Note: This feature was printed in the June TT&C 2011 issue.
This Matchbox 1927 Talbot van for Taystee old-fashioned enriched bread was produced in 1978.
This 1950s paper Wards bread truck promotional toy, complete with three loaves of bread, is 4 inches long and in very good condition, making it a rare collector’s dream.
A pre-1960 tin lithograph bread truck made in Japan has been well used but is still a very pretty truck.
Jewel Tea Co. bread truck was manufactured by Banner Toys in the 1950s; it was given away as a premium and is rare.
Bread company delivery trucks used to be as common in America as a police officer walking a beat. But both are gone today. And while there were some differences between companies, the majority of bread delivery trucks accomplished the same goal.
One such company was Helms Bakery of Culver City, Calif. The Helms motto was Daily at Your Door, and every weekday morning, from both the Culver City facility and a second Helms Bakery site in Montebello, dozens of Helms panel trucks, painted in a unique two-tone scheme, would leave the bakery for various parts of the Los Angeles Basin, some going as far as the eastern San Gabriel Valley.
Each truck would travel through its assigned neighborhoods, with the driver periodically pulling (twice) on a large handle, which sounded a distinctive whistle or stop at a house where a Helms sign was displayed. Customers would come out and wave the truck down or sometimes chase the trucks to adjacent streets. Wooden drawers in the back of the truck were stocked with fresh donuts, cookies, pastries and candies, while the center section of the truck carried dozens of loaves of freshly baked bread. Products often reached the buyers still warm from the oven.
However popular, the Helms method of neighborhood delivery was doomed, both by the expense of sending trucks hundreds of miles each week and by the advent of the supermarket, which stocked products from other (less expensive) bakeries that delivered once or twice each week. Helms Bakery ceased operations in 1969.
Fresh-baked bread is no longer delivered to neighborhood doors, except in the movies and on die-cast collectors’ model displays.
Even die-cast collectors have a difficult time finding a sufficient number of die-cast bread trucks or vans to call a collection. Regardless of how many bread and bakery companies sent daily delivery trucks out to neighborhoods, very few of these trucks are immortalized in die-cast vehicles today.
Many bread truck collectors solve this problem by collecting any toy bread truck found, including ones made of tin, paper, plastic, cast iron and die-cast. But, for modeling displays, die-cast remains the sought-after bread truck.
Matchbox Toys, especially for displays, led the way in die-cast toy truck collecting for years; however, Matchbox offers only a few bread trucks in its vast lines, and they included Lesney Toys and Dinky Toys.
One Matchbox Models of Yesteryear die-cast toy bread truck to look for is the 1927 Talbot van for Taystee old-fashioned enriched bread. Manufactured in 1978, this truck is hot, selling for as much as $40, mint in box
More photos available in the June TT&C 2011 magazine. Call (701) 883-5206 to purchase.
To read the rest of this story, call (701) 883-5206 or 1-800-533-8293 to order the June TT&C 2011 issue.
Other features included in the June. 2011 issue:
• Scenes from the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference
• The Bailey Collection, Food and Grocery Trucks
• Refuse Trucks, Dairy Trucks and Ski Chairs
• How Low Can You Go?