Antique Toy Trucks

It should be of no surprise that early toy trucks resembled the old-time truck vehicles in use at the time.

Larger vehicles also served as models for toys in the early part of this century. Arcade, Hubley, and Dent produced an amazing variety of old toy trucks ranging from toy dump trucks and tow trucks to delivery vans and even lifesaving equipment. Also common were such highly specialized vehicles as water and pumper trucks. Many of these trucks were commonly seen on the streets of early America.

Early on sheet-steel was used as a material and a number of "friction" trucks and vehicles we produced. However, cast iron soon became the primary material for toy trucks because the casting process allowed for more accurate replication of details than sheet steel.

The largest miniature trucks were called "construction toys". Made of heavy-gauge sheet steel, they were often more than 2' long and strong enough for small children to sit on. Although toys, many were very accurate reproductions of dump trucks, hauling trucks, timber trucks and even into the earth movers, steam shovels, derricks, sand loaders, pile drivers, overhead cranes, and concrete mixers trucks. The best-known are part of the famous Buddy "L" line made by Moline.

Old Buddy "L" Toy Trucks

The Buddy "L" line of trucks and vehicles and construction equipment were manufactured to withstand rough use and exposure to dampness and dirt. Their baked-enamel finish was designed to be rust resistant, and the steel was strong enough to support an adult's weight. Consequently, many early Buddy "L" antique truck toys have survived. Nonetheless, because they are more than 50 years old, many are found today with rusted or repainted surfaces. 

Vintage Moline Toy Trucks

Established around 1910, the Moline Pressed Steel Company made full-size truck cabs and fenders for International Trucks until 1921, when Moline's founder, Fred Lundahl, began to produce the Buddy "L" toys, named after his son. During the 1920s, the firm used the same materials and methods of construction for both its toys and its full-size auto bodies, which explains the great durability of the toys. The materials and techniques for building toys were modified in the 1930s. 

Sturditoy Trucks - a real toy collectors item because so few survived intact.

Widely sold during the 1920s and '30s, Sturditoy antique trucks competed strongly with the Buddy "L" toys. The firm produced 15 models, including an American Railway Express truck, an ambulance, and several dump trucks. Sturditoys were as stylish as Buddy "L" and Keystone vehicles, but were made of a lighter-gauge steel. As a result, they are often found damaged or missing parts. 

The is such a wealth of information on the Internet about toy trucks, we decided to point you to something different. Take a look at real antique trucks and you will get a good idea of what types of old toy trucks are available. A great place to do that is at the truck museum. As far as pricing guides.... touch area. Our best suggestion for collecting old toy trucks would be to find a local antique club and ask for suggestions.