ABOVE: Thanks to the efforts of George G. Wagner and his company Nomura's Ratchet, Radar, and Zoomer Robots were broadly distributed in the United States.


ABOVE: Printed in indigo ink on buff paper, the modest fourteen page 1956 George G. Wagner Co. was packed with top selling items which caught the eyes of the toy buyers for some of the top department stores and retail chains in the United States. Thanks to this catalog we know the Ratchet Robot was named for the sound made by the toy.



ABOVE: Radar Robot, nicknamed "Robbie" to cash in on the publicity surrounding MGM's Forbidden Planet, saw national distribution through Goodyear Service Stores. In postwar boom years the Goodyear Service Stores in many markets followed Western Auto's successful formula of offering general merchandise and toys in addition to automtive products and services.

ABOVE: The Cover of Peoria-based Block & Kuhl Company's Toytime 1956 Christmas Catalog.

ABOVE: Much of the Toytime 1956 Catalog showcased selections of toys grouped by manufacturer or by importer. Generous space was allocated to "Wagner Toys for Girls and Boys" which included the Radar Robot priced at $2.98. Although the photo was black and white we can clearly ascertain that the silver face/blue body version is being depicted. By the mid-1950s Block & Kuhl had well over a dozen stores so being included in the catalog would have been a major sale for the George G. Wagner Company.

ABOVE: Block and Kuhl's stately downtown flagship store as it appeared in the late 1950s. By 1961 Block & Kuhl had expanded to 20 units and was purchased by Carson, Pirie, Scott, & Co.

ABOVE: Advance Auto's Toyland Gift Book featured a lavish full-color rendering of Ratchet Robot on the back cover priced attractively at $1.89. In the 1950s Advance Stores was a southern regional chain modeled after Western Auto. Embarking on a period of rapid expansion beginning in the late 1990s, Advance Stores evolved into the 3,300 unit chain of stores we know today mostly by the name Advance Auto which operates in 40 U.S. states and two U.S. territories. The exact same Toyland Gift catalog was also used by Guarantee Auto Stores with the only difference being that Ratchet Robot was priced .10 cents lower at $1.79.

ABOVE TOP LEFT AND RIGHT: Chicago's Carson, Pirie, Scott & Company also featured the "Wagner" Radar Robot at $2.98. The George G. Wagner Company had a banner sales year in 1955 which made many retailers anxious to feature the products and the name in their catalogs.  The GW globe logo appeared on many of the toys including the Nomura Radar Robot. ABOVE: This early 1960s photo includes the downtown Rockford, Illinois, Carson, Pirie, Scott, & Company store that had formerly been home to one of Block & Kuhl's branch stores.