Synopsis of Toy

When the Great Depression hit the United States in the 1930’s, large and expensive toys suddenly were out of fashion. Just the same, kids still wanted to have fun, and smaller, less costly toys became popular during those money-conscious times. One of the most popular toys to rise up during this era was the die-cast car, and the leader in the creation of these pocket-sized gems was a company known as Tootsietoys.

Die-casting was introduced to the world at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 with a machine called the Line-O-Type. This machine made it possible to manufacture metal items by melting the metal into a liquid form and pouring it into a pre-set mold. American manufacturer Charles Dowst witnessed this machine at work, and liking what he saw, he began using this technology back in the United States. In 1906, he took notice of the popularity of “horseless carriages” and began manufacturing small toy cars for children.

Dowst took his next stride forward in 1910. When Henry Ford’s Model T Ford became a popular automobile, Dowst decided to use it as the model for a series of small die-cast cars. Dowst produced a highly-detailed replica of the Model T Ford. These toys combined high quality with a convenient size and an affordable price to become a big hit. As a result, Dowst began producing the Model T Fords and other die-cast vehicles through his company, Dowst Manufacturing Co.

The company also experimented with other die-cast toys, including a line of dollhouse furniture in 1922. These items were named “Tootsie Toys” in honor of one of Dowst’s granddaughters, and in 1924, Dowst Manufacturing Co. took the name of these toys as their company’s name. The company continued to produce several die-cast toys, although they shifted their focus to other, less-expensive toys after World War II. One of their best-selling non-die-cast toys was the solution used to blow bubbles. Tootsietoys was the first company to put this on the market, and it remains popular today.

As they moved into the 1950’s, die-cast toys remained a specialty for Tootsietoys, and they began making new kinds of vehicles like Jeeps and fire-fighting trucks. In 1961, Tootsietoys merged with Strombecker, a specialist in plastic toys. Although their names both appeared on the packages of their toys, Tootsietoys continued to focus on die-cast toys while Strombecker focused on plastic toys. The company made their last purely die-cast vehicles in 1969. Since then, the die-cast Tootsietoys have also included plastic parts.

Tootsietoys continues to be an important company today. Their new cars are models of choice for toy car enthusiasts, and their classic die-cast cars remain a hot item among toy collectors. If you want a quality toy car with a sense of history to back it up, then a Tootsietoy is a ride worth taking.

Release History of Toy

1906 - Dowst makes his first die-cast toy cars
1910 - Model T Ford
1924 - Tootsietoys

Sub Categories of Toys

toy cars

Toy and Game Manufacturer

Dowst, Tootsietoys, Strombecker Corp.

Other Toy Links