This paper traces the development of manual manipulative ability in the infant's interaction with objects. Using both observations and archival data, it identifies a sequence of 10 stages and argues that at each stage, the responsiveness potential of objects is determined (and limited) by the infant's current manual manipulative ability. As this ability develops, the infant learns new patterns of manipulation that allow it to expand its realms of perceived control. The acquisition of perceptions of control over objects emerges via the infant's experience of contingent responses to its manual manipulation of objects. Responsiveness is not viewed as a characteristic that is intrinsic to the object but as a potential that depends on the infant's stage of manual manipulation. The sequence of stages of manual manipulation, which has not been previously identified, underlies the infant's changing pattern of interest in manipulable objects in the first year.