Tinkertoy play sets appeared in the second decade of the 20th century along with several other (now classic) construction sets designed to introduce boys to the manly world of engineering and mechanics. With these toys, youngsters made the skyscrapers, bridges, towers, carousels and other structures that they saw in their own cities and towns. Tinkertoys were first envisioned by Charles Pajeau, a tombstone cutter and salesman. He fashioned his toys after the pencils and empty wooden spools his children used to build abstract forms. Initial reaction to Pajeau's invention was lukewarm; he sold his toys to one shop at a time in Chicago. For each shop that sold the sets, Pajeau made an elaborate window display of several Tinkertoy structures. Within a year, Pajeau went national, producing and selling more than one million sets of his construction toy. The success of Pajeau's sets encouraged his company, The Toy Tinkers, to create other toys, most made of painted wood, and most designed to aid youngsters' physical and mental development. After some 40 years at the head of the company, Pajeau sold The Toy Tinkers before retiring in 1952. Tinkertoy sets are still available 100 years after their introduction.