, garage or outbuilding. On the platform can be built the perfect wooden play house or a heavy-duty canvas den. Modularity remains key and lots of TP climbing accessories are compatible.
The Slippy Slide, the forerunner of today’s Aqua Slide, is patented and included in the TP range. Perfect for summer days the super slippy surface is great for use both with and without a slide.
The TP garden roller coaster arrives - best described as a toboggan ‘car’ which travels very quickly down a slide and tracks. It quickly becomes a big favourite!
By now the idea of providing a covered den space on an open climbing frame is gaining in popularity as hiding joins climbing and sliding as a key activity for all TP climbing frames. Now the TP climbing frame is a perfect pirate lookout, a castle, or the perfect venue for a teddy bears picnic.
TP introduce the first ever vacuum formed slide with a steel support to their range made from High Density Polypropylene, chosen for its very smooth sliding surface. The new slide is exceptionally robust, guaranteeing years of play. It works so well and proves so popular, slides made from fibreglass and steel are soon a thing of the past. The first ever vacuum formed sandpit follows shortly.
In the same year the Andes frame is launched, the forerunner of today’s Challenger Climbing Frame. It’s designed to incorporate the most popular features of TP climbing frames – the monkey run and the somersault bar.
Always on the lookout for new ideas, the TP team add the Red ribbon Pony Jump to their range. The lightweight poles and uprights are strong and safe to avoid injury to both the pony and rider. They require no maintenance - unlike the pony!
Modularity and choice are now key features of the TP range of outdoor playsets and by 1978 the choice of both swinging and climbing accessories has grown to include special swing seats for babies, scrambling nets, rope ladders and the super new Twizzler, designed for 360° spinning without tangled ropes. Most accessories also work well suspended from trees. Providing a big choice of accessories remains a key TP value.
TP launch the all-new Tough-Slide - made entirely of galvanised steel and welded - so no nuts and bolts. Available in two sizes, the Tough Slide is used both off-climbing frames and freestanding with the additional purchase of steel steps.
In the same year, TP introduce the first UK-designed and manufactured large garden trampoline.
TP expand its range for kindergartens and nurseries. As well as small trampolines and super tough sandpits, the educational range now includes an indoor climbing frame made from wood. Perfect for indoor use, it folds flat for easy storage and transportation. By 1979 the range will also include 4-sided blackboards, a folding slide, desks and painting easels. Kindergartens and nurseries throughout Europe enjoy TP educational products today
TP win the National Association of Toy Retailers Council Award ‘for pioneering and continuing to lead in quality outdoor toys.’ In the same year, John Lewis become stockists of the TP range
Tube Plastics become the first UK manufacturer to make slides out of fibreglass. Before this innovation, TP slides had been made of wood by a coffin maker in Cradley Heath, H Cope & Sons. Quality inspections occurred amidst the coffins! Fibreglass proves a far better material than wood due its smooth finish. Also, fibreglass slides could be played on quickly after rain - unlike wood equivalents.
TP produce their first printed brochure and introduce the Giant Scrambler - an up and over commando frame made for years of use, lots of children and hours of fun! Just like the steel climbing frames, it's made from heavy duty hot dipped galvanised tubing for all year round use
The first TP designed product is patented - the Single Tower Climbing Set. This initial innovatory design is developed to offer multi tower options and a big range of accessories. It’s the start of the modularity that will become the hallmark of TP outdoor playsets
In the same year the UK's first mini trampolines are designed and manufactured by TP and shown at the BTHA Toy Fair, this time held in Brighton.
TP attend their first UK Toy Fair held in the Mount Royal Hotel, Oxford Street. The products are put on display for the buyers in the hotel bedrooms! At this event, TP receive their first order from Harrods of Knightsbridge - for a steel climbing frame. A new climbing frame design is developed for Harrods - the Action Play Climber - comprising a tower at one end, a ladder across the top and two splayed ladders at the other end where a swing could be fitted. The new steel climbing frame design requires welding but experimentation with thick plastic coatings and the welding process prove disappointing. Another solution is found - hot dip galvanising. Up until now, there were painted steel climbing frames on the market but the paint soon chipped, allowing rust to develop. TP want to supply Harrods with a climbing frame that will last from one generation into the next, and hot dip galvanising proves the answer. The Action Play Climber becomes the first galvanised steel climbing frame to be manufactured in the UK and, because its welded, requires no nuts and bolts to assemble.
TP manufacture their first garden swing set using plastic covered steel tubing. In the late 60s the first Giant Swing – a Single - is added to the swing range. The Double Swing doesn’t appear until 1978
In 1959, the first Hula Hoop craze begins. The founders of TP Activity Toys Limited have access to a supply of semi-rigid plastic tubing which they make into hoops at home and sell from their cars. With the £200 profit from this enterprise they begin to develop products which could be made from plastic-sleeved steel tubing hence the name Tube Plastics which the TP stands for.