Toys – Tonka

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Toys – Tonka

Tonka Toys. Even the name sounds tough. And make no mistake about it. Tonka toys were tough, especially back in the good old days when toys were made to last, or as they would say in their TV commercials, “They’re made Tonka tough”. Yes, every tough boy had to have his Tonka truck. So when did this all start? How long has Tonka been driving all these tough trucks?

Tonka started in 1947. The first trucks were made by a company called Mound Metalcraft. The company was located in Mound, Minnesota in a very small warehouse. No, this was not what you would call a big business when it started. The company itself actually specialized in making garden tools, which had to be tough. By taking that bit of technology and approach, they began to create some of the heaviest trucks ever assembled.

In its first year alone, Mound Metalcraft made more than 37,000 of these tough trucks. This despite the fact that they only had two designs. The two designs were a steam shovel and a crane. Oh and if you’re wondering, the word Tonka means “great” in Sioux.

After World War II, Tonka trucks became very popular with post-war families. The demand for these trucks was so great that it far outpaced production. A year of the company’s inventory would be sold out in just a few months.

The whole premise of the Tonka company and one that they refused to ever compromise on was that their toys should be durable and give your child as much playtime as possible out of them. They felt there was no reason their toys should not last for many years. And they did.

In the almost 60 years since the first Tonka toys were made, more than 250 million of them have been sold. To this day, their cars are built to withstand just about anything you can throw at them. What started as just two trucks has grown into a whole line of trucks and playsets.

Over the years, there have been some milestones in the Tonka legacy. It took more than 17 years since their first truck, but in 1964 came the most popular truck they ever made, the Mighty Dump. No truck of theirs has ever sold more units. Between 1965 and 1972 was what was called the “Mighty Age”. This is when the Tonka Mighty Series grew tremendously, giving us titles like the Mighty Clam, Crane, Shovel, Scraper, Car Carrier, Bulldozer, Wrecker, Hydraulic Dump, Roller, Bottom Dump, Mixer, Loadmaster and Grader. These were some of the most popular trucks ever.

Between 1973 and 1982, Tonka added more car categories. This period gave us the Rescue Vehicle, Car Carrier, Forklift, Earth Mover, Adventure Buggy and, believe it or not, the Mighty Winnebago.

Over the next 25 years, Tonka continued to produce quality products and new additions such as Chuck My Talking Truck, the first talking Tonka Toy.

Tonka promises to come out with trucks that are even tougher than those made almost 60 years ago.

That will be a tough act to follow.

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