Meet Patrick Rylands, the world renowned toy inventor behind the classic PlayPlax construction pieces, the iconic Bird and Fish bath toys and the bright and colourful Ambi designs. Patrick was the chief designer at Ambi Toys for more than 30 years and is the creator of some of the most iconic toy designs of the last 50 years.

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Born in 1942 and brought up in Hull, at the age of 27 he was the youngest person to have ever won the Duke of Edinburgh’s Prize for Elegant Design; now known as the Prince Philip Designers Prize.

He first brought Ambi Toys to life in 1976 and the story behind this magical toy range is one that has perhaps gone full circle, for both Patrick Rylands and Galt Toys, who acquired the range at the beginning of 2013.

Ambi is distinctive for its bright, primary colours, and while they may look simplistic, each has been engineered to have the slightest of movement to inspire and captivate children. As Patrick says: “A toy that does everything by itself, does nothing for the child. The main purpose of a toy is to enable children to enter into a world of make-believe, as it is in this way that children relate to reality.”

While Patrick retired in 2002, amazingly he has kept hold of the mechanical drawings for each and every Ambi toy ever designed – 150 in total, the vast majority of which went into production.

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Each design tells a story and we’ve been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some of his ‘never seen before’ designs, as well as hear the stories of the inspiration behind each:

The Ambi Sniffer Mouse is a pocket sized friend whose nose pops in and out with each turn of the wheel as he’s pushed along the floor. In the original design the mouse had a stiff rubbery tail that points upwards, but this has been replaced with a soft cord tail to avoid being put up little noses!

The Ambi Bath Duck was designed so even the slightest movement of the water would send the ducks beak bobbing up and down, and also doubles to let out excess water to avoid the duck ever sinking!

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Max the Pull Along Dog is the perfect pet who shakes his head and wags his tail whilst being pulled along, and even barks!

All the toys created by Patrick work without batteries and are designed to last for generations.

As the UK supplier of Ambi Toys we couldn’t be more excited to be working with such a well respected and talented British toy designer.

In fact, we plan to work closely with him to develop new packaging for all the products and will be bringing four of Patrick’s earlier designs back into production later this year! There is no doubt that Ambi Toys will remain a worldwide family favourite.

Do you remember playing with toys designed by Patrick as a child? Or perhaps your children love to play with Ambi Toys today? We’d love to hear your story – tweet us @galttoys or follow us on Facebook.

Posted in Childhood Development