TM2002_126-b.jpg Texas Toys construction set (about 1957-1980s). Gunnar Berger & Son. Collection of Puke Ariki (TM2002.126).

Gunnar Berger helped thousands of children build on their imaginations with products from his Eltham factory. The inventive Swede, who moved to Taranaki in 1951 to work in the dairy industry, turned his attention to toys in 1958, transforming a boyhood passion for Mecanno into a full-blown business. By the early 1970s Gunnar Berger and Sons was exporting its wooden puzzles, toys and teaching aids and many of the company’s products were also sold to local schools.

This large wooden ‘Texas Toys’ construction set includes many wooden blocks, ten wheels and a large cog. The individual pieces can be joined using round wooden pegs. When asked about Berger in 2004, Eltham resident Don Drabble said he was a bona-fide genius, who invented many unique tools as well as toys. "He built a seven-spindle multiple drill unit. It was a precision machine for boring the holes in his Texas Toys. For the drill shafts of the machine, he used Volkswagen axles."

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