Founders: Edward Swartz, J. M. Welsman, Isadore Marks and Benjamin Marks
Specialty: Originally produced toy motion picture machines and children`s comedy films (Keystone Moviegraph). Gained permission from Packard Motor Co. in mid-1920s to market pressed-steel riding trucks copied from full-size Packard models, including famous radiator design and logo. Keystone, in competing with “Buddy L”, added such refinements as nickeled hubcaps and radiator caps, transparent celluloid windshield, and engine crank. For 50 cents extra you could get rubber tires and headlamps. Keystone trucks also featured steering and signal arms for “stop” and “go”. Keystone introduced line of “Siren Riding Toys” in 1934 with saddle riding seat and handlebars for steering. In 1936, one of its big sellers was a “Ride-em” mail plane. In the post-WWII years, most of Keystone`s toy output was based on tools and dies purchased from the defunct Kingsbury toy division.
Keystone Manufacturing Company was founded in 1919 to produce moving picture machines. Interestingly, at the time Isadore and Benjamin Marks were the president and treasurer, respectively, of the Marks Brothers Company, which had been in the toy business since 1911. In 1924, Keystone started their line of pressed steel toys, for which it is best known. The line of toys was modeled after the Packard trucks of the day and featured the Packard logo on the grill. In 1932, Keystone introduced a line of pressed steel “Ride ‘Em” vehicles of which the mail plane is the most recognized.
Keystone began producing wooden toys in the 1930s with the acquisition of Jacrim Manufacturing Company, another local Boston toy company. Isadore and Benjamin Marks had a controlling interest in Jacrim since 1926, only four years after Jacrim was founded. Keystone Manufacturing would continue producing film equipment, pressed steel and wooden toys until 1953 when the company was divided. Keystone Manufacturing produced the film equipment and pressed steel toys while Keystone Wood Toys handled all of the wooden and “tekwood” toys.
In 1954, the company would split again forming the Keystone Camera Company and Keystone Manufacturing Company, which continued to produce the pressed steel toys. Keystone Wood Toys ceased production in January 1958 and Keystone Manufacturing continued on until 1960. In 1965, Keystone Camera Company was purchased by Berkley Photo and in 1967 was moved from the Boston location, thus ending the existence of the Keystone Manufacturing Company.