BUDDY 'L' TOYS BRING BIG BUCKS AT BERTOIA
"Tugboat;" red overall; railed cabin; decal on funnel; searchlight on pilots house; possibly the last survivor; 27 1/2 inches long; $30,800. Photo courtesy of Bertoia Auctions How do you create a nation of automobile owners? Simple. You make toy cars for kids with moving parts and you wait for them to grow up.
The maker of the highly collectible Buddy “L” toy cars and trucks did just that in the 1921. The Moline Pressed Steel Company in East Moline, Ill., started out making regular automobile fenders and truck parts.
Then they branched out to sturdy toy trucks, cars, steam shovels, tugboats, passenger buses, ambulances and moving vans that had real working parts. I tried everything to paste the picture but to no avail so here is the link
These incredibly fun vehicles became a rite of passage for the next generation of car and truck buyers.
Like a lot of inventions the Buddy “L” line started out simple. The company’s owner, Fred Lundhal, wanted to build a toy for his son Arthur that was new, unusual and tough.
He came up with an all-steel miniature truck, reportedly a model of an International Harvester. The kids in the neighborhood so loved Arthur’s truck they convinced their parents to have Lundhal make similar ones for them.
Being the good hearted dad he was, Lundhal designed and made 3 all-steel sample toys under the name Buddy “L”. The name came from his son who was known to neighborhood kids as Buddy "L". It was the kids’ way of distinguishing his son from another Buddy in the neighborhood.
Pleased with the outcome, Lundhal took his toys to the 1922 New York Toy Fair and received halfhearted interest. Toy buyers liked the size and quality but balked at the price.
Never one to be discouraged, Lundhal went ahead and launched the first large American pressed-steel toys anyway. Buddy “L” was born.
The toy business was so strong in 1923 Moline Pressed Steel stopped making full-size auto parts and focused on toys. By 1925 the toy line expanded to 20 items, including fire engines, tanker trucks, lumber trucks, and overhead cranes.
By 1926, very detailed and functional construction toys were introduced, including some of the most popular Buddy “L” toys manufactured. In 1930 the company’s name changed to Buddy "L" Manufacturing Company and the toys became even more realistic.
Buddy "L" was the leader in the manufacture of large pressed-steel toys up until World War II. Steel was unavailable during the war so a line of wooden cars and trucks took their place. After the war, Buddy L continued making toys but it was never the same. Plastic toys were on the rise and would ultimately take the place of these old pressed-steel beauties.
Tugboat; red overall; railed cabin; decal on funnel; searchlight on pilots house; extremely rare; possibly the last survivor; 27 1/2 inches long; $30,800.
Hey thats just across the river from me