Hobbyist Forums banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
26,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Founded in 1945, by Fred Ertl Jr, the Ertl Company was originally located in Dubuque, Iowa. Fred Ertl Jr had immigrated from Germany to Dubuque in the 1920s. He had worked as a iron molder for the Adams Company at first, but following a labor strike, in 1945, he founded his own company. They began making toy tractors from an aluminum alloy. Ertl and his sons, traveled from store to store selling their cars to them and other five-and-dimes to gain traction in an industry they eventually helped shape. They later moved to Dyersville, Iowa and made model vehicles until the early 1980s. They are best known for making farm vehicles and equipment.

In the 1970s, they began their "Miniatures of the World" diecast car line. By the 1980s, this line had evolved into the "Replica Series". Models ranged from vintage to modern day American cars. Along with Japanese and British sport cars. Their blister cards were intended to be used as trading cars among collectors. They depicted the included vehicle and gave related specifications about them. Models from this seies were also available as "Street Rods" and "Fun Truckin'" releases.

Around 1980, it is thought that Ertl had a contractual arrangement with Peter Lin, who owned Lintoys, in Hong Kong to make Ertl modes. Ertl castings could be found in some LinToy packages in certain markets. These were identical in color scheme to those offered by Ertl in their "Miniatures of the World" series, but had the Lintoy name and 'Made in Hong Kong' on their bases.

Ertl also issued many movie and TV related series. Such as - "Blade Runner", the "Mail Van" model from "Postman Pat" (a British animated tv series), and "James' Car" from the James Bond Jr cartoon series. Other series included "Die-Cast Tractor", "Super Stocker" (2) packs, and NASCAR stock cars. A friction pull back series was called "Pow-R Pull". Their Big Farm series was done in 1:16 scale and featured lights and sounds play action.

In the early 1980s, Ertl had became a part of Walter Kidde and Co (a fire safety company), with production moving first to Hong Kong and then to Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and eventually China.

In the mid 1980s, Ertl made a promotional set for Hardee's that included a pickup truck, trailer and a 1980s Road Runner (Trans AM). The base plate of the casting identifies it as the "Hardee's Road Runner".

In the 1990s (?), Ertl also began production in Mexico and began laying off employees at the original Ertl factory. The factory then became a distribution facility and outlet store. And later the home of the National Farm Toy Museum. (?)

In the early 1990s, a novelty series was issued with a comic strip that was viewable inside the car called "Speed Stips". A seperate viewer was required that attached to the car's base to see the comic strip. Nutmeg Collectibles was also using some Ertl castings to make sprint and modified race cars from. This relationship ended in 1994 with Parlor City Toys took over this custom production line, but was began again in 2003 when Dave's Racing Collectibles picked up the line from Parlor City.

Through the 1990s, they continued to produce more movie and tv related series along with a line of NASCAR race cars. They made some of the exclusive NASCAR vehicles available in the exclusive NASCAR club "Start Your Engines" offerings.

In the mid 1990s, Britains Petite was aquired by Ertl.

In the late 1990s, Ertl launched their "American Muscle" series.

In 2000, Ertl merged with Racing Champions and became known as RCErtl which later became known as RC2 Brands.

When Tomy aquired these brands in 2011, most vehicle castings were moved to the Johnny Lightning line and Ertl began producing farm vehicles and related equipment exclusively.


Known Ertl Series

Ertl Collectibles - vehicle banks and aircraft
Ertl American Muscle
Ertl Big Farm Series
Ertl Mighty Movers - construction equipment & tractor trailers
Ertl Replica Series
European Classics
Body Shop
Early Muscle
Ford Legends Series #1
Grandes Marques
Speed Strips
Ertl 1/18 Scale
2001 American Muscle
Vintage Vehicles
Heritage Precisions - Farm Vehicles & Equipment



Sourced references -
Member input - @jonnyGURU
Ertl | hobbyDB
Fred Ertl Sr. | hobbyDB
Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers - Sahakangas, Foster & Weber (2006)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
26,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Today, I updated the brand association histories with Ertl and provided thread links to other history threads here at HobbyTalk. The Walter Kidde ownership notation is the same fire safety equipment company still active today. This is not unusual; since several other food companes, TV studios and movie production companies -among other types of businesses have also owned various other diecast makers at various points of their individual production history. :cheers2:


https://www.kidde.com/home-safety/en/us/about/history/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
It should also be noted that since Tomy bought RC2, that they moved all of the Ertl car toolings over under the Johnny Lightning brand and made Ertl into an exclusively tractor toy company.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
26,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your input! I updated the history per your comments and added you to the resource listings.

I do have a question about the ERTL pickup trucks that have been available at Tractor Supply Company locations in the past decade.

Over time the tags on them have changed from ERTL to ERTL/Tomy. I know the available truck models have changed over time as well. Did these begin as an ERTL produced casting line or migrate from another brand aquired with RC2?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
26,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I've also noted that some John Deere tractors (I believe as an ERTL product) has been available at Wal Marts recently. I will have to check to make sure about them being still an ERTL/Tomy product.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Well, ALL Ertl now is branded Ertl/Tomy. But the only thing now under the Ertl brand is tractors and some trucks like some Peterbilt dump trucks, etc. Everything else got moved over to Johnny Lightning.

Good example is the Dukes of Hazzard toys. Original Ertl, even during RC2 years. Post Tomy are now branded Johnny Lightning. Exact same toolings.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top