Schylling Associates Inc., a Rowley toy company that traces its roots to a Harvard graduate who sold mechanical bird toys on the streets of Boston, said Wednesday that it has been acquired by investment firms Crofton Capital LLC of Newton and Gladstone Investment Corp.
The company’s press release did not include financial details of the transaction.
In the 1970s, a Harvard graduate named Jack Schylling got a street peddlar’s license to sell a mechanical bird toy. Using rubber-band propulsion to flap its wings, the bird could swoop and glide, and in Harvard Square demonstrations, it virtually sold itself. According to Schylling, the bird was based on a design of Leonardo da Vinci. There was only one problem: It couldn’t fly on windy days so Schylling branched out to add the old-fashioned toys he had loved as a child. He also recruited his brothers to help run the fledgling company.
“I drove across the country one summer in a VW van full of birds,” David Schylling told the Globe in 2001. “Whenever I need money, I’d stop and fly some birds. Mount Rushmore, the arch in St. Louis, the Hollywood premiere of `Close Encounters of the Third Kind.’ At the end of the summer, I had made more money than some of my classmates who had worked straight through.”
By 2000, the company had $20 million in annual sales, a Globe story from that era noted, and a license to market tin toys and collectibles based on the J. K. Rowling novel, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
According to Wednesday’s press release, Paul Weingard has become president of Schylling Inc. He most recently led product development at Schylling for five years. Founder Jack Schylling is assuming an advisory role focused on providing creative support. David Schylling will continue in a business development leadership role.
The company headquarters and distribution center will continue to operate in Rowley, the release said.
In a statement, Jack Schylling, “I am thrilled that Paul will be the helm, guiding a dynamic team that will drive innovation while leveraging the company’s heritage.”