Tonka Toys 1958 …designed for Child Development Catalogue

This 1948 catalog followed the rebranding of Mound, Minnesota-based Mound Metalcraft to Tonka Toys Inc. — a shout-out to the company’s proximity to nearby Lake Minnetonka. The catalogue featured the company’s small-scale metal toy vehicles.

In addition to showcasing a variety trucks, farm equipment, and construction vehicles, the 12-page compilation also featured Tonka Toys’ original logo: three birds flying over water. The number three is significant because it represented the three founders: Lynn Baker, Avery Crounse, and Al Tesch.

The last page of the catalogue outlined four general specifications used in the manufacturing process, principles that would continue to be followed as the brand grew and toy lines were expanded:

  1. Tonka used “real truck paint” in its models, and specifically Dupont “Dulux” vehicle enamel, which was durable and non-toxic.
  2. Vehicles were built from heavy-gauge steel or a combination of steel and heavy-gauge aluminum, which made them durable for long-term play.
  3. Each vehicle’s styling included realistic parts, such as grills, bumpers, wheel discs, plated in a Chromate finish.
  4. Designs were to scale and included features such as dual headlights, wrap-around windshields, and unique cab designs.

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