Toy History and Manufacturer Listings – Alphabetical Order A-J
Acme Toy Works Chicago, Illinois
1884-between 1923 and 1927
Founder: Jacob Lauth
All-NU Products Inc. New York City, New York
Other name: Faben Products Inc.
Founder: C. Frank Krupp
Specialty: Military Miniatures. Krupp designed and fabricated Barclay`s tin helmet line of soldiers, then left to start his own company. He declared bankruptcy in 1945 but was back in business a year later.
ALPS (Shoji Ltd.) Tokyo, Japan
1948 to present
ALPS was established in 1948, initially, the company focused on manufacturing precision components for various industries, including the toy industry.
ALPS gained recognition for its production of high-quality and innovative toys. The company specialized in manufacturing mechanical and battery-operated toys that incorporated unique features and movements. They became renowned for its expertise in creating intricate mechanical toys. Their toys often featured complex mechanisms, including wind-up gears, clockwork mechanisms, and motorized actions. ALPS continued to innovate and expand its product line often incorporating new technologies, for the time, like battery-powered motors, realistic movements, flashing lights, sound effects, and even remote control capabilities.
ALPS produced toys in various categories, including cars, robots, space-themed toys, animals, musical instruments, and more. They catered to both children and collectors, offering a diverse range of products.
ALPS experienced significant popularity during the 1950s and 1960s, known as the “Golden Age” of mechanical toys. The company secured licensing deals with popular Western franchises and characters and produced toys featuring well-known characters such as Mickey Mouse, Batman, James Bond, and The Flintstones. Their products gained international acclaim and were exported to many countries around the world and were one of the first Japanese companies to export its toys to the United States and Europe.
In the 1970s, ALPS faced increasing competition from other manufacturers of electronic toys and experienced a decline in popularity. The company struggled financially and eventually closed the toy making business in the early 1970s to become a manufacturer of consumer and industrial electronics and remains in the electronics business today.
Althof, Bergmann New York City, New York
Founder: Three Bergmann brothers and the jobber, L. Althof.
Specialty: Tinplate trains, bell toys, still banks, horse-drawn vehicles. One of the first U.S. toy makers to build carpet running trains, renowned for painted clockwork toys, notably the hoop variety.
American Flyer Chicago, Illinois
Acquired by A.C. Gilbert
Specialty: Electric train engines and rolling stock. Also produced a popular line of comic figures on bicycle gravity toys, including Charlie Chaplin, Uncle Sam, and Roosevelt Bears (Circa 1912). A.C. Gilbert revitalized the ailing American Flyer line; following the second world war, it moved to “S” gauge models, retaining the American Flyer name.
American Toy Manufacturing Danvers, MA
History is very murky, email us if you have data/catalogs/etc.
Specialty: Various wooden and cut-out toys based on a 1928 ad.
American National Co. Toledo, Ohio
From the early 1900s to?
Trade name: Giant
Slogan: “Raise the Kids on Wheels”
Founder: Walter, Harry, and William Diemer
Specialty: Scooters, bicycles. Produced sidewalk toys including pressed-steel trucks, competing briefly with Keystone and Buddy “L” in the late 1920s.
Andes Foundry Co. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
1919 – 1930s
Other names: Merged with Kilgore and Federal Mfg. In 1927, and became American Toys.
Founder: Eugene Andes
Specialty: Paper caps and components, airplanes, trucks. First made paper caps and cast iron components for Kilgore cap guns and cannons. Merged with Kilgore and Federal Mfg. In 1927 and became American Toys until the company dissolved a few years later. Specialized in Arctic ice cream wagons, airplanes, stake, and dump trucks…
Arcade Manufacturing Co. Freeport, Illinois
1885 – 1941
Founder: Al Baumgarten, Cyrus Tobias, Edward H. Morgan, and Charles Morgan
Specialty: The Arcade Manufacturing Company of Freeport, Illinois was originally founded as Novelty Iron Works by Edward H. and Charles Morgan in 1875, and conducted business in two small buildings with a staff of ten people. They manufactured cast iron products including pumps, windmills, iron pavements, storefronts, and agricultural products such as feed grinders. By 1884, Novelty Iron Works was no longer in business and the New Union Manufacturing Company is founded this same year by E.H. Morgan, Charles Morgan, and Cyrus Tobias. The company exclusively manufactures coffee and spice mills.
On October 20, 1885, the Arcade Manufacturing Company is incorporated by Al Baumgarten, Cyrus Tobias, Edward H. Morgan, and Charles Morgan. Sometime between 1885 and 1890, the company produces its first toy, a miniature box coffee mill. Between 1885 and 1893 the location of the Arcade factory moves around to several Freeport locations. In February of 1893, Arcade officials build a large factory at the new location and would remain there until the plant ceases production of all products in the 1950s.
Arcade toy catalogs appear to start in 1902 and as late as 1939. Arcade`s toy line included over 300 toy items. In 1900, the company initiated the production of stamped steel items for dolls, including buggies, cradles, beds, and swings. Additionally, they introduced a line of cast iron banks. As time progressed, the company expanded its toy offerings to include several horse-drawn toys. They also manufactured various other early toys such as pile drivers, railroad wrecking cars, lawnmowers, miniature cook stoves, sad irons, wheelbarrows, windmills, pumps, floor trains, and jackstones.
In 1919, toys constituted a small portion of Arcade’s overall business. At that point in time, toys constituted a mere 5% of Arcade’s overall product line, reflecting the company’s diverse range of offerings. The company came up with the concept of producing “novelty items” inspired by their own products and logos. Around 1920, they released their first promotional toys, which included the Red Goose Bank (associated with Red Goose Shoes), a miniature Avery tractor, and the Buster Brown Jack Set (related to another children’s shoe company).
In 1921, Isaac P. Gassman, the secretary and sales manager of Arcade, embarked on a trip to Chicago to visit a friend who had previously lived in Freeport, Illinois and now held the position of president at the Yellow Cab Company. During their meeting, an intriguing idea emerged between the two men. They reached an agreement that Arcade would undertake the production of a scaled-down replica of the famous Yellow Cab. The licensing agreement with the Yellow Cab Company, allowed them to manufacture and sell a realistic toy version of the Yellow Cab. This toy became a game-changer for the company, leading them to shift their primary focus to toy production. Company executives took a risk by deciding to produce high-quality, albeit more expensive, toys that were exact replicas of the real vehicles. They were initially concerned that the public might not be willing to spend more on toys no matter how high-quality they may be. However, their gamble paid off as they created a market by offering toys that truly appealed to children. The demand for their toys soared, and they quickly expanded their product line to include other replicas such as the Fordson Tractor, Andy Gump Car, Chester Gump in His Pony Cart, Oliver Plow, W. & K. Truck Trailer, and International Harvester Trucks. Arcade maintained a steadfast commitment to quality and authenticity, never compromising on these aspects. Each new toy’s pattern (mold) was meticulously crafted without sparing any expense. During this period, the company adopted the slogan “They Look Real.” By 1926, the revenue generated by Arcade’s cast iron toy division had nearly matched that of all other products, resulting in almost a million dollars in toy sales.
In 1928, Arcade introduced a captivating storybook for children called the “Tiny Arcadians.” This enchanting tale revolves around a group of fairy folk who embark on a mission to create toys for underprivileged children. The toys crafted by the Arcadians are not only visually appealing but also durable, ensuring the children’s happiness. The company generously distributed the storybook free of charge to anyone who requested it, spreading joy and imagination.
The year 1929 witnessed Arcade’s introduction of a toy inspired by the steamboat featured in the film “Showboat.” This particular toy boat, along with a steamboat bank, constituted the only two boat toys ever produced by Arcade. Additionally, the company delighted children with a deluxe ten-foot dollhouse that boasted electric lights, providing an extra touch of realism and excitement.
In 1933, Arcade’s creative prowess was evident as they designed a collection of toys specifically for the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair held in Chicago. This lineup included various sizes of buses known as “people-movers,” taxis, and Railplane cars, all adorned with the emblem “Century of Progress, Chicago, 1933” on their roofs. These toys captured the spirit of the fair and showcased Arcade’s dedication to innovation.
Arcade’s reputation soared in 1935 when they received a special order from the Canadian Greyhound Lines who commissioned Arcade to create five toy greyhound buses, one named for each of the renowned Dionne Quintuplet children of Canada; Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie. Each bus featured the respective sister’s name meticulously stenciled on the roof, making these pieces truly unique and perhaps the most coveted items ever produced by Arcade.
In 1941, Arcade experienced a significant shift in its manufacturing endeavors. Due to the outbreak of World War II, the company made the noble decision to cease production of cast iron toys. Their resources were redirected towards supporting the war effort. Following the war, the toy manufacturing landscape underwent transformations as aluminum and plastics emerged as preferred materials for production. Consequently, Arcade never resumed toy manufacturing activities.
Arnold Co. Nürnberg, Germany
1906 to date
Founder: Karl Arnold
Specialty: Arnold’s initial offerings included toy metal trains, model ships, doll house furniture, and many other types of toys such as stationary steam accessories and nautical toys. Arnold introduced “Rapido” gauge “N” model railroads in the 1960s.
For those that don’t know, Karl Arnold was born in 1865 in Bavaria. Then at the age of 41, he founded the company for mechanical toys in Nürnberg October 4, 1906. There is a wonderful book entitled Arnold – The Toys from 1906 until 1965 that shows more about this German maker. I wholeheartedly recommend Ulrich Schweizer’s book, especially to the person who purchases this solid toy or any of the iconic tin ships.
Auburn Rubber Company Auburn, Indiana
1913 – 1969 (production of toys started in 1935)
Founder: A. L. Murray and William H. Willennar
Specialty: Auburn Rubber started in 1913 as the Double Fabric Tire Company and they specialized in making rubber sheets for shoe soles and rubber tires. In the 1920s, the name changed to the Auburn Rubber Company. In 1935, they started producing toys. They specialized in rubber and vinyl vehicle toys and animals. They introduced a line of English Palace Guards toy soldiers, as well as miniatures for the European and American branches of the military service. During World War II, the company continued to make rubber sheets for shoe soles, except now for combat boots and gaskets for “jerry cans.” At this time, they also started making toys out of plastic. After the war, a new plant was opened in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, devoted to the production of toys. In 1959, their toy division moved to Deming, New Mexico. Auburn Rubber in Deming went out of business in 1969, and its toy cars could be found in retail stores through the early 1970s.
Other names: Double Fabric Tire Company (1913-1920s)
Automatic Toy Works New York City, New York
1868 – 1874
Founder: Robert J. Clay
Clockwork tin toys
Girl Skipping Rope, Toy Gymnast, and Creeping Baby were precursors of all Ives articulated dancing platform toys. Bought out by Ives in 1874.
Barclay Mfg. Co. Hoboken, New Jersey
1923 – 1971
Founder: Leon Donze, a Frenchman, and Michael Levy
Introduced a line of toy soldiers in 1932; became the largest U.S. producer of toy soldiers up to World War II.
Barton & Smith Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1842 – 1890
Made cast-iron mechanical banks, including “Boy on Trapeze”.
Bassett-Lowke Northampton, England
1899 to date
Founder: Wenman J. Bassett-Lowke
Innovated mail-order catalog of toys concept.
The first to recognize the quality workmanship of German toy train manufacturers (i.e. Bing, Maerklin, Carette, and Ismayer) and to commission specific British designs. Bassett-Lowke also innovated the mail order catalog of toys concept, mailing its first edition, with tipped-in photographs, in 1899.
Bergen Toy & Novelty Co. (Beton) Jersey City/Carlstadt, New Jersey
1935 to 1958
Founder: Emil A. Bergmann
Specialty: Emil A. Bergmann established the company in 1910 in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the United States. The company originally produced a variety of small toys and novelties, including plastic figurines, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that they began producing the small plastic soldiers that would become their signature product.
The company started producing small plastic soldiers in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until after World War II that the iconic green army men became popular. The soldiers were originally made of metal, but during the war, metal was scarce, so the company switched to making them out of plastic or Tenite, a cellulose acetate obtained from Eastman Chemical. The green color was chosen because it was a cheap and durable color to produce in large quantities, and it became the signature color for toy soldiers. Today, green plastic army men are considered a classic toy and a symbol of American culture that have remained popular for generations.
By 1954, the company had recently expanded its operations, and the Bergen Toy & Novelty Co. had moved from Jersey City, New Jersey to Carlstadt, New Jersey in the late 1940s or early 1950s. The company was producing a wide variety of plastic toys in addition to its signature army men.
In 1958, they were purchased by Banner Plastics and shuttered.
Hans Biller Nuremberg, Germany
Founder: Johann (Hans) Biller and his wife
History: Johann (Hans) Biller was a former employee of Bing. He took the knowledge that he had learned from Bing and formed Biller on May 2, 1935, with his wife in Nuremberg, Germany. Their first tool and die sets came from the bankruptcy of the prolific penny toy maker Johann Phillip Meïer/Meir. Hans Biller held many patents, and his company specialized in toy trains, train accessories, mechanical and clockwork toys, and tin toy vehicles. Despite the factory being destroyed in WWII, Hans rebuilt Biller and the company continued until new factory methods and higher costs drove them out of business in 1977.
Slogan: “Kids can play the whole year, inside as well as outside” or, “even for very little kids no danger”
Other names: Biller-B, HaBi, Biller Toys, Biller Bahn
Bing Corp. New York City, New York
1924 – 1935
Founder: John Bing
A spin-off of the German firm, Gebruder Bing. Bing Corp. also served as a jobber for their parent firm with mechanical boats, zeppelins, and steam engines.
Gebruder Bing Nuremberg, Germany
1866 – 1933
Karl Bub; toy trains/Fleischmann; toy boats
Founder: Brothers Ignatius and Adolph Bing
Wide range of spring-driven, cars, buses, boats. Perhaps its biggest coup was a line of trains initiated in 1882. Bing went under during the crash of 1929; Karl Bub acquired the toy trains division and Fleischmann the toy boats.
R. Bliss Mfg. Co. Pawtucket, Rhode Island
1832 – 1914
Sold to Mason & Parker, Winchendon, Massachusetts.
Founder: Rufus Bliss
They were in the toy business for 100 years.
Bliss had over a one-hundred-year history, although the earliest ad for toys appeared in the New England Business Directory in 1871. Pioneered in the development of lithographed paper on wooden toys including dolls` houses, boats, trains, and building blocks.
Blomer & Schuler Nuremberg, Germany
1930 to date
Tin mechanical motor toys.
The logo features an elephant with howdah..
George Borgfeldt & Co. New York City, New York
1881 – 1962
Founder: George Borgfeldt, and Marcell and Joseph Kahle.
Importer and wholesaler of toys.
Toys which included comic novelty tin wind-ups under the name “Nifty.” Trademark was “Nifty” smiling moon face. Also distributed “Oh Boy” pressed steel trucks and cars.
James H. Bowen Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founder: James H. Bowen
Pattern maker for J. & E. Stevens mechanical banks.
Designed such classics as “Darktown Battery”, “Girl Skipping Rope”, and “Reclining Chinaman.”
Bowman Norwich, England
1920s – 1935
Steam-driven locomotives and rolling stock.
Milton Bradley & Co. Springfield, Massachusetts
1861 to date
Variously identified as Milton Bradley Co., Milton Bradley & Co., Milton Bradley, and company.
Founder: Milton Bradley
Launched his business with “The Checkered Game of Life”, a board game of high moral overtones. Milton Bradley also became well known for educational games, books, kindergarten teaching aids, and school supplies, as well as a small range of toys.
William Britains Ltd. London, England
1893 to date
Founder: William Britain
Three-dimensional hollow toy soldier, the largest producer of toy soldiers
Introduced a three-dimensional hollow toy soldier line, faithfully replicating over 100 British Army regiments in their first decade of doing business. Britains expanded to become the world`s largest producer of lead toy soldiers. (Since 1966, alas, the figures have been made of plastic…
George W. Brown & Co. Forestville, Connecticut
1856 – 1880
Merged with J. & E. Stevens in 1868
Founder: George W. Brown and Chauncey Goodrich
The first manufacturer to produce toys with clockwork mechanisms.
Beginning perhaps as early as 1850. Known for classic boats, vehicles, animal platforms toys, dancing figures, and hoop bell toys, fashioned in painted tin.
Karl Bub Nuremberg, Germany
1851 – 1966
Founder: Karl Bub
Enameled tin transportation toys,
Superbly enameled and later lithographed line of clockwork tin transportation toys including trains. Many Bub toys reached the American market via exclusive distributor F.A.O. Schwartz, New York City, during the 1920s-1930s.
A. Bucherer & Cie Doll Company/SABA Amriswil, Switzerland:
Founder: August and Cie Bucherer
The Bucherer Doll Company of Amriswil, Switzerland made over 160 different character dolls that were articulated with their patented metal ball jointed body with composition heads from 1921 to 1935. Their line of “The Wonderful Contortionist Doll” dolls would feature many pop culture character figures from the 1920s and 1930s such as the Katzenjammer Kids, Mutt and Jeff, Happy Hooligan, Jimmy Dugan, Mr. & Mrs. Peter Rabbit, Charlie Chaplin, Amelia Earhart, William Hart, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Santa Claus/Belsnickel, and clowns Koko and Saba. The company also carried basic animals and everyday people like a Black man, chauffeurs, Coldstream Guards, cowboys, farm ladies, pilots, policeman, sailors, firemen, and minstrels.
These dolls were marketed under the name “SABA” dolls. This is an acronym for Speilwarenfabrik August Bucherer Amriswil meaning August Bucherer’s Amriswil, Switzerland toy factory. Dolls are well marked on the torso of the body “Made in Switzerland”.
Buddy L Moline, IL
1910 to date
Other names: Moline Press Steel(1910-1913); Buddy L Wood Products(1944); Buddy L Manufacturing (1930); Buddy L Corp.(to date).
Founder: Fred Lundahl
Cranes, steamrollers, trucks, construction toys.
Buddy L toys were named after the founder`s son. Lundahl introduced the line in 1921, starting with a pressed steel pick-up truck that expanded into a veritable fleet of almost 30 cranes and other construction toys some five years later.
Buffalo Toy & Tool Works Buffalo, New York
1924 – 1968
Founder: Frank R. Labin
Specialty: Lightweight pressed-steel aeronautical, automotive, and carousel toys. Many of the toys were activated by a special spiral rod connected to a spring.
Burnett Ltd. London, England
1920s – 1930s
Painted and lithographed tin clockwork vehicles, including London autobuses.
Butler Brothers New York City, New York
1876 – 1950s
Largest wholesale distributors of toys in the U.S. during the first quarter of the 20th century.
Carried the most elite lines. Sold by catalog exclusively to merchants, with sample houses in most major cities.
Cardini Omegna, Italy
1922 – 1928
Five main lines of small toy automobiles
Cardini`s innovative packaging included an outer box that could be transformed into the cars garage. Toys were marked by a large Cardini crest and the tires were marked Pirelli-cord.
George Carette Nuremberg, Germany
1886 – 1917
Founder: George Carette (with Gebrudern Bing`s backing).
Mechanical tin boats, cars, and trains.
Many of these toys were lithographed. Best known for electric streetcars and model trains. Carette, as a French citizen, was deported from Germany in 1917, thus closing the firm.
Carlisle & French Co. Cincinnati, Ohio
1895 – 1915 (for toy line)
Founder: Robert Finch and Morton Carlisle
First successful electric train
Produced the first successful electrically run toy train in the United States in 1879. Later expanded line included steam outline locomotives and rolling stock. Also functioned a distributor, handling the first toy automobile. ( made by Knapp Electric in 1900).
Francis W. Carpenter Port Chester, New York
1880 – 1890
Sold patent rights and inventory to Pratt & Letchworth
Cast-iron, horse-drawn vehicles.
These Toys included what many collectors view as the creme de la creme, the tally-ho.
Carter Machine & Tool Co./Carter Tru-Scale Rockford, Illinois:
Founder: Joseph Carter
Specialty: Scale model pressed steel replica trucks, tractors, and farm equipment.
Carter Machine & Tool Co. was founded in Rockford, Illinois in 1940 by Joseph Carter. The company started out by building special machines and dies. In the late 1940s, Carter Tru-Scale began making pressed steel scale model replicas of trucks, tractors, and farm equipment. At the time Carter also began as a jobber for Nylint until they began manufacturing products on their own.
In 1950-51, the company acquired ESKA Company, Inc.’s manufacturing operation and moved it from Dubuque, Iowa to Rockford, Illinois. The acquisition allowed Carter Tru-Scale to expand its farm toy production under the Carter Tru-Scale and ESKA brands. At this time they obtained the licensing rights for Deere, International Harvester, Case, Oliver, and Allis Chalmers from ESKA.
In 1956, Carter was synonymous with quality scale models and they began manufacturing licensed brand toys for the original equipment manufacturers, marketing them under the Carter Tru-Scale name.
In 1985, Carter was sold to Superior Toy Co. of Chicago, Illinois which continued the production of Tru-Scale toys until they filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1990.
Champion Hardware Co. Geneva, Ohio
1883 – 1954 (toys from 1930-1936)
Founder: John and Ezra Hasenpflug
Champion Hardware made cast iron transportation toys, banks, and cap pistols. They also made cast iron parts for other leading toy manufacturers. (Thanks to Mark Schupska for the information provided.)
J. Chein & Co. New York City, New York, Harrison, and Burlington, New Jersey.
1903-1979 (toy producing years)
Founder: Julius Chein
Specialty: J. Chein & Co. was founded in a loft in New York City, New York by Julius Chein. They produced toys from 1903 until about 1979. Chein specialized in tin mechanical toys, banks, drums, and tea sets. The company’s tin toys were mostly lithographed. Chein’s line of comic and circus tin toys received wide acceptance in the 1930s and leading up to World War II.
In 1907, Chein moved its full production plant to Harrison, New Jersey. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Chein produced a popular line of toys under the “Hercules name, rather than their own name. In the 1940s as the war came to a close Chein moved to a larger factory in Burlington, New Jersey to become more competitive with Japanese manufacturers.
In the 1970’s Chen became known as Chen Industries, Inc., and in 1979, toy manufacturing was phased out entirely.
Then in the late 1980s, Chein Industries, Inc. was sold to the Atlantic Can Company, which then changed its name to Atlantic Cheinco Corporation. The company was beset with problems with manufacturing resulting from environmental issues. Due to their issues, in 1992 they filed for bankruptcy protection. Atlantic Cheinco Corporation’s assets were then purchased by Ellisco, In. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was a division of CSS Industries, Inc. In 1994, CSS then sold Ellisco to the U.S. Can Company of Baltimore, Maryland, who continues to produce stamped metal products.
D.P. Clark Dayton, Ohio
1898 – 1909
Other names: Re-named Schieble Toy & Novelty in 1909
Founder: David P. Clark
Specialty: Sheet-steel novelty and automotive toys with friction and flywheel mechanisms.
Clark & Sowdon New York City, New York
The early 1890s – 1910
Specialty: Board games
Board games such as “Rough Riders”, “Game of Golf”, and “Yacht Race”..
E.O. Clark New York City, New York
1897 – early 1900s
Founder: E.O. Clark (Successor to Clark & Sowdon).
Specialty: Board games.
Board games, including “The Charge”, “The Hippodrome”, and “The Owl & The Pussycat.”
Morton E. Converse Co. Winchendon, Massachusetts
1878 – 1934 (Mason & Converse until 1883)
Founder: Morton Converse
Specialty: Toytown Complex
“Toytown Complex” was once recognized as the largest wood toy factory in the world. Known for Noah`s arcs, ABC blocks, and doll furniture, many of which were lithographs on wood. Made steel toys in the 1890s, comprised mainly of transportation vehicles with clockwork mechanisms.
Corcoran Mfg. Co. Washington, Indiana
1920s – 1940s
Specialty: Large, pressed-steel riding toy autos and trains under the trademark “Cor-Cor”.
Corgi Toys, Mettoy Playcraft Ltd. Swansea, South Wales
Since 1956 (Mettoy Playcraft Ltd. Originated in 1934)
Specialty: Miniature toy vehicles in metal and plastic.
Courtenay Miniatures (an extension of a Doran toy makers which dates back to 1892) Duran, England
1938 – 1963
Founder: Richard and Vida Courtenay
Specialty: very limited production of lead royalty figures including Knights of the Round Table. Frederick Ping with Courtenay made many of his own medieval figures. Courtenay chose Ping to take over his molds upon his death (1963). Ping was one of the most incredible makers of 54mm figures, working in the French style of building each figure from layers of lead, on a simple lead figure. Ping kept the molds from 1963 until Peter Greenhill purchased the Courtenay molds in 1978 and continues to market miniatures under Courtenay and Greenhill. (Credit for this information goes to Glenn)
Charles M. Crandall Covington, Pennsylvania
Specialty: Inter-locking tongue and groove lithograph paper-on-wood joints.
Interlocking tongue-in-groove wooden joints that children used to create multiple figure forms. Some of the more popular sets; are “District School House”, “Acrobats”, and “Treasure Box”. Charles` son Jesse started his own toy business soon after the Civil War, relocating in Brooklyn. Jesse Crandall was issued a number of patents for rocking toys, alphabet blocks, and construction toys. Relocated to Montrose, Pennsylvania in 1875, to Waverly, New York in 1888.
Cragstan Industries Inc. New York City, New York
Founder: Craig Stanton
Cragstan Industries Inc. or more simply Cragstan was an importing, marketing, and distribution firm from New York that imported post-war Japanese battery-operated and mechanical friction toys. The company’s main focus was on toys with multiple mechanical actions, for example, robots.
In the 1960s Cragstan had branches in New Jersey and California and they then began distributing diecast toys. By the 1980’s they specialized in distributing several types of toys such as tin toys, diecast toys, automotive vehicles, airplanes, trains, rockets, machines, xylophones, walkie-talkies, telescopes, microscopes, film projectors, toy guns, tricycles, space toys, mechanical toys, novelty toys, pull toys, windup toys, water toys, dolls, simulated drag racing sets, toy rocket game sets, toy track sets automobiles, Christmas tree decorations, banks, and water and pool toys. Cragstan made sure the company name and logo appeared on the packaging in which they were sold no matter which manufacturer made them.
Jesse Crandall Brooklyn, New York
1840s – 1880s
Specialty: Hobby horses, rocking horses, velocipedes, and board games.
Crescent Toy Co., Ltd. Great Britain
Specialty: Hollow cast lead soldiers and plastic figures, including “Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future”; also made die-cast motor miniatures.
A. A. Davis Nashua, New Hampshire
1860 – ?
Specialty: Novelty toys featuring small lithographed figures of celebrities, animals, and butterflies with moveable parts set in wooden cups, covered by glass ( i.e., “Magic Major General Grant”; see “Political” listing.)
Dayton Friction Toy Works Dayton, Ohio
Founder: D.P. Clark (see D.P. Clark) D.P. Clark was the predecessor of the Dayton Friction
Specialty: Pressed Steel friction toys with patented horizontal flywheel.
Patented horizontal flywheel (1926) under trade name “Gyro”; maker of child-size, up to 24 inches long.
Dayton Toy & Specialty Co. (SON-NY) Dayton, Ohio
1920s – early 1930s
Founder: Dick Cummings
Specialty: Large, heavy-gauge, pressed-steel transportation toys. They made the Son-ny line of medal toys.
Dent Hardware Co. Fullerton, Pennsylvania
1895-1937 ( continued to manufacture cold storage hardware until 1937).
Founder: Henry H. Dent, with four additional partners
Specialty: Cast-iron and aluminum transportation toys and banks. “Pioneer” fire truck, Ford Tri-Motor, and large hook-and-ladder toys were popular items.
Johann Distler Nuremberg, Germany
1900 – 1968 In 1917, Distler brought in Messrs, Brown & Mayer as partners. After Distler`s death in 1923, his partners took over the business. Brown & Mayer sold out to Ernst Volk in 1935. From 1939 until the end of WWII, many toy factories stopped production and were converted to help manufacture goods for the war effort. Therefore, Distler toys did not make anything except aircraft and auto parts. Then from 1962-1968, a Belgian firm assumed the toy business.
Specialty: Lithographed tin penny toys; comic and erratic action transportation toys.
Ernst Dobler Unknown-Germany
1905 Catalog found
Founder: Ernst Dobler
Specialty: Tin Toys with Clockwork
Doll Et Cte (& C0.) Nuremberg, Germany
1868-Post-World War II
Founder: Peter Doll and J Sondheim. The firm was taken over by Fleischmann in1938 but the name was retained until 1948.
Specialty: Steam engines and accessories; novelty trains and cars, some of which were steam propelled. Trademark based on the initials D.C..
Dowae Toys for Modern Boys Springfield, Mass
1927-1928 are only records for mail-away planes
Founder: Unknown, Mr. Dow
Specialty: Dowae Stunt Plane for “Modern Boys”
Dowst (Tootsietoy) Chicago, Illinois
The late 1890s
Founder: Charles O. and Samuel Dowst
Specialty: Miniature cast-metal cars, trains, and planes. Tootsietoy name was introduced in 1922 when Dowst introduced a line of doll furniture (named after a Dowst granddaughter, Toots). Merged with Cosmo Mfg. 1926; acquired Strombeck-Becker toy line in 1961 and made a name change as Strombecker Corp.
Hans Eberl Nuremberg, Germany
1900 to late 1920s
Founder: Hans Eberl
Specialty: Automotive toys bearing the initials H.E.N.; Borgfeldt was a factory agent for Eberl.
Edmund`s Traditional Toy Soldiers 1950s – ?
Founder: Edmund Fangonilo
Specialty: Confederate Regiment replicas in limited editions of 100 sets, created by the artist, Fangonilo.
EFFanBEE New York City, New York
1910 to date
Founder: Fleischaker and Baum ( from which the trade name derives).
Specialty: Early on, EFFanBEE specialized in bisque, cloth, and composition baby and toddler dolls, with the slogan: “They Walk, They Talk, They Sleep.” Later the firm made a number of celebrity puppets and ventriloquists` dolls, including Charlie McCarthy, W.C. Fields, and Howdy Doody.
Gebruder Einfalt Nuremberg, Germany
1922 to date
Founder: Georg and Johann Einfalt
Specialty: Oversized penny toys; comic and erratic action tin wind-ups. Prior to the 1930s, toys can be identified by the initials “G.E” or “G.E.N.”. Assumed the mark “Technofix” after 1935.
Ellis, Britton & Eaton Springfield, Vermont
1859- early 1900s
Founder: Joel Ellis
Specialty: Wooden dolls, sleds, pianos, rolling hoops, and toy carriages.
In 1873, Ellis patented his most popular toy, the Jointed Wood Doll, made of maple with cast-iron hands and feet. Two nearby firms, Cooperative Mfg. And Vermont Novelty works, continued the patent.
Toy Corporation (Emmets Dollar Trucks) New York, New York
1929 – 1932
Founder: Louis Emmets
Specialty: Emmets` toy line, like the lightweight metal toys of Chein and Kiddies, featured toy trucks made of 20-gauge steel. These trucks averaged 22-inches in length and 7-1/2 inches in height. All trucks were equipped with solid rubber tires, marked “Emmets”, in bas-relief. Characteristics of Emmets` toys were the large, non-functioning steering wheel and the “modified C` closed cab. All Emmets` trucks had a decal positioned on only the left side of the truck`s cab or service bed. The decal identified the toy as a product of the Emmets Toy Corporation, as well as indicating the toy`s production. Emmets Dollar Trucks, as they were known, were on the market for a relatively short time, thought to be about 3 years at most. Therefore, the trucks are considered to be hard to find. Advertising by the Emmerts Corporation ceased in 1932 and the company`s status after that remains unknown.
Enterprise Manufacturing Co. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1876 – 1888
Specialty: Hardware manufacturer specializing in coffee grinders, turned out a series of still banks commemorating the U.S. Centennial Exposition held in that city (i.e., Independence Hall Globe Bank). Also produced such mechanical banks as Elephant with pop-out man and Memorial Money Bank (Liberty Bell).
Erie Toys Erie, Pennsylvania
See Parker White Metal Co.
J. Falk Nuremberg, Germany
The late 1890s – 1940
Founder: J. Falk
Specialty: Stationary steam engines, optical projectors, and steam-propelled boats.
James Fallows & Sons Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1873/1874 to 1894
James Fallows who had been previously employed as a foreman at the tin toy company of Francis, Field, and Francis founded his company under the name C.B. Porter Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1873/74.
In 1876, his toys were praised for their “economy in cost, adaptation to purpose intended, and durability.” This was certainly the height of their popularity.
Around the 1880s the firm began carrying the name James Fallow & Sons. The principals at this time were James Fallows and his sons Henry, Charles, and David. Fallows` company’s demise coincided with the advent of lithographed tin toys in the 1880s.
The manufacturing of toys by James Fallows and Sons ended in the early 1890s and in 1894 the name was changed to Frederick & Henry Fallows Toys.
James Fallows and Sons had a line of over 200 toys and specialized in hand-painted and stenciled tin horse-drawn vehicles, wheeled vehicles, trains, and riverboats. Highly prized toys often carried the mark “IXL”, said to be based on word-play “I Excell”. (Some feel that it signifies the date of Fallows` arrival in Philadelphia from the old country.)
J.K. Farnell & Company – Farnell’s Alpha Toys London, England ⇐
1840 – 1968
Founder: John Kirby Farnell
Specialty: The firm of J.K. Farnell & Company was founded in 1840 in Notting Hill, London, England, by a silk merchant named John Kirby Farnell. The company initially made pincushions and tea cozies.
When the founder, John, died in 1897, his children, Agnes & Henry, moved to Acton in East London where they started to produce soft toys, including high-quality plush teddy bears
In 1925 they registered the Alpha trademark. The quality of their toys was consistently high. Some of their Alpha toys, especially their children, rival in beauty and quality those made by Lenci in Italy. Among the dolls, they produced a series of musical dolls and a number of beautifully painted children dressed in high-quality clothing and reminiscent of Kate Greenaway.
When Farnell began producing soft toys they made their toys from rabbit skin, but eventually switched to mohair. The initial Farnell bears bore a striking resemblance to their German Steiff counterparts, featuring pointed muzzles, humpbacks, elongated limbs, and webbed toes. In their early stages, Farnell bears sported boot-button eyes, which were later substituted with painted glass eyes. The soles of these bears were crafted from felt and fortified with cardboard for added durability.
The majority of Farnell dolls originate from the 1930s. In 1935, the trademarks Alpha Cherub Dolls and Joy Day were officially registered. Unfortunately, the company premises fell victim to a fire in 1934 and further damage caused by bombing in 1940. Eventually, the company ceased its operations in 1968, and the Farnell name was acquired by Merrythought in 1996.
– Information provided by Gwen Browne Surrey, B.C. Canada
Georg Fischer Nuremberg, Germany
The early 1900s – 1914
Specialty: Tin penny toys and other novelties. Trademark “G.F”.
Fisher Price Toys East Aurora, New York ⇐
1930 to date
Founders: Irving L. Price, Herman G. Fisher, and Helen M. Schelle. Herman Fisher, who was the first president, resigned in 1966 and was succeeded by Henry H. Coords. Quaker Oats Company acquired the firm in 1969.
Specialty: Lithographed paper applied over wooden and plastic pull toys, including the early Doctor Doodle, Lookee Monk, Dizzy Dino, and Woodsy-Wee toys. Mickey Mouse, Donald, Goofy, Snow White, and scores of other Disney characters were featured in the 1930s and 1940s. To date Fisher Price, any toy featuring the vertical white reversed out of black logo predates 1962; any item containing any or all plastic parts was made after 1949.
Gebruder Fleischmann Nuremberg, Germany
1887 to date
Founder: J. Fleischmann
Specialty: Quality tinplate boats in the 1920s, as well as automotive replicas. Took over Doll et Cie just before WW II and has concentrated on model railroads to this day.
Freidag Manufacturing Company Freeport, Illinois
1920 to the 1930s
The Freidag Manufacturing Company was a foundry business that was founded by William Freidag in 1920 in Freeport, Illinois, and ran from 1920 to the 1930s. They started out making automobile accessories, heavy hardware, and farm implements.
Then in 1921, Freidag introduced its first line of toys, being one of the first companies to manufacture toys in aluminum. Freidag displayed its new toy line in the window of a local merchant, C. H. Little.
In 1924, Freidag built a larger manufacturing facility in Freeport and by 1927 Freidag was manufacturing fifty different toy items, golf course equipment, items used by radio manufacturers, and a line of house furnishings. In addition, it supplied large castings to Borg and Beck, Hardinge, an oil burner manufacturer, and Nash Motors.
Freidag was very successful through the end of 1929. However, by the 1930s Freidag Manufacturing Co. Ceased operations and the property was sold for back taxes on September 6, 1938.
1866 to 1902
Founder: Group of Toymakers
The trademark FV was filed in 1866 at 15 Rue Aumaire, Paris, by Jules Edmond Faivre to market all kinds of tinplate toys. The brand became FV-DS in 1897 and in 1901 several tinsmiths/toymakers united to form one catalog of manufactured metal toys. This was the birth of Toy Paris which became JEP. These include older firms such as Roussel and Dufrein, Douliot, Leconte and Cie, Bonnet, Duclot, and Manon. The brand name FV continued in use for many subsequent years.
Gama Toys Fürth, Germany
According to Edward Force, Gama is the acronym for Georg Adam MAngold, who started the company in Fürth, Germany in 1882 making tinplate mechanical toys. Most toy production up through World War II and up until the late 1950’s was lithographed tinplate.
In the early 1940’s, toy tanks were popular and offered in various sizes including 3.5 and 7 inches in length. The destruction of World War II disrupted production as with other German makers such as Märklin and Schuco. In the late 1940’s, production was started again under the auspices of the U.S.
Gendron Wheel Company Toledo, Ohio
1872 to 1941
Founder: Pierre Gendron
Specialty: In 1872, Pierre Gendron made the first “Pioneer” vehicle in a small workshop in his home near Toledo, Ohio. The company was originally organized with the purpose of manufacturing wire wheels. By 1920, in addition to wire wheels, Gendron was making baby carriages, tot`s push cabs, and doll vehicles. With the increasing popularity of bicycle riding, Gendron manufactured a complete line of bikes. In 1928, Gendron Wheel Company, now recognized as one of the leaders in juvenile pedal vehicles, added pressed-steel toy trucks to their “Pioneer” line” of toys, utilizing the trade name of “Sampson”. Sampson trucks are easily distinguished from American`s Giant and Toledo Metal Wheel`s Bull Dog trucks by the unique shape of its redesigned hood and radiator. The hood was designed to follow a more conventional radiator shape than the previous Mack profile radiator used by the other manufacturers. Sampson`s near rectangular decal, with the word “Sampson”, is affixed to the sides of the various service beds and a small Sampson decal is located at the top of the radiator. All trucks, except the low-end items, came equipped with hand-cranked noisemakers. In all likelihood, the American-National Company, after sharing the tooling for the trucks with Toledo Metal Wheel, sold the same tooling to Gendron in 1928. Gendron revised the design of the hood and radiator of the truck to give it a Gendron personality and continued to manufacture Sampson trucks until about 1930 or 1931. In all probability, Gendron`s “Sampson” steel trucks and airplanes were victims of the depression. Gendron continued to produce juvenile pedal toys and outdoor gym equipment until the outbreak of WWII.
Gibbs Mfg. Co. Canton, Ohio
1884 to date
Founder: Lewis E. Gibbs
Specialty: Originally manufactured plows. Added toys in 1886. Mechanical spinning tops, wagons, and lithographed paper-on-wood, metal, and advertising toys.
A.C. Gilbert Co. New Haven, Connecticut
1908 – 1966
Founder: Albert C. Gilbert
Specialty: The A.C. Gilbert Company began as a manufacturer of boxed magic sets. Gilbert introduced Erector Sets in 1913, and they were an instant success (30 million would be sold over the next 40 years). The company bought out Richter Anchor Block, an American affiliate of Meccano, at the beginning of WWI. Pressed-steel autos and trucks were added to the line in 1914, plus a variety of scientific toys. A.C. Gilbert bought American Flyer in 1938 and retained only the name for a line of trains. After the death of its founder in 1961, the company started to struggle financially selling off some of its interests to Lionel and 19666 and then subsequently closing its doors in 1967. All of the A.C. Gilbert trademarks and toy lines were eventually sold off to other companies.
Girard Model Works, Inc. Girard, Pennsylvania
Other names: Girard Mfg. Co. 1922-1935; The Toy Works, 1935-1975(Spinning tops, skates, banks, trains, military toys).
Founder: Frank E. Wood
Specialty: In the late 1920s, Girard made Louis Marx a commission agent and for several years produced toys under the Marx label, along with its own line of steel autos, trucks, and trains, which were produced at Girard Motor Works. Marx and Girard toys are for all intent indistinguishable ( a few of the Girard toys bore the slogan “Making Childhood`s Hour Happier”). Girard declared bankruptcy in 1934, although toy production continued until 1975. Quaker Oats had bought out Marx`s interest in Girard when they bought Marx`s American and English toy division in 1972.
Gong Bell Mfg. Co., East Hampton, Connecticut
Specialty: Hardware bells and cast-metal bell pull and push toys.
Moritz Gottschalk Marienberg in the Erzgebirge Mountains, Germany
1865 (book binding)/1873 (toy production) – 1972
Founder: Moritz Gottschalk
Specialty: Wooden toys and dollhouses/building with hand-painted or lithographed paper facades. In 1905, Moritz Gottschalk passed away, but the company would continue to be run by his family. During WWI and WWII there were breaks in production, but after some regrouping they would be back up and running again producing dollhouses and putting out catalogs.
Until about 1919 the roofs on Gottschalk’s dollhouses were blue, then after that they were began making them with red roofs. Many of the company’s dollhouses were marked underneath with a number which can be found in the catalogues. The end of this long-established company came in 1972 when all remaining private enterprises of the German Democratic Republic were dispossessed and nationalized. After that the Gottschalk Company would continue to make single parts for their dollhouses, but after a fire destroyed their buildings they would stop production all together and the remaining buildings were torn down in 1999.
Greppert & Kelch Brandenburg, Germany
Founder: Greppert and Kelch (unknown first names)
In 1919, Greppert and Kelch founded the aptly named Greppert & Kelch (G&K) in Wredowstrasse Brandenburg, Germany. The mid-1920s appears to have been the height of their popularity when G & K took over Metz & Duncker” founded in 1892 and the firm “Tellus Works” founded in 1910. In addition to the logo “G & K” more and more toys became the brand” Gundka ” and “Gundka Werke” which was derived from the name of the founders Greppert and Kelch.
In 1931, parts of Oro-Werke were taken over to add to the company’s list of quality toy companies they absorbed. At this point around 1933, Greppert & Kelch had about 500 employees. During the war, toy production slowed down but they continued producing toys with just about 50 employees, and then after the war, toy production resumed in full force but only with a fraction of the employees they once had. In 1953, the company was sold and transferred to” VEB Gundka-Werk” and then in 1955 G&K was incorporated into the “VEB Patent-Linol-Spielwarenfabrik”.
The company specialized in small lithographed tin mechanical toys and even made typewrites during the 1920s. The mid-1920s appear to have been the height of their popularity. The toys are often marked “Gundka Werke”, GNK, or with G. & K.
The Grey Iron Casting Co. Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Founders: Henry S. Stauffer and S. N. Earby
When Kenton Manufacturing Company closed in 1908 Grey Iron got the molds for all of their models of safe banks, and when Kenton reopened in 1910 Grey Iron returned the patterns and molds, but continued to manufacture Kenton’s safe banks also. In 1913, the Grey Iron Casting Co. catalog included hardware, cast iron toys, novelties, and house furnishing specialties. Grey Iron suspended cast iron toy manufacturing in 1941 to build munitions but returned in the 1950s manufacturing sets of American Continental soldiers.
Specialty: Cast iron banks and toys 1903-1925, Grey Klip Army toy soldiers (1917-1941) in cast iron, nickel-plated. “Iron Men” series, 1936; “Uncle Sam`s Defender”, 1938. The firm produced miniatures under the name “Greyklip Armies”; also an “American Family” series just before WWII.
Other names: 1840-1901 The Brady Machine Shop, 1901-1906 National Novelty Corporation, 1906-1912 Hardware & Woodenware Manufacturing Company, 1968 operating as Donsco Corporation, located in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania in their John Wright Division until an arson fire in 1979 where all of their records were lost.
S.G. Gunthermann Nuremberg, Germany
1877 – 1965
Founder: Sifried Gunthermann
Specialty: Began producing tinplate mechanical cars in 1898; also a number of comic and character wind-ups in the early 1960s. When the founder died in 1890, his widow married Adolph Weigel; toys from that period on bore makers mark with a shield inside a circle and initials A.S.G.W. Wiegel’s initials were removed following his death in 1919. The company was acquired by Siemens in 1965.
Gutmann Paris, France
1945 to date
Specialty: Lightweight tin motor vehicles. Trademark: MEMO
Hafner Mfg. Co. Chicago, Illinois
1900 to 1950
Founder: W.F. Hafner
Specialty: Joined with Edmunds-Metzel Co. in 1907 to manufacture trains and mechanical toys. Became American Flyer Manufacturing in 1910 and was sold to Wyandotte in 1950. When Wyandotte closed its doors, Marx acquired Hafner dies.
John Harper & Co., Ltd. Willenhall, England
1790 – 1940
Founder: John Harper
Specialty: Produced banks in the 1880s. Cast-iron still/mechanical banks and toys. Noted banks include; “Wimbleton Bank”, “Grenadier”, “I Always Did Despise a Mule”, “Football Bank”, and “Giant on Tower”.
Harris Toy Co. Toledo, Ohio:
1887 – 1913
Founder: Franklin Harrison Harris
Specialty: Produced malleable cast-iron and steel toys in the 1880s. It became one of the top manufacturers of cast iron toys which were famous for manufacturing various carts and wagons with cartoon characters of time such as Gloomy Gus, Happy Hooligan, and Foxy Grandpa standing in them. Harris also acted as a jobber for Dent, Hubley, and Wilkins which it is often hard to distinguish between their products. In 1913, financial difficulties forced them out of toy production.
Hasbro Mfg. Pawtucket, Rhode Island
1923 to date
Founder: The Hassenfeld brothers, Henry Hassenfeld, Hillel Hassenfeld, Herman Hassenfeld
Specialty: Makers of plastic and wood toys, including Super Weeble, Potato Head, and G.I. Joe series, which has gone through several transformations. The articulated plastic figures in cloth uniforms were originally 11 1/2 inches tall; the new G.I. Joe`s recalled to active duty in 1982, measured a mere 14 inches. In 1987, G.I.Joe was the number one selling toy in America.
O. & M. Hausser Stuttgart (Ludwigsburg), Germany (see also Elastolin)
1904 – 1983
Founder: Otto and Max Hausser
Specialty: Dolls, toys, and military miniatures of composition sawdust and glue, made under the name “Elastolin”. Also made still banks from 1929-1939.
J.L. Hess Nuremberg, Germany
Specialty: Tinplate pull-along trains and various other parlor toys; toys autos that bore the trademark name “Hessmobil”.
Heyde Miniatures Dresden, Germany
1872 – 1945
Specialty: Full-round solid military miniatures. Decidedly topical, Heyde produced new sets of replications of soldiers whenever a war broke out, in a variety of sizes from 40 to 145mm. Highly prized are the special sets(i.e., “Buffalo Bill”, “North Pole Expedition”, “Tiger Hunting in India”). Heyde`s factory was wiped out by the Dresden firebombing in 1945. Heyde’s usually bear no trademarks, but can be distinguished by their highly stylized, thin, and fragile appearance.
N.N. Hill Brass Co. New Jersey
1889 – 1960
Specialty: Branch of National Novelty for four years ending in 1907. Merged with Watrous Mfg. Co. in 1905, another bell toy maker. Specialized in cast-iron and pressed-steel bell push and pull toys, toy telephones, and target games.
Johann Gottfried Hilpert Nuremberg, Germany
1770s – 1801
Founders: Johann Hilpert, Johann Georg , Johann Wolfgang Hilpert.
Specialty: The firm was the first identified manufacturer of tin soldiers. In addition to the military (Frederick the Great`s Potsdam Guards are a stunning example), Hilpert also produced a variety of flat figures depicting hunting, farming, and theatrical life. Identifying marks “H”, “JH”, “JGH”, or “Hilpert” on base. Figures were often dated.
Hoge Mfg. Co. (pronounced Hoagy) Manhattan, NY.
Founded in 1909
Specialty: Founded in 1909 in Manhattan, NY, by Hampden Hoge, who had left the company by 1919. They produced only office supplies until 1931 when Henry Katz dissolved his company and came to manage Hoge`s new toy division. The firm contracted the construction of their toy designs to Mattatuck Manufacturing Company. Products included stamped steel passenger and animated circus cars as well as electric and clockwork locomotives. The line ceased in 1939 and Hoge was bought and dissolved by Mattatuck in 1958. The name is currently the property of Robert Hoge (no direct relation to the founder), a Hoge collector.
Horikawa Toy Industrial Co., Ltd. (SH) Tokyo, Japan
1959 – 1989
Specialty: Horikawa Toy Industrial Co., Ltd. was founded in Tokyo, Japan, in 1959 and operated until the late 1980s. Their trademark was an “SH” in a black diamond. They were a major Japanese wholesaler and one of the most successful post-WWII Japanese battery-operated toy makers. Horikawa specialized in battery-operated robots and space toys, as well as vintage-style vehicles. Their toys were popular and can be found in various unique variations. However, they didn’t receive the same level of respect from collectors as some other major toy makers of the time.
During the 1960s, Horikawa competed with successful Japanese toy manufacturers like Yoshiya, Nomura, and Yonezawa. Like many traditional toy manufacturers, Horikawa faced challenges in the 1970s due to the rise of plastic toys and changing market trends. Eventually, the company ceased production, and its original operation ended in the late 1980s.
In 1989, Metal House, which was established in 1943 as Marumiya and continues to this day, took over Horikawa and merged with the company. Many people mistakenly believed that Metal House manufactured the toys themselves, as Horikawa had produced a significant number of works for Metal House. Metal House replicated and reproduced many of Horikawa’s designs but in limited quantities.
Some of the designs carried over from Horikawa to Metal House include the Super Space Giant and the Star Strider, which are still produced today. The Star Strider is notable as Horikawa’s last all-tin toy robot design. During the transitional period between the closure of Horikawa and the establishment of Metal House, both companies’ names appeared on the boxes of some of their toys.
Hubley Mfg. Co. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
1894 to date
Slogan: “They`re Different”
Founder: John E. Hubley
Specialty: Brand name: Lancaster Brand Iron Toys. Originally manufactured electric toy train equipment and parts. Purchased Safety Buggy Co. factory and moved to site in 1909. First manufactured cast-iron toys, horse-drawn wagons and fire engines, circus trains, and cap guns. Toy autos became the headliners in the 1930s. By quickly converting to cheaper smaller toys during the Depression, they avoided the financial woes experienced by many other toy companies. Iron shortages in WWII and commitments to fill war contracts did stop the toy division in 1942, until after the war.. The name was later changed to Gabriel Industries and still existed as a division of CBS as of 1978.
Hull & Stafford Clinton, Connecticut
1860s – 1880s (Established as Hull & Wright; acquired Union Mfg. Co. in 1869.)
Specialty: Intricate, enameled tin toys.
Ideal Novelty and Toy Company/Ideal Toy Company Brooklyn, New York
1903 to Present
Founder: Rose and Morris Michtom
Specialty: Stuffed toys and dolls, anchored by their originating and manufacturing of the Teddy Bear in 1903. Ideal made popular toys and dolls such as the Teddy Bear (1903), the Uneeda Kid doll (1914), the Betsy Wetsy doll (1934-1984), the Toni doll (1940s), Saucy Walker, Shirley Temple (1934), Miss Revlon (1950s), Patti Playpal (1950s-1960s), the Tammy doll (1962–1966), Flatsy dolls (1969–1973), the Crissy doll (1969–1974), the Tressy Gro-Hair doll (1968–1972), Thumbelina, Tiny Thumbelina, Wake-Up Thumbelina (1970s), the Milton Bradley games Mouse Trap (1960s-1970s), Hands Down (1960s-1970s), and Kerplunk (1967), the Taylor Jones and Tuesday Taylor dolls, and Wake-up Thumbelina doll (1970s), Evel Knievel toys (1972-1977), the Magic 8-Ball (1970s), the Magic Cube/ Rubik’s Cube (Hasbro/Ideal, 1980s).
The Ideal Novelty and Toy Company was founded in 1903 in Brooklyn, New York by Rose and Morris Michtom after they invented the “Teddy Bear”. After Morris Michtom’s death in 1938, the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company changed its name to the Ideal Toy Company, and Michtom’s nephew Abraham Katz became chief executive.
During the post–World War II baby boom era, Ideal became the largest doll-making company in the United States. Ideal was one of the first doll manufacturers to produce an African American version of a popular doll Betsy Wetsy which was produced from 1934 until 1984.
In 1951, Ideal collaborates with its partners the American Character Doll Company and the Alexander Doll Company, and establishes the United States-Israeli Toy and Plastic Corporation. In 1968, the American Character Doll Company filed for bankruptcy and Ideal acquired the defunct company’s dyes, patents, and trademarks. In 1971, Ideal Toys bought Alabe Crafts (1946-1971, Magic 8-Ball).
In the 1980s, Ideal licensed the Magic Cube (1974-1980) from Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik and rebrands it as the Rubik’s Cube. This was Ideal’s last big hit toy and continues to sell worldwide to this day and is owned by Rubik’s Brand Ltd which was acquired on October 27, 2020, by Spin Master (1994-present). In 1987, Ideal is acquired by View-Master and the View-Master Ideal Group (VMIG) is formed. In 1989, the View-Master Ideal Group (VMIG) is sold to Tyco Toys.
In 1997 Ideal once again changed hands when Tyco Toys merges with Mattel, Inc. Ideal’s United Kingdom assets are sold to Hasbro. At this point, the Ideal trademarks, and most toy molds not purchased by Hasbro or Mattel, were purchased by Jay Horowitz of American Plastic Equipment who then licensed the trademark and toy rights to Plaza Toys, to be used on its Fiddlestix building sticks products.
In 2003, the Ideal trademark and toy rights were sold to Poof Products (1980s-2004 when it becomes Poof-Slinky). In January 2014, the Ideal brand and toy rights became part of a new company, Alex Brands (1986-2020, rebranded as Alex Global Products). In early 2019, in all categories outside of toys and playthings worldwide, Jay Horowitz of American Classic Toys entered into an exclusive license agreement with the Juna Group to represent select Ideal brands that were not included in the sale to Poof Products.
Industria Nazionale Giocattoli Automatica Padova, Padua, Italy
1920 – ?
Specialty: Tin mechanical trains, cars, airplanes. Trademark: INGAP.
Ives Corp. Bridgeport, Connecticut
1868 – 1932
E.R. Ives & Co.
1868 – 1870
Founder: Edward R. Ives
Specialty: Originally made baskets and hot air toys.
Ives and Blakeslee & Co. 1872 – 1932 Specialty: Ives joined partner Cornelius Blakeslee, a brother-in-law. Ives moved to Bridgeport in 1870; by the 1880s, they were leaders in superb clockwork toys designed by Jerome Secor, Nathan Warner, and Arthur Hotchkiss. Ives also acted as a jobber for other toy manufacturers` toys. The firm filed for bankruptcy in 1929, another victim of the Depression. Lionel took over the company at that time, and the name Ives and Blakeslee remained until 1931.
J. Barton Smith Co. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
We were not able to find much on J. Barton Smith Co., however, we do know that it was founded in 1842 and continued until 1890. In 1891, the company was purchased by Nicholson File Co. Items are often marked as J.B. Smith or JBS. They specialized in tools such as saws, files, pruners, and screwdrivers. While they specialized in tools, it appears they dabbled a couple of times in manufacturing mechanical/coin banks.
Jacrim Manufacturing Co. Seaworthy Boats
The JACRIM Manufacturing Company was the brainchild of Chester Rimmer and Arthur Jackson two graduates of MIT in 1921 in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. The Boston City Directory said the company began in 1921, but the first official registration was in 1924 in Malden, Mass as Jacrim Manufacturing. There is no record of Seaworthy Boats and it probably was a tradename. Chester was the treasurer and his brothers, coopers by trade, were the other officers. No mention of Jackson. The boats were mostly hand crafted and about 1930 they moved to Boston into The Keystone Manufacturing factory, Advertisements were published and a 1932 price list was issued. Then Keystone took over and all the Rimmers except Chester left the company. Jackson left to join American Enka in May of 1929. Keystone offered Jacrim Boats through the 1930s and by the war years, boats were only marked Keystone. Also, the hand-shaped boats gave way to machine cut and many of the Seaworthy features were eliminated. The first boats were sailboats from 12″ to 36″ and then spring motor driven motorboats called “Flying Yankee” from 19″ to 30″, Electric Battery speed boats and in 1929 the “Tom Thumb” boats appeared. There were “Ride Em” wooden wagons, Forts, and other toys, and probably some still hiding in closets and attics waiting to be discovered. Keystone continued until 1957 and Chester Rimmer, a vice president, retired. (Information provided by Robert S. Jones 2008)
Jaymar Specialty Company Brooklyn, New York:
1920’s – 1990
Founder: Jacob Marx (Father), Rose Marx (Daughter), David Marx (Son)
Jaymar Specialty Co. was by all accounts a family business. In the 1920s, famous toy maker Louis Marx’s father Jacob, his brother David, and his sister Rose started the Jaymar Specialty Company. The Marx family businesses never competed with each other. Instead, they worked together sharing resources. While Louis Marx Co. specialized in lithograph tin toy products, Jaymar Specialty Co. focused on toys and playthings made from cloth, paper, and wood/wood composite.
Many of their toys were character pieces representing familiar cartoon and radio characters from the 1920s to the 1950s including Little Orphan Annie, Popeye, Amos and Andy, Puss ‘n’ Boots, Moon Mullins, and Ignatz the Kat, Betty Boop, Joe Palooka, and so on. Other, generic characters such as the Midges line of soldiers, circus figures, animals, and various types of people were also produced. The faces of these toys were usually stamped rather than hand painted. The name of the character was often stamped on the toy’s body. Sometimes, “Made in USA” was stamped on the sole of the foot or shoe. Some of Jaymar’s toys are also marked with name MarJay.
The “Yo-yo” as we know it has existed in some form or another since at least 480-500 BCE and was brought to America from the Philippines in 1928 by Pedro Flores and featured in the July 1929 issue of Popular Mechanics. Due to its popularity, in 1932 businessman Donald F. Duncan bought out Pedro Flores and obtained the Flores’ assets and the rights to the trademark “Yo-yo”. During this time, Jaymar was instrumental in promoting the popularity of the Yo-yo, serving for more than 20 years as the distributor for Duncan Yo-yos helping them sell well even throughout the Great Depression.
After World War II, the company evolved and started manufacturing items such as pianos and puzzles. During the late 1940s to the 1950s Jaymar held the Disney license for diecut cardboard jigsaw puzzles.
In December of 1987 the Jaymar Specialty Company, Inc. was dissolved and Jaymar stopped manufacturing and selling toys by 1990.
Jeanette Toy & Novelty Co. Jeanette, Pennsylvania
1898 – ?
Specialty: Lithographed tin toys, including trays, tea sets, and figural glass candy containers.
JEP (Jouets en Paris) Paris, France
1899 – 1965
Known originally as the Societe Industriel de Ferblanteriel, the firm underwent a name change to J de P in 1928; its contemporary came about in 1932.
Specialty: Lithographed, tin, clockwork toy automobiles, motorcycles, aircraft, and other motor miniatures. JEP cars traditionally carried a trademark on the radiator of the particular vehicle replicated.
Jeux et (JJF/JFJ, looks like JFL) Paris, France
1904 to 1930
Jeux et was formed in 1904 when game makers & Dacier, Simonin Cuny, and others came together.
John Hill & Co.(Johillco) London, England
1900 – 1960
Founder: Wood (first name unknown), former Britains` employee.
Specialty: Primarily 54mm hollow-cast toy soldiers in Britain’s tradition, but in most cases lacking the quality and refinement of the latter. Never really recovered following the destruction of its Tottenham factory in the London blitz, Johillco closed its doors in 1960.
Jones & Bixler, Co. Freemansburg, Pennsylvania
1899 – 1914
Founder: Charles A. Jones and Louis S. Bixler
Specialty: “Red Devil Line” of cast-iron auto toys (introduced in 1903, when J & B became part of National Novelty Corp.). From 1909-1913, J & B and Kenton Hardware (which also became part of the National Novelty toy trust) produced toys that were indistinguishable from each other.
Jones (Metal Art Miniatures Co.) Chicago, Illinois
1925 – 1941
Founder: J. Edwards Jones
Specialty: 3 1/4 inch military miniatures; primarily a dimestore line.
Judd Mfg. Co. Wallingford, Connecticut
1830 – ?
Other names: Originally known as H.L. Judd Co. when founded in 1830 in New Britain; changed name to M. Judd & Sons in 1855; Judd Mfg. In 1870.
Founder: Morton Judd
Specialty: Cast-iron mechanical banks, including “Peg-Leg Beggar,” “Ticket Collector,” and “Standing Giant.”
Jumeau Paris and Montreil-sous-Bois, France
1842 – 1899
Founder: Emile Jumeau
Specialty: Bisque head, composition body dolls, including exquisite be`be`.