Celebrating 150 Years

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
    1856
    1856



  • Schwarz brothers open their first toy retailing business ''Toy Bazaar''
    1862
    1862



  • Frederick opens ''Schwarz Brothers – Importers'' at 765 Broadway in New York City
    1870
    1870



  • Frederick opened a second NYC location at 1159 Broadway.
    Issued first mail order catalog for loyal clientele
    1876
    1876



  • Frederick consolidated the two NYC stores and moved to a large location at 42 East 14th Street, in the heart of Union Square
    1880
    1880




  • The store was renamed ''FAO Schwarz''
    1880
    1880




  • FAO Schwarz moves to an even larger location on 23rd Street
    1897
    1897




  • Steiff debuts the ''Teddy Bear''
    1902
    1902




  • FAO Schwarz moves to 303 Fifth Avenue
    1910
    1910




  • Frederick August Otto Schwarz passes away on May 17, 1911
    1911
    1911



  • FAO Schwarz moves to 745 Fifth Avenue, a location it would occupy for 55 years
    1931
    1931




  • Colorforms introduced at FAO Schwarz
    1951
    1951




  • FAO Schwarz celebrates 100th anniversary
    1962
    1962



  • FAO Schwarz is the first retailer to sell the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the U.S.
    1985
    1985



  • FAO Schwarz moves its flagship store to its current location on Fifth Avenue
    1986
    1986



  • The movie ''BIG,'' starring Tom Hanks, premieres, featuring FAO Schwarz’s giant ''foot'' piano
    1988
    1988




  • FAO Schwarz launches its website, www.fao.com
    1995
    1995




  • FAO Schweetz introduced at the flagship store
    1996
    1996




  • FAO Schwarz hosts launch of Furby
    1998
    1998




  • FAO Baby introduced
    2001
    2001




  • Toys''R''Us, Inc. acquires FAO Schwarz
    2009
    2009




  • FAO Schwarz celebrates 150th anniversary
    2012
    2012

More About FAO Schwarz
The FAO Catalog: Through the Years

Click Here for a PDF version

 
Recognition
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.


Check out some of the highlights!