Under the category of Batteries Not Included, this vintage electronic, toy sax-shaped “thing”, was marketed under the name My First Saxophone. Like so many of these weird and wonderful vintage, electronic sax-shaped musical toys from the 1980s through the early 2000s, the company that brought this to market seems to have goneinto the land of defunct toy companies.
Apparently My First Saxophone:
- Had a function key with melody. That would be the yellow button at the top.
- Had 8 note keys for “true saxophone sounds”. That would be the red buttons running down the front of the toy.
- Had perfect tone and accurate musical scale.
- Had an auto shut-off.
- Had flashing lights in the bell.
- Yes, the 3 AA batteries required were not included.
My First Saxophone and its connections to different company names
My First Saxophone was sold under the Melotone name. Why? Don’t know. However, if you Google the name you’ll find that Melotone was: 1. An electrostatic tone generator incorporated into Compton cinema organs in the 1930s, 2. A record label, and 3. Sundry other products up to around the 1950s. Nothing though, makes reference to a more recent musical toy—say from the 1980s and onwards.
Fortunately this toy being sold on eBay in early 2022, had not only its original box, but the original sticker on the box. The sticker reads: Made in China for Justen Products, Itasca, IL. A search for this company name was much more helpful.
According to Bizapedia:
Justen Products, Inc. is an Illinois Corporation filed On November 14, 1996. The company’s filing status is listed as Dissolved.
OK, so they are out of business.
Justen Products safety issues and toy recalls
Some further searching of the company name indicates that in 1997, they had problems with toy safety, which lead to a recall of wooden trucks. In another case the U.S. government even sued to keep unsafe foreign-made toys out of the country. Justen Products was one of the companies noted as having unsafe toys.
U.S. Sues to Halt Sale of Unsafe Imported Toys
BY RONALD J. OSTROW
AUG. 21, 1990 12 AM PT
TIMES STAFF WRITER
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Monday sued seven of the nation’s biggest toy importers and distributors to bar them from selling imported toys that the Consumer Product Safety Commission said failed to meet federal health and safety standards.
Moving against companies such as Toys R Us Inc., Child World Inc. and Lionel Leisure Inc., along with their chief executives, the government alleged dangers ranging from rattles with small parts that could choke young children to toys coated with toxic levels of lead-based paint.
Although most of the toys were labeled for children over 3 years of age, the commission found they actually were intended for younger children and thus violated commission regulations. “Poorly designed toys pose a significant threat to the most vulnerable members of our society–small children,” Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh said in announcing the suits, which seek preliminary injunctions.
Other corporate defendants included Value Merchants Inc., Illco Toy Co., Beachcombers International Inc., Division Sales Inc. and its affiliated partnership, Justen Products. [emphasis added]
“The government is unaware of any deaths or injuries caused by products manufactured by any of the seven defendants,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
Susan E. Birenbaum, the commission’s acting general counsel, alleged that the defendants had violated commission regulations on hazardous toys over a period of years, making “some kind of injunctive relief necessary.”
Responses varied widely from officials of the companies who could be reached.
A spokesman for Toys R Us in Paramus, N.J., who declined to give his name, said the firm had not yet received the legal papers but added that the suit is “totally without merit and a waste of taxpayers’ money.” Toys R Us Chief Executive Charles Lazarus and Chief Operating Officer Michael Goldstein also are named as defendants.
The complaint filed against Toys R Us cited incidents that took place during 1987-90 in which commission investigators obtained rattles that failed to comply with CPSC regulations, merchandise that didn’t meet regulations for toys with small parts and musical toys [emphasis added] that fell short of regulations concerning lead-containing paint.
Unless the injunction is issued, the complaint said, “there is a substantial likelihood” that Toys R Us will continue to deliver rattles and toys “that are banned hazardous substances” and sell and import toys bearing “lead-containing paint.”
Robert E. Gordon, a Chicago lawyer representing Division Sales and Justen Products of Itasca, Ill., said the lawsuit against the companies and Morton Marks, president of Division and a partner in Justen, involved products that they had immediately taken off the market after being notified of their hazards. [emphasis added]
Gordon contended that the suits were filed “to harass us into a settlement” that would allow the government to inspect its facilities repeatedly and without notice.
The complaint against Division and its affiliate cited six instances during 1987-89 of investigators finding samples that failed to meet regulations for toys with small parts.
All of the toys named in the complaints, uncovered by investigators for the commission and the U.S. Customs Service, were imported, the Justice Department said, adding that a large portion of toys made for sale in the United States are made by factories not affiliated with U.S. toy makers.
“These cases emphasize the need for American companies to ensure that foreign-made toys are of the same legally required standards as U.S.-manufactured toys which are produced under tight quality controls,” said Leslie Southwick, deputy assistant attorney general in the department’s civil division.
Source: LA Times
There is nothing in this quote from the LA Times that directly links My First Saxophone to this action by the U.S. government. Given that this action was taken in 1991, and since we have no idea when this particular toy was marketed and sold by Justen Products, at this point this is just worth filing away into the: might be worth remembering column.