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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Tootsietoy can trace it begins to two distinct diecasting companies of Dowst Brothers and Shure Brothers, both were established in Chicago, at near the same time, in the 1890s. The Tootsietoy brand name has its origins in a range of miniature cars cast - in the form of charms, pins, cuff links, etc that were introduced around 1901 by the Cosmo Company, which was owned by the Shure Bros.

The 'Tootsie' name seems to have came from one of the Dowst Brothers' granddaughters though. Her nick name was "Toots". Early use of this name as a brand name appears to have just been as "Tootsie" toys. With the combined use as Tootsietoy not being registered as a trade mark until March 1924.

The Shure Bros. had bought out the Dowst Brothers in 1926. The company name though remained as the Dowst Manufacturing Co. And, the Tootsietoy name began to be cast into their companies model production vehicles in 1926 and 1927. Based on this history and being originally founded in Chicago as well, this USA based company is believed to be the oldest existing diecast manufacturer in the USA to date.

Dowst's first production diecast vehicles are believed to be a closed body limousine in 1909 and an open touring car Model T in 1915.

In the 1920s, Dowst was also making trains, cars, trucks, military vehicles, and aircraft vehicles. They also made pistols and a variety of other toys Including diecast accessories and ship models. The ships rolled on wheel sets similar to railroad car wheel sets. They are also know for making several of the Monopoly board game pieces and Cracker Jack metal prizes.

Their first offerings as Tootsietoy were crudely cast bodies with 4 posts extending down from inside the inner body to support the front and rear wheel axles.

During the 1920s, they started producing specific Ford and Chevrolet models. These castings were bigger than the previous models, approaching the 3" scale size.


In the 1930s, they issued their Graham and LaSalle series which are again - a little bit bigger in size than previous models and offered more model specific details.


From the 1950s and on to the 1960s, the 3" scale sizes remained most popular.


In 1960, Lonestar (USA) made castings in 1:50 scale - of then current to the era - American cars for Tootsietoys.

In 1961 Dowst/Tootsietoy purchased Strombeck-Becker, later shortened to just Strombecker. They primarily produced slot car models. But, some Stombecker-Tootsietoy identified diecast cars can also be found. During this time frame the "Hard Body" series was also introduced. These castings also had a plastic base and interior, but were now also being made in China. Dowst also had a factory located in Rockford, Illinois, but with no association is known with Midgetoy [ who also had a factory located there.

In the late 1960s, smaller versions of the existing castings called "Jam Pacs" were produced and remained in production until the mid 2000s.


In the mid 1970s, a line of 3" scale diecast were produced called "Tiny Toughs". These castings had more realistic body designs with plastic bases. They could also be found as "Little Toughs" on individual blister cards.


In 1996 and 1998, Tootsietoy provided several different castings as promotional offerings with Subway Sandwich Shops.


In 2006, Tootsietoy, was now owned by J. Lloyd International, Inc. They were still based in Chicago and making about 40 million cars per year.


Some series names used over their production history include -

General Motors Series (1927 to 1933)
Tootsietoy Graham Series (1933 to 1939)
1934/35 Ford Series (1934 to 1941
Classic Series
Jumbo Series
Planes Ships Trains
Tiny Toughs
Tootsietoy Accessories
Tootsietoy Collector Series
Tootsietoy Mack Trucks Series
Tootsietoy Midgets
Tootsietoy Playmates
Tootsietoy Toughs
Toughs
Hard Body (1990 to ?, Strombecket)



Referenced resources -

HobbyTalk members - @KarlS
Pre-War Tootsietoys - article by Clint Seeley
TootsieToy® America's Oldest Toy Company™
Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers - Sahakangas, Foster & Weber (2006)
Tootsietoy | hobbyDB
TootsieToy - Wikipedia
 
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