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

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

The Shure Bros. bought Dowst in 1926. The company name, though, remained Dowst Manufacturing Co. And, the Tootsietoy name began to be cast into their combined company model production vehicles in 1926 and 1927. 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 first diecast vehicles are believed to be a closed body limousine in 1909 and an opening 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 similiar 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 crudly cast bodies with 4 posts extending down from inside the body to support the front and rear axles.

In 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.

Into the 1950s and 1960s, the 3" scale sizes remained popular.

In the late 1950s, smaller versions of the existing castings called "Jam Pacs" were produced and remained in production until the mid 2000s.

In 1960, they made castings for Tootsietoy in 1:50 scale.of current to the era American cars.

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

In 1961 Dowst/Tootsietoy purchased Strombeck-Becker, later shortened to Strombecker. This company primarily produced slot car models. But, some Stombecker-Tootsietoy diecast cars can also be found. During this time frame the "Hard Body" series was introcuced. 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 with Midgetoy who also had a factory located there.

In 2006, Tootsietoy, was 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 histoy

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
Hard Body (1990 to ?, Strombecket)

Referenced resources -

HobbyTalk members - @KarlS
TootsieToy® America's Oldest Toy Company™
Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers - Sahakangas, Foster & Weber (2006)
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