Toys come in all materials, but the tinplate toys of the early and mid-20th century seem especially to hold a particular charm. Since the early 1800s, toy makers had pounded tin into large sheets that were easily snipped into a variety of shapes and sizes. Appealing, sturdy, and durable, the toys endured the constant handling of exuberant children. By the beginning of the 20th century, manufacturers devised ways to add riotous colors and intricate detail using a color lithography process. Spring-wound mechanisms supplied whimsical action. Toy makers offered a mindboggling variety of forms and figures representing the huge vehicles outside the playroom window, the trains and boats of distant travels, strange animals and birds from picture books, and comical characters and personalities from movies, music, radio, cartoons, and other media. The mid-20th century represented the golden age of these tinplate mechanical toys. By the 1950s and 1960s, plastic-not nearly so colorful but cheaper to make-replaced the tinplate and lithography, and batteries-for as long as they lasted, that is-replaced the spring-wound mechanism.