Chess. The Rubber Duck. Dominoes. Hot Wheels. All past inductees of the National Toy Hall of Fame. Nominations for the 2014 induction are now being considered and I can think of no better candidate than the Hess Truck. Unlike baseball, the public has a voice when it comes to deciding what toys make the cut. Anyone can submit a nomination form to help make the case for the favorite toy to the selection committee. If we hope to see the Hess Truck join the hallowed ranks of the hall it must meet the following criteria.
- Icon-status: The toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered
- Longevity: The toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations
- Discovery: The toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play
- Innovation: The toy profoundly changed play or toy design. A toy may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.
So how do our little green and white trucks measure up when it comes to icon status? Strongly! The Hess Truck has also been a fixture of the Macy’s Day parade since 2000 and was most recently incorporated into the 85th anniversary snow globe commemorating the parade. Across the country fire departments have rechristened their rigs to mimic the look and feel of past Hess Truck releases. Check out this real life example created by the Great River Fire Department. Over 300 hours were dedicated to make this truck a reality so it could complete its mission of delivering gifts to children in need. Icon status achieved.
First introduced in 1964 by Hess company founder Leon Hess, the truck will celebrate its 50th anniversary this holiday season. The original hope for the truck was to provide a fun, high quality, and affordable toy during the holiday season. As I noted in past articles Hess Trucks are an extremely well built toy. The rigs I received as a child were played with hard and traveled countless miles across carpeted floors loaded with all sorts of imaginary cargo. Pulling them out of storage boxes years later revealed trucks that survived not only childhood but years of neglect during my foolish teenage years. All the the pieces were there, the lights worked, the doors opened and closed. Longevity, the Hess truck has it.
Did you know the first truck was a tanker that could be filled with water and emptied through an attached hose? Too cool. With each successive model year the Hess Truck morphed into a different vehicle. Some trucks came with boats, others with helicopters, some with race cars and one even had the space shuttle. Complete with realistic sounds, lights, rubber tires, and opening doors the Hess Trucks were often the next best thing to a real big rig a child could get. A few trucks even came with cargo that could be removed, a feature I adored as a child. Even as a 31 year old I was amazed and entertained with the features and the non restrictive nature of the truck. Check out my review of the 2013 model for a better picture of the fun these trucks inspire. Discovery achievement unlocked.
How did you come to access this site? I know it was an electronic device of some sort like a laptop, phone, or tablet. It doesn’t take an observant person to realize the children of today have these gadgets on their person nearly 24/7. Realizing this change in culture the modern Hess Truck can now interact with your smart device through the use of its sounds. Children can interact with the truck in both the real and digital worlds. No surprise really when you consider the Hess Truck was one of the first toy trucks to come with working lights and sound. A natural progression if you ask me. Innovation comes standard with the Hess Truck.
I hope I’ve made a convincing case for the Hess Truck. I’ll step down from my soap box now and let you make your decision. If you would like to submit a nomination you can do so by clicking here. The induction ceremony takes place in November of 2014 but the selection process begins now!