Mound Metalcraft Tonka

Mound Metalcraft Tonka Hasbro CBS Toys Parker Brothers Playskool

On September 18, 1946 Mound Metalcraft started out in Mound, Minnesota with three men, Lynn Baker, Avery Crounse, and Alvin Tesch. The first products produced were two versions of a metal tie-rack. Their original intent was to make garden implements, however, when their building’s former occupants, the Streater Company, attempted to market two metal toys and failed, the three men at Mound Metalcraft thought the metal toys would make a good addition to their other products.

Tonka Cement Truck circa 1972


After some modifications to the design by Alvin Tesch and the addition of a new logo created by Erling Eklof with the Dakota-Sioux word “Tonka”, which means “Great” or “Big”, the company began selling metal toys. This soon became their primary business. On November 23, 1955, Mound Metalcraft changed its name to Tonka Toys Incorporated, the logo was an oval, showing the Tonka Toys name in red above some waves, possibly in recognition of the nearby Lake Minnetonka. The impact of the Tonka truck has been long lasting, especially the Mighty Dump Truck and the rest of the Mighty line of construction equipment toys introduced originally in 1964. The all-metal Tonka trucks sold worldwide and earned a reputation as being indestructible, the steel was incrementally replaced by plastic starting in the late 1980s. The company was purchased by Hasbro in 1991. Hasbro is an American multinational toy and boardgame company and one of the largest toy makers in the world. The corporate headquarters is located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA. The majority of its products are currently manufactured in East Asia. In 1923, Henry and Helal Hassenfeld (founded Hassenfeld Brothers) a textile remnant company in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Over the next two decades, the company expanded to produce pencil cases and school supplies. In the 1940s, Hassenfeld Brothers produced childrens doctor and nurse kits, its first toys. Hassenfeld Brothers’ first toy hit was the famous Mr. Potato Head, which the company purchased from inventor George Lerner in 1952. The toy was a smash success. Then in 1964, Hassenfeld Brothers produced G.I. Joe, which they termed an “action figure” in order to market the toy to boys. The company shortened its name to Hasbro Industries in 1968. The company’s promotional efforts included the catchphrase “Boy Oh Boy! It’s A Hasbro Toy!” in television commercials and prints ads. In 1983 Hasbro produced another successful toy line, My Little Pony. The company acquired Milton Bradley in 1984, bringing with it; The Game of Life, Candy Land, Twister, Chutes and Ladders and Yahtzee, and found continued success in 1984 with the release of the first Transformers toys. In 1985 CBS Toys was purchased and in 1986 Playskool was acquired, which had purchased Mr. Potato Head from Hasbro that year. Parker Brothers was purchased by Hasbro in 1991, including Monopoly, the most successful commercial board game ever.

Metal Tonka Truck
Metal Tonka Truck

Tonka Toy Trucks 1970s TV Commercials

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