You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

5 1960s inventions that we still love

Posted on 10 September 2019

The swinging sixties are famous for all kinds of world-changing inventions.

From the moon landing to the first ever heart transplant, it was a decade of excitement and progress.

While our old cassettes might not be all the rage any more, there are some fun 60s inventions that we take for granted these days.

We’ve listed a few of our favourites here. Which ones do you and your family still enjoy today?

1. Etch a Sketch

Just as the sixties were getting in gear, so was the Etch A Sketch.

Originally called the Magic Screen, this addictive toy looked like the TV sets that were appearing in everyone’s living rooms.

The adverts made it look so easy. Although using one was a bit trickier than they let on!

While other children drew masterpieces, all we managed was a few squiggly lines. But it was still good fun.

Even though Etch A Sketch isn’t as flashy as lots of games today, it’s still popular with the kids.

After all, sometimes the simplest pleasures are the best.

2. The miniskirt

The miniskirt first appeared in the early sixties, thanks to designer Mary Quant.

She started raising the hem of her skirts for the young, rebellious women who were flocking to her London boutique.

As customers queued to buy this exciting new garment, naysayers would knock on the window and shout disapprovingly. But that didn’t put people off.

We loved pairing our miniskirts with bright tights and Mary Jane shoes, and it didn’t take long to become a wardrobe staple.

3. Twister

Our favourite game first hit the shelves in 1966. It was invented by Reyn Guyer, who originally called it ‘Pretzel’.

For many stores in the 60s, however, Twister looked a bit too racy. Some places even refused to stock it.

America’s Johnny Carson came to the rescue. He played it live on The Tonight Show with glamorous actress Eva Gabor, to fits of laughter from the audience.

The next day, it was flying off the shelves.

Twister has been a family favourite ever since. It’s often in the news for world record attempts, too. In 2010, thousands of people in Texas played a giant game on 1,200 Twister mats!

4. Duvets

It’s funny to think that the duvet wasn’t a household essential when the sixties began.

These comfy covers were introduced to the UK as the ‘continental quilt’ by Terrence Conran in 1964. He sold them in his trendy store, Habitat.

Before then, we were used to sleeping under layers of sheets and blankets. These could be a bit of a faff to neaten up in the morning.

Conran cleverly marketed the duvet as the ’10 second bed’. All you had to do was pull the corners and the bed was made.

People weren’t keen on giving up their blankets at first. But it didn’t take long for housewives to decide the duvet was the easiest (and cosiest) way to get a good night’s sleep.

5. Barbie

As the sixties began, girls everywhere were discovering Barbie – the plastic fashionista.

Many were quick to criticise Barbie’s bizarre body shape. But her creator, Ruth Handler, was determined to use the doll to inspire young girls.

Hundreds of Barbies with different careers have been made over the years. From nurse, astronaut and fireman, to robotics engineer, builder and scientist.

It’s not just children who adore her, either. Adults do too. One person even shelled out £302,500 for a diamond-clad doll at a charity auction in 2010.

So whether you love or loathe her, it looks like Barbie is here to stay.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife?

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). 

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.