Call Us! 1-727-777-4206 Today!

Keystone Pressed Steel Ride ‘Em Steam Shovel & “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” Book for Sale


Keystone Mfg. Co. Pressed Ride ‘Em Steel Steam Shovel & “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” Book

This is a little set we put together of a pressed steel Ride ’em steam shovel that was manufactured by Keystone Mfg. Co. of Boston Massachusetts and Virginia Lee Burton’s Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel book.

The book is a heartwarming story first published in 1939, in the wake of the Great Depression; it features Mike Mulligan, a steam shovel operator, and his steam shovel Mary Anne (whose name is a reference to the Marion Power Shovel Company). It is considered a classic favorite of children’s literature.

After years of teamwork, Mike and his trusty coal-powered steam shovel, Mary Anne, found themselves in a showdown with sleeker, more modern gasoline, electric, and diesel shovels. In their quest for work, they stumbled upon a quaint little town gearing up to build a brand-new town hall. Mike, in a moment of confidence, made a bold proposition: if he and Mary Anne couldn’t complete the job within a single day, the town wouldn’t have to part with a single cent.

The town’s selectmen, convinced that the task would require a small army of workers for an entire week, decide to hire Mike and Mary Anne, hoping to save a pretty penny on their new cellar. But here’s the twist – even Mike, in the quiet of his thoughts, can’t help but entertain a few doubts.

Bright and early the next day, as the sun stretches its rays across the town, Mike and Mary Anne dive into action. With the day winding down, they stand back, admiring their handiwork, only to realize a rather crucial detail – they forgot to build a ramp for Mary Anne to exit the newly dug cellar!

With a child’s innocent wisdom, it’s suggested that Mary Anne should take on the role of the building’s trusty boiler, and Mike, well, he’d make the perfect janitor! Grinning from ear to ear, Mike and Mary Anne joyfully accept their charming new occupations, basking in the warmth of their fresh start.

The book is in good used ex-library book condition.

This piece is in all original condition with no breaks, restorations, repairs, or touch-ups. This piece shows the usual patina, fading, dust, chips, scuffs, surface rust, scratches, missing accessories, and wear that is to be expected from age and play. This is approximately 23” L. We invite you to view the photos to further determine the quality and condition.



A brief history of Keystone Mfg. Co. of Boston Massachusetts:


Founders: Edward Swartz, J. M. Welsman, Isadore Marks, and Benjamin Marks

Specialty: The company originally produced toy motion picture machines and children`s comedy films (Keystone Moviegraph). Keystone gained permission from the Packard Motor Co. in the 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 a line of “Siren Riding Toys” in 1934 with saddle riding seats 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 its 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 “teakwood” 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 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.

1 in stock

Additional information

Weight 10 lbs
Dimensions 25 × 14 × 14 in
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop