Things You Never Knew Existed® is a division of The Johnson Smith Company®, one of America's oldest catalogs companies. In 1905, our founder, Alfred Johnson Smith, started selling his novelties and practical jokes in Australia. The company was officially founded in the U.S.A. in 1914, when Mr. Smith shipped his first package from Chicago.
Australia to Chicago was to be the first of several moves…
The Johnson Smith Company relocated to Racine, Wisconsin in 1926. Nine years later the company made a mid-depression move to Detroit, Michigan with the intention of starting a Canadian subsidiary across the Detroit River. Those plans were abandoned with the outbreak of World War II. The company remained near the Detroit riverfront for nearly 35 years, until it moved to Mt. Clemens, Michigan (a Detroit suburb) in the early 1970s.
In 1986 the company made an exciting move to Bradenton, Florida, to a specially-designed building that enables us to serve our customers with state-of-the-art technology and service!
Our story is not without sociological aspects and influences. During the 1920s and 1930s, practical jokes and home hobbies provided an escape for people wracked with economic struggle brought on by WWI and the Great Depression. Our 700-page catalog provided hours of "escape," fun and fantasy for the depressed nation, even without having to place an order! Even today we hear from people who remember our catalog and the "relief" we provided! Today, the Johnson Smith catalog is known as Things You Never Knew Existed (TYNKE) and still brings hours of enjoyment to people across the country.