DONALD HILL MUNRO
TABLE HOCKEY INVENTOR
Toy hockey games have been part of
the Canadian scene since the days of the Great Depression. While these
games can be divided into several categories (including board games,
magnetic hockey, air hockey, bumper hockey and knock hockey), the
image that usually comes to mind when one thinks of table top hockey
is that of a miniature ice rink with players mounted on small spikes
spinning and moving with the twist of their steel rods.
The earliest type of these
mechanical hockey games was built by Donald H. Munro, Sr. in his
Due to their size (about 14 by 36
inches), the early Munro wooden games were sold mainly in department
stores and through mail order catalogs, though occasionally they would
be carried in sporting goods and hardware stores. The games sold for
between four and five dollars during the 1930s. The first recorded
price was listed in the 1939-40 Eaton's Fall & Winter Catalogue
where the Munro Standard Model was advertised for $4.95.
In the 1940s, the Munro Standard
Model was expanded to include a DeLuxe version where the ball would
roll out of the net after a goal and into a small cup mounted at each
end of the game In 1945-46, Munro's partner, Stewart Molson Robertson,
manufactured games in Rochester, New York under Munro's American
patent, but despite the popularity of the games in Canada, the venture
proved unsuccessful in the United States
The first of the modern-style games (and the
challenger that finally ended Munro's wooden era) was introduced by
the Eagle Toy Company of
The televising of NHL games during
the 1950s and the league's expansion in 1967 greatly enlarged the
North American market for table top hockey games. To meet the rising
demand, both Munro Games and Eagle Toys were sold to
The rebirth of table top hockey games has made the collecting of these games (both old and new) a popular hobby. For both the serious and casual collector, these games often bring back many vivid childhood memories from finding a hockey game under the tree at Christmas to picking out favorite teams, playing "seasons" or tournaments for the miniature replica Stanley Cup, or simply arguing about whether or not the puck went in! Many parents today watch their sons and daughters glued to a monitor while they play video or computer games and feel sad to see their children miss out of the marvelous and dynamic interaction of the old mechanical hockey games.
This photo was taken in the Munro
Games Burlington Factory on
L to R: Donald H Munro Jr.; Donald H Munro, William M Munro.
Text is taken from “The Complete History of the Most Realistic Mechanical Sports Game Ever Devised” posted on a web page by Steve Farar. The full account may be found at: http://tablehockeygames.com/frmhist.htm
Donald Hill Munro was the
grandfather of new member Douglas Bruce Munro.
© 2010 The Clan Munro Association of Canada