Tru-Scale Farm Machinery, Tin Toy.

  • $119.99 CAD

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Tru-Scale Farm Machinery, Tin Toy.

During a 1945 strike, Ertl was laid off from his job as a moulder at a Dubuque, Iowa, foundry. With a wife and five children to support, he desperately needed a job. What he got was that and more, when the entire farm toy hobby fell into his lap.

It began with Fred Ertl’s son’s cast iron Arcade John Deere Model A toy tractor. When Joe broke the piece, it was up to Dad to fix it. After a bit of tinkering, Ertl figured the toy was not repairable. Instead, he decided to make his son a reproduction of the Model A.

Ertl enjoyed the process and wondered if he could make toys to sell. That would help bring in some income until the strike ended. So, he created sand moulds of three Arcade farm toys. Using his home furnace, he melted aluminum and poured the molten metal into sand molds of a trio of Arcade farm toys: a John Deere A, Allis-Chalmers WC and International Harvester H. After the metal poured into the moulds cooled and set, Ertl’s children assembled the pieces into tractors, and his wife painted them.

The concept wasn’t unique, but the metal Ertl used was. Up to that time, farm toys were almost exclusively made of cast iron. However, World War II-era restrictions limited the availability of iron for civilian purposes.

But even if iron had been available, Ertl probably wouldn’t have used it. The melting point of iron is 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit; aluminium’s is less than half that at 1,220 degrees Fahrenheit. He would have known that coal-based fires generate temperatures of 1,160 to 1,880 degrees Fahrenheit. That meant he could melt aluminium in his home furnace, but not iron.

As luck would have it, one of Ertl’s neighbours was a buyer for Roshek’s Department Store in Dubuque. When he saw Ertl’s reproduction tractors, he said he would take all Ertl could make, giving birth to a farm toy empire.

Item Code - TOY7B152BAG

Width: 13 1/4"  Height: 5"  Depth: 7 5/8"  Weight: 909 g


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