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Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Tin Too Full: Inside- the history of a popular toy.

For me, some of the interesting places where cool items can be found are in the “catch-all” locations we all have. For example: Junk drawers in kitchens, workbench drawers in garages and basements, and especially in basements – random tins with bits and pieces of leftover junk from projects gone by.

Tin of Junk, found, hardware
I took a chance a few weeks ago, when nothing good could be found and saw a large cookie tin on a basement shelf.
Tin of Junk, found, hardware

“This is a dig.” I thought to myself, and purchased it sight unseen. 

Tin of Junk, found, hardware close up
My expectations were none to high, as I have a couple of my own “catch-all” tins in my garage. As I have said in the past, it’s not the kill… 

Tin of Junk, found, hardware close up
You will see that there was nothing but the usual random screws and nails in here and as I dug deeper I felt my few dollars would be wasted and I would have a story without an end. However, fate and fortune though dim, shined upon me one more time and out of the tin came a small car. 

Tootsie Toy,car
It only took a brief image search before I found a good bit of history behind this toy car.

Tootsie Toy,car

Tootsie Toy,car
In 1877, Charles O.Dowst was a bookkeeper. By 1879 he was listed under Dowst & Co., publishers, and two years later as editor and proprietor of the National Laundry Journal, when his brother, Samuel, joined him. 

A decade later, the listing was changed to "Laundry Supplies". The World's Colombian Exposition took place in Chicago during the summer of 1893, at which a new type-casting machine, the Line-O-Type, was introduced. It was natural that this should interest the publishing Dowsts, as early typeset printing machines would wear down the lead letter sets. 

The Line-O-Type could cast letter sets quickly and cheaply and one was soon installed at their plant. Before long, they recognized that this equipment could be adapted to cast more than a "Line-O-Type". Soon, laundry accessories, such as collar buttons and small promotional irons, were being turned out. This line was quickly expanded to include tiny animals, whistles, rings, ships, etc., used for prizes in boxes of candied pop-corn (Cracker-Jacks) and by confectioners in wedding and birthday cakes, etc. 

These toys had no trade name until 1922. The name Tootsietoy was registered as a trademark on 11 March 1924, having been applied for on 7 February 1923. The application stated that the name had been used continuously since 20 April 1921, but did not mention use of the name on any of their products except doll furniture. Tootsie was the name of Theodore (Ted) Dowst's daughter. 

For more on the interesting history behind this and other toy cars click here.

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