|Antique Tonka Toys
The Tonka Toy Company remains best known for its steel sheet metal toys that began wide-spread production in the very early 1900s. Tonka, although one of the more memorable, toy companies was actually a late comer to the toy industry. Tonka trucks were named after Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota. In the Sioux Indian language the word "Tonka" means "great".
Many young boys did and still do traditionally get and play with their Tonka toy trucks -- I mean what are kids sand boxes for anyway if not a place to play construction site loading and hauling dirt?
Consider the classic Tonka Dump Truck (still manufacturer and sold today) which remains "virtually" unchanged in over 50 years. This tougher than tough toy metal truck is an all-time classic with young boys that will withstand years of abuse tough outdoor play. This is one of the reasons it makes such a great collectible -- there are plenty on the market because they are virtually indestructible!
Many claim that the Tonka Toy Dump Truck is (or should be) on the Top 10 list of all-time desirable and collectible toys. The newest Tonka trucks however are beginning to employ "improvements" in the way of electronics -- minor electronics at the moment (like working horns), but nevertheless still electronic. If Tonka pushes too far with the electronic versions the old classic and durable toys of the past will be the last ones to survive intact as collectibles.
A Few Tonka References
Tonka toys are now made by the Tonka Toy Group, a division of multi-billion dollar Hasbro, Inc. Tonkatoys.com has some great pictures of antique Tonka toys in the format of a virtual museum. Its well worth the visit.
Interesting Statistics on the Tonka Toy Company
TONKA made its first truck in 1947 and they have sold more than 250,000,000 since then.
The most popular Tonka toys was the Mighty TONKA Dump Truck and it was first introduced in 1964.
Every year TONKA uses more than 150,000 pounds of yellow paint and over 5,000,000 pounds of sheet metal to make its trucks.