Note: This feature is in the October TT&C 2021 issue.
Gerhard Klarwasser traversed across the world and had a successful career before starting a business, overcoming many challenges along the way. After becoming a distributor of die-cast car and truck models, he became aware of a void in the market for American fire truck models, and decided to produce his own line of die-cast fire trucks under the Ashton Models name.
Starting in Germany
Born and raised in Leipzig, Germany, Gerhard was part of a loving family, but had a challenging childhood. After World War II, living in what was then East Germany was not easy.
“It was a terrible time,” Gerhard says. “Starvation was widespread, electrical outages were common, coal was rationed so heat was a problem, and there were very few toys.”
Gerhard says the family received care packages from relatives in the United States. “These care packages included food we could not buy in stores, and these packages would bring a little enjoyment when they arrived. This is how I tasted peanut butter for the first time,” he shares.