Mr Machine was a robot-like mechanical man manufactured by the Ideal Toy Company that could be taken apart and reassembled without tools.
In theory, at least, the $11.95 toy was supposed to teach kids basic mechanical skills.
In reality, it taught them life skills that would come in handy years later when trying to repair the family lawnmower or washing machine. Namely, there’s always one part left over when you put it all back together . . .
Mr Machine was one of Ideal’s most popular toys. The company reissued it in 1978, but with some alterations: it could no longer be taken apart – owing to the tendency of very young children to put small pieces in their mouths which could be accidentally swallowed or present a choking hazard. This later version of Mr Machine was reissued once more in the 1980s.
In 2004, the Poof-Slinky Company remanufactured the original 1960 version (using the actual Ideal moulds whenever possible) which could be disassembled and was marketed to nostalgic adults as a collectable.