I was watching an episode of American Pickers and saw a toy truck from the 1940s. It was a red and green dump truck made by the Wyandotte Toy Co. It made me think of a time in the early 1940s, before WWII and the rationing of steel and gasoline.
My brothers and I were lucky enough to receive assorted brightly colored steel trucks for Christmas, stamped with the Wyandotte Toy Co. logo. At this young age we thought they came from the North Pole, as advised by our parents. Little did we know they came from north Wyandotte. Growing up Downriver I realized I knew little about this company so I did a little research.
For a time in the 1930s, Wyandotte became an adjunct to Santa’s North Pole workshop. The Wyandotte Toy Co., a.k.a. All Metal Products, developed a large line of steel stamped toys such as airplanes, automobiles, trucks and other assorted toys. They became the second largest toy company in the United States, operating from two plants located at the north end of Wyandotte.
The unique feature of the company was the fact that all toys were produced from salvage steel purchased from Detroit auto companies. They consumed an average of 100 tons of salvage metal every month. This was shipped directly from the auto plants, providing a welcome outlet for otherwise waste material.
At the beginning of WWII toy manufacturing was halted and morphed into defense materials. They now made Garand rifle clips and flare guns. War production ended July 20, 1945, with toy production resuming the very next day.
Sometime later All Metal Products bought the Air Rifle stock from Sears and made air rifles for a short time. They later sold the air rifle business to the Daisy Manufacturing Co. The Daisy Company was not happy with the quality of the air rifles sold at Sears. This brought them to the decision to dump all of the original dies and tools into the Detroit River and start from scratch.
As we know, the movie “A Christmas Story” brought the “Daisy” name into the limelight, when young Ralphie fixated on obtaining a “Daisy Air Rifle” for himself. Through his creativity and perseverance, he was eventually successful.
In 1951, All Metal Products sold its Wyandotte business to the McCord Gasket Co., a manufacturer of automotive gaskets. Meanwhile, All Metal Products moved to Piqua, Ohio, and opened a new plant. However, lavish spending and mismanagement of funds caused them to end up in bankruptcy in 1957.
This toy plant is now gone but its products have withstood the test of time and are very collectable and valuable … thank you Ralphie!
(A special thank you to Wyandotte’s Bacon Memorial Library for its assistance).