1963: The magnetic boards – 1964: The train set
The exceedingly fortunate series of magnetic boards, which were to contribute greatly towards the success of the company in the following years, were born in 1963 through a trade agreement between Quercetti and the English company Mettoy Playcraft Ltd (Metal Toy) for the distribution (exclusive in Italy) of the assortment of boards made by the New York company “Child Guidance Toys” a brand belonging to Archer Plastics Inc. This firm was in fact one of the first in the toy sector worldwide to use plastic, following the pioneering suggestion of the English company, founded in 1932 by Hilary Fischer Page, Kiddicraft “Sensible” Toys.
After an initial phase where Quercetti simply distributed American products on national territory, the increasing popularity led to the installation of pressing facilities within Italy for the production of an ever wider array of magnetic boards both with magnetic letters and numbers, but also geometrical shapes to be freely arranged for compositions. Also the famous Train Set was entirely in plastic and its movement was powered by children’s energy. The tracks could be put together to create circuits that were different every time, and this was such a great success in Italy as far as sales were concerned, that it has remained in the catalogue to date. The presses were at first all purchased by the Mettoy firm, which was evidently not interested in using them itself, being specialized in metallic die cast for toy cars with the make Corgi Toys; later developed and increased internally (1968) with machines for printing accessories, which made the assortment richer and broader. The train set had been undergoing production for quite a few years, also overseas, by the same American company that produced the magnetic boards, namely Child Guidance Toys, therefore it is likely that the holder of the original patents was the latter and not the English company.