Founded by three brothers in Toronto in the 1920s, Reliable Toy Company grew from tiny toy producer to become the British Empire’s largest toymaker.
Founded in 1920 as Canadian Statuary and Novelty Company by brothers Alex, Ben, and Solomon Frank Samuels in Toronto, Canada. Renamed Reliable Toy Company in 1922.
The Samuels brothers produced plush toys, novelties, and dolls from a 500-square-foot space on Queen Street in Toronto.
The company quickly gained popularity for the dolls it assembled from elements imported from Germany and the United States.
As the company grew, the Samuels brothers purchased larger spaces allowing for the manufacture dolls and toys from all-original parts.
As plastics grew in popularity, the company invested in injection molding technology.
Cornering the Market
In 1933, Reliable Toy Company purchased Canadian doll making rival, Dominion Toy.
By 1935, Reliable Toy Company became the largest toy factory in the British Empire.
The company produced over 300 varieties of dolls and manufactured over one and a half million dolls in 1936.
In the early 1940s, Reliable Toy Company formed a partnership with the Government of Canada, leveraging their expertise in injection molding plastics to produce wartime supplies, including plastic bullet tips and gun accessories.
The company also gained attention for its plastic fighter jets based on real-life aircraft, such as the Avro Arrow and Avro CF-100.
In 1985, Reliable Toy Company was purchased by Allied Group.
The significance of Reliable Toy Company was commemorated in 2018 by Heritage Toronto with a plaque on an early Samuels’ factory location at 260 Carlaw Avenue in Toronto.
Original Reliable Toy Company dolls remain popular with collectors. Its Tousle Head (1933), Chubby (1935), Hairbow Peggy (1935), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (1936), Wetums (1939), and Clicquot Club Soda Eskimo (1939) dolls are coveted collectibles.
The Canadian Museum of History preserves the history of Reliable Toy Company in its collections.
Reliable Toy Company continues to manufacture toys through its parent company, Allied Group.