Tonka is another great toy company from the U.S.A. They were founded in the 40s and, even today, the name is still being used by current toy manufacturers. The original company does not exist anymore, though. As it usually happen, the original company did not manufcature toys at the time of its foundation, but at some point they saw some bussiness there, and changed the production to toys.
Mound Metalcraft was founded in 1946 in Mound, Minnesota, with the intention of making and selling garden appliances. Their first products were two tie-rack models. The founders were: Lynn Everett Baker, Avery F. Crounse, and Alvin F. Tesch. At some point in 1947, they thought it would be a good idea to include a few toys in their portfolio, and manufactured the first Tonka trucks. By then, the company already had a new logo and a new name: Tonka, a variation of the Dakota Sioux word for "big" or "great".
|Taken from underconsideration.com|
Toys became the main source of incomes for the company, so in 1955 Mound Metalcraft changed its name to Tonka Toys. During that first year, 37,000 metal trucks were manufactured, counting two models: a steam shovel and a crane.
Like every other company those years, they mostly used metal parts, that were later replaced with plastic parts from the late 70s on. The toys are characterized for being very sturdy.
The company Tonka bought Kenner Parker in 1987 and was later acquired by Hasbro in 1991. Currently, the Tonka brand is property of Maisto, that has a line of 1:64 trucks sold under this brand/series.
Information up to this point: mostly Wikipedia
But since I am from Spain, and this blog deals with many Spanish toys, my interest to Tonka is related to the licenses Tonka gave to other toy manufacturers around the world. In the particular case of Spain, it was Rico that manufactured many Tonka-licensed toys for the Spanish market. Toys are recognisable because Tonka always gave to its toys an unique, sturdy, bulky look.
One of the most famous lines back then was the "Sansón" trucks (Engl. Samson, like the Biblical character of enormous strength) That I would like to comment in this blog soon. Other series was "Diablos", and I am sure there were some more series available.
The Hot Rod shown in this entry is not a genuine Tonka, note that the brand TONKA is marked in the rubber tyres and the front grill, but this car is actually a Rico product, manufactured with the original casts by Tonka. It was sold under the line "Autos Locos", which roughly translates as "Crazy Cars". The name is probably not randomly chosen, since the TV series "Wacky Races" was also dubbed to Spanish as "Autos Locos", so maybe this name was appealing to the audience of the TV show.
I must say I have seen this line for the first time today, so now I am thinking that the "Old Cars" by Playtoy might be an attempt to copy this particular Rico series. Note that the reference 503 of the "Old Cars" is very similar to this model presented here.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: HOT ROD ("AUTOS LOCOS")
- Scale: Maybe 1:24
- Year: Around 1977
- Company: Rico (Spain) / Tonka (U.S.A.)
- Size: approx. 12 cm