Today I wanted to give tribute to a very talented toy maker:
I first heard of Lester Ruth in the fall of 2010, when my sister and girlfriend started talking about the toys they had seen at the Cotuit Craft Festival. They raved and raved about the toy they had just bought for our friends daughter.
The following year, my sister reminded me of the festival, so we packed up the car and headed on over. We talked excitedly about the toys as we drove. Upon arriving there were many vendors displaying some pretty amazing products; from hand carved wooden birds with exquisite details to homemade belt buckles and leather shoes. There were even some baby/toddler shoes for only $5! (I bought some of course). But I could not be swayed from finding this myth of a man whom everyone talked about.
We finally rounded the corner and found his display and I was instantly brought back to childhood!
The beautiful wooden toys gleamed on the table, aching to find a loving home with a family and a child who would love them as much as their maker had. There were trains that would delight any child, wooden boats with people that float, walking toys, dogs, dinosaurs, frogs, baby carriages and more. He even had wooden toys for adults! Old fashioned telephones, movie cameras, airplanes and cameras are sure to bring some nostalgia to many!
Lester didn’t disappoint either. He reminded me of slimmed down Santa Clause if you will. He had the snow white beard complete with the glasses, and a twinkle in his eyes. He picked up each toy lovingly and describes how he made it, what it is painted with, whether it has the ability to float, where the people can be moved to, etc. You could tell how extremely passionate he is about what he does and that is something rare to see.
Lester also gives a lifetime guarantee on his work:
“Since 1977, same terms:
Unconditional, unlimited guarantee of satisfaction. If you are ever dissatisfied with a toy you purchase from us, we will, at your sole discretion, give refund or exchange, make free repairs, always, postage paid both ways, collect calls accepted, personal checks are best, or money orders, we take visa, mc and amex. ….”
That’s pretty amazing! It is rare to find toys for our children these days that are American made with a lifetime guarantee, wooden, simple, and that our children will come back time and time and time again to play with.
We came away that day purchasing a 6 seater pull toy for my son while his Aunt bought him a wooden boat that could float in the tub. We knew at the time that these would be great birthday presents.
Since his birthday, my son remains obsessed daily with these two toys. He takes the wooden people out and puts them back, we talk about the colors of the people and I show him how they can slide through the boat. He chases after me as I pull the toy and then stands to mimic me and
tries to pull it along. We even brought it to our Mommy and Me Conditioning class and shared it with the other babies who also loved it! These are toys that will be well loved by our son and can be handed down from one generation to the next. They are well worth the investment to us.
So Mr. Lester Ruth, THANK YOU! Thank you for having the passion to create such simple yet wonderful toys!
Below I have put up a file of Lester Ruth’s order form and toys. He will also create custom pieces upon request. Happy Playing!
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