Since 1862, FAO Schwarz has been synonymous with quality and innovation, offering one-of-a-kind playthings and creating cherished memories for generations of kids. One hundred and fifty years after founder Frederick August Otto Schwarz and his brothers opened their first shop in Baltimore - "Toy Bazaar" - FAO Schwarz has evolved from a simple toy store into a must-see destination, enchanting customers through its flagship location in New York City, catalog and website. FAO Schwarz is the oldest toy store in the United States and one of the oldest retail establishments of any kind. An essential part of any visit to New York, the magic of this legendary store continues to draw children and adults from around the world.
Throughout 2012, the company will honor its rich heritage with in-store events, commemorative product offerings and a showcase of brand archives that together will present the brand's storied history. Additional information about the year-long celebration will be available here. Stay tuned!
FAO Schwarz Timeline
Frederick August Otto Schwarz emigrates to the U.S. from Germany, joining his two older brothers
Schwarz brothers open their first toy retailing business ''Toy Bazaar''
Frederick opens ''Schwarz Brothers – Importers'' at 765 Broadway in New York City
Frederick opened a second NYC location at 1159 Broadway.
Issued first mail order catalog for loyal clientele
Frederick consolidated the two NYC stores and moved to a large location at 42 East 14th Street, in the heart of Union Square
The store was renamed ''FAO Schwarz''
FAO Schwarz moves to an even larger location on 23rd Street
Steiff debuts the ''Teddy Bear''
FAO Schwarz moves to 303 Fifth Avenue
Frederick August Otto Schwarz passes away on May 17, 1911
FAO Schwarz moves to 745 Fifth Avenue, a location it would occupy for 55 years
Colorforms introduced at FAO Schwarz
FAO Schwarz celebrates 100th anniversary
FAO Schwarz is the first retailer to sell the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the U.S.
FAO Schwarz moves its flagship store to its current location on Fifth Avenue
The movie ''BIG,'' starring Tom Hanks, premieres, featuring FAO Schwarz’s giant ''foot'' piano
On February 11, 2012, Frederick August Otto Schwarz, founder and namesake of the famed toy retailer, was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame by the Toy Industry Association (TIA). The Toy Industry Hall of Fame was established in 1984 and has inducted 57 toy industry influencers, to date. Since its founding in 1862, FAO Schwarz has been guided by the principles imparted by Mr. Schwarz during his nearly 50-year career. His vision to establish a magical toy emporium has made his namesake store beloved in the toy industry, creating memories for generations of kids worldwide. Beyond offering unique, high-quality playthings, he changed the way people shopped for, and thought about toys.
"I have made toys my life study. It is a splendid issue, and aside from the commercial question, there is more solid satisfaction in dealing with childhood playthings, and in knowing the joy one is sending out into the hearts of the little ones, than in selling any other commodity in the world."
Memories of FAO Schwarz
Recently, visitors to FAO Schwarz were treated to a unique surprise - the ability to share their favorite memories of our store and wish us a happy anniversary.