A-Z of Tin Toy Makers

Acme Toy Works Chicago, Illinois 1903-1907
Clockwork toy cars.
 
Alps (Shojo Ltd.) Tokyo, Japan. 1948 to date
Toy vehicles and novelties. A lot of these toys were battery operated; mixed tinplate and tin. Space toys are among the most popular..
Althof, Bergmann New York City, New York 1867-1880
Tinplate trains, bell toys, still banks, horse drawn vehicle. One of the first U.S. toy makers to build carpet running trains, renowned for painted clockwork toys, notably the hoop variety.
 

Aoshin, Japan
Aoshin was an older toy company with roots in Japan's post-war tin toy manufacturing. In the 1950's, Aoshin produced several classic tin robots (including " Tremendous Mike" and the " Chime Trooper") and a variety of tin cars, all marked with their "ASC" logo. Riding into the '70s, however, they found themselves face-to-face with a rapidly growing market for diecast toys instead.

Asahi, Japan
Japanese toy producer (Asahi Toy Company), which initially used tin plate, and then moved into 1/43rd scale die-cast.
Asakusa Toy Co., Japan
Manufacturer of the Thunder Robot, originally produced in 1957
Bassett-Lowke Northampton, England 1899 to date
The first to recognize the quality workmanship of German toy train manufactures (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.
Bing Corp. New York City, New York 1924 - 1935
Spin-off of German firm, Gebruder Bing.
Served as jobber for parent firm with mechanical boats, zeppelins, and steam engines.
 
Blomer & Schuler Nuremberg, Germany 1930 to date
Tin mechanical motor toys.
 
George W. Brown & Co. Forestville, Connecticut 1856 - 1880
Merged with J. & E. Stevens in 1868
First manufacturer to produce toys with clock-work mechanisms.
Beginning perhaps as early as 1850. Known for classic boats, vehicles, animal platforms toys, dancing figures, and hoop bell toy, fashioned in painted tin.
 
Karl Bub Nuremberg, Germany 1851 - 1966
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.
 
Burnett Ltd. London, England 1914 - 1939
Founded in 1914 by F. Burnett and E. Satchwell, the company sold a range of tin plate toys, including an open top motor bus and a Royal Mail van, plus fire engines, aircraft and locomotives. Also produced the 'Ubilda' range of kits which included a few cars. However, the company did not undertake its own manufacturing (see Barringer, Wallis and Manners Co Ltd).

In 1939 it ran into financial difficulties, and its tooling was acquired by Chad Valley.

 
George Carette Nuremberg, Germany 1886 - 1917
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.
 
J. Chein & Co. New York City, New York and Harrison, New Jersey. 1903 - 1979
Other names: Became known as Chein Industries, Inc., in the 1970s.
tin mechanical toys, banks, drums, and tea sets.
Tin toys were lithographed. Chein's line of comic and circus tin toys received wide acceptance in the 1930s and leading up to World War II. .
 
Johann Distler Nuremberg,, Germany 1900 - 1968
Founder: Johann Distler. In 1917, Distler took on Messrs. Brown & Mayer as partners. In 1923, partners took over after Distlers death. Brown & Mayer sold out to Ernst Volk in 1935. From 1962-1968, a Belgian firm assumed the toy business.
Lithographed tin penny toys; comic and erratic action transportation toys.
 
J. Falk Nuremberg, Germany Late 1890s - 1940
Stationary steam engines, optical projectors, and steam-propelled boats.
 
James Fallows & Sons Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1870 onwards
Organized under name "C.B. Porter Company. In 1894, name was changed to Frederick & Henry Fallows Toys.
Firm began carrying his name about 1880. Principals were James Fallows and his sons, Henry, Charles, and David.
Painted and stenciled tin horse-drawn, wheeled vehicles, trains, and river boats. Highly prized toys often carried marl "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.) Fallows' demise coincided with the advent of lithographed tin toys in the 1880s.
 
Georg Fischer Nuremberg, Germany Early 1900s - 1914
Tin penny toys and other novelties. Trademark "G.F".
 
Gebruder Fleischmann Nuremberg, Germany 1887 to date
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.
 
Greppert & Kelch Brandenberg, Germany 1912 - 1930
Small lithographed tin mechanical toys; mid-1920s appears to have been the height of their popularity. Often marked "Gundka Werke", or with G.&K.
 
S.G. Gunthermann Nuremberg, Germany 1877 - 1965
Began producing tinplate mechanical cars in 1898; also a number of comic and character wind-ups in the early 1960s. When founder died in 1890, his widow married Adolph Weigel; toys from that period on bore makers mark with a shield inside circle and initials A.S.G.W. Wiegels initials were removed following his death in 1919. Company was acquired by Siemens in 1965.
 
Gutmann Paris, France 1945 to date
Lightweight tin motor vehicles. Trademark: MEMO
 
Hafner Mfg. Co. Chicago, Illinois 1900 to 1950
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.
 
Industria Nazionale Giocattoli Automatica Padova, Padua, Italy 1920 onwards
Tin mechanical trains, cars, airplanes. Trademark: INGAP.
 
Jeanette Toy & Novelty Co. Jeanette, Pennsylvania 1898 onwards
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.
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.
 
Georg G. Kellermann Nuremberg, Germany 1910 to date
Clockwork tin motorcycles and penny toys. Trademark: C.K.O. Son Willy took over the firm following the death of his father in 1931.
 
Lefkowitz Toy Co. Brooklyn, New York Early 1900s onwards
Ingenious Rube Goldberg-type mechanical tin toys(i.e., The Flying Cupid).
 
Ernest Lehmann Co. Brandenberg, Germany 1881 (Re-established in 1951 in Nuremberg and still producing toys).
Lehmann exported vast quantities of toys to the United States from 1895 to 1929 (excluding years of WWI). Specialized in lithographed tinplate, mechanical transportation toys, and figures known for colorful patina. Some of the most desirable Lehmannn's include: Mr. and Mrs. Lehmann, Dancing Sailor, Icarus, and Autobus.
 
Georg Levy Nuremberg, Germany 1920 - 1971
Produced automotive tin toys under Kienberger name ("Kiko") until 1920, then launched his own firm. Sold out and left Germany in the 1930s, but factory resumed under name of Nuremberg Tin Toys Factory.
 
Lindstrom Tool & Toy Co. Bridgeport, Connecticut 1913-early 1940s (resumed production after WWII)
Mechanical toys and games of pressed-steel and tin. Included stoves, sewing machines; amusement park-type auto, the "Doodlebug".
 
Lineol Brandenberg/Havel, Germany 1905 to date
Tinplate military toys and trenchworks; also composition armies, barnyard scenes, zoo menageries, Christmas cre'ches, cooking and tea sets, wooden toys. Lineol's 7.5cm military miniatures are deemed superior to Elastolin. Lineol was nationalized in 1949 and moved to Dresden. It still produces miniatures today under the name VEB Lineol-Plastik Dresden.
 
Lines Bros. Ltd. London, England 1919 - 1971
Small clockwork tin motor toys; "Minic" series, 1930. "Spot-On" series of Die-cast models, 1959; "Triangtois" on wooden toys, circa 1927. Lines closed its doors in 1971 following financial difficulties.
 
Gebruder Maerklin Goppingen, Germany 1859 to date
Originated as a maker of doll-sized tinplate kitchenware. When sons took over the business in 1888, firm name was changed to Gebruder Maerklin. Branched out to a variety of enameled tinplate boats, carousels, aeronautical toys. Unsurpassed in production of clockwork, steam, and electric trains. Introduced first standardized tinplate tracks in 1891. Maerklin switched to plastic train sets in the late 1950s.
 
Fernand Martin Paris, France 1887 - 1919
Widely copied maker of amusing double-action tin mechanicals, including Le Clochard (Tramp) and Ivrogne (Toper or Drunk).
 
Louis Marx & Company New York, New York 1919 - 1979
Lithographed, tin wind-up toys; Marx successfully revived the Yo-Yo in 1928; it sold well even through the Depression. Marx was one of the big four among American electric train manufacturers.
Masutoku Toys Tokyo, Japan 1945 to date
Mechanical and battery-operated tin toys. Trademark: "MT".
 
Johann Phillip Meir Nuremberg, Germany 1879 - 1917
One of the more prolific penny toy manufactures at the turn of the century. Meir also produced painted tin mechanical toys. Trademark: Dog pulling a cart.
 
Merriam Mfg. Co. Durham, Connecticut 1856 - 1880
Enameled tinplate clockwork toys. Continues today as a box manufacturer; ceased toy production in 1880s. Known for such classics as "Horse on Sculptured Base", ptd by William A. Hardwood, Brooklyn, New York, plus "Rabbit in Hoop".
 
Metalgraf Milan, Italy 1910 - 1930s
Exquisite hand painted tin clockwork automobiles.
 
Mettoy Co. Ltd. Great Britain 1934 - 1984
Founders: Phillip Ulmann, dispossessed owner of Tipp & Co., who was forced to flee Nazi Germany.
Tinplate automotive mechanicals and novelties; after 1945, Mettoy converted to plastic toys. Introduced Corgi Toys in 1959. Went into liquidation in 1984.
Muller & Kadeder (M.&K.) Nuremberg, Germany 1900 to date
Lithographed tin wind-ups; aeronautical toys including zeppelins and a fanciful balloon with a parachute; also carried carousels and character toys (i.e., Buster Brown With Poodle", "Tailor Riding Buck", and "Clown on Pig"). In the post-WWI years, turned to lithographed tin automobiles.
 
Nonpareil Toy & Novelty Co. Newark, New Jersey Post-WWI to late 1940s
Lithographed tin toy trucks and wagons, mostly of the penny toy or tiny prize package toy variety.
 
Paya Alicante, Spain dates unknown
Tin clockwork and steam motor toys; also "O" gauge model railroads.
 
Ernst Plank Nuremberg, Germany 1866 - 1900
Tin trains, airplanes, boats, and automobiles.
 
Rico Alicante, Spain 1930s - 1950s
Tin mechanical autos and airplanes. Trademark: RSA.
 
William Rissmann Co. (RI-CO) Nuremberg, Germany 1907 onwards
Toy trains and tin mechanical motor toys. Not to be confused with Spanish firm, Rico. Look for additional word "Germany", to differentiate from the two.
 
Karl Rohrseitz Zindorf, Germany 1890s onwards
Tinplate novelties
 
Charles Rossignol Paris, France 1868 - 1962
Painted tin clockwork vehicles. Logo was of entwined letters "C" and "R". Made first automotive toy, a Renault taxi, in 1905. Parisian buses, produced by Rossignol in the 1920s, are highly prized.
 
Schuco Toy Co. Nuremberg, Germany 1912 - 1970
Mohair-covered mechanical toys. An idendent Schuco Toy Co. with import rights to the German toys was formed in the U.S. in 1947 by Adolf Kahn's son, Eric ( following WW1 Schreyer Muller formed a new partnership with Kahn). Schuco declared bankruptcy in 1970.
 
Jerome Secor Manufacturing Bridgeport, Connecticut 1872 - mid1880s
Introduced a line of sewing machines plus mechanical singing birds at the 1873 World's Fair, Vienna. One of the first patented toys; a sheet brass whistling bird, the American Songster. His ingenious clockwork creations included; "Brudder Bones, the Banjo Player", "Sister Lucinda at the Play", and the rarest most coveted of all mechanicals "The Freedman's Bank". Secor sold his business to Ives in the mid-1880s. He continued to design and manufacture clockwork toys through Ives.
 
Walter Stock Solingen, Germany 1905 - 1930s
Lithographed tin mechanical toys much similar to Lehmann line; also penny toys exported to America.
 
Ferdinand Strauss Corporation New York City, New York 1900s - mid1940s
Major producer of tin mechanical toys from 1914 to 1927
 
Tipp & Co. Nuremberg, Germany 1912 - 1971
Military line of tin toys.
 
Union Manufacturing Co. Clinton, Connecticut 1853 - 1869
Hull & Stratford acquired this small tin toy-producing firm in 1869.
 
Unique Art Mfg. Co. Newark, New Jersey 1940s onwards
Comic/character tin mechanicals, including "Li'l Abner Dogpatch Band" and "Gertie, The Galloping Goose" 1940s.
 
Weeden Mfg. Co. New Bedford, Massachusetts 1883 - 1888
Produced working toy steam engine in 1884; also steamboats, fire engines, and automobiles in miniature with steam as motor power. Manufactured several ultimate rarities among clockwork tin mechanical banks, including "Ding Dong Bell" and "Japanese Ball Tosser".
 

Wells Brimtoy Hollyhead, Wales, and Wells, London, England 1920 to date. 1922-Acquired Brimtoy Co.
Tinplate automotive toys; Wells Brimtoy also ventured into Die-cast motor toys. Most popular are the post-WWII tinplate buses.