Note: This feature was printed in the Dec. TT&C 2011 issue.
Dave Reed holding an International service truck.
Shelving units for Dave’s collection fill several rooms. The Tonkas scrunch together above years-gone-by models.
Tru-Scale trucks are prominent on the shelves in Dave’s dungeon. Included on the shelf is the International Harvester hauler.
Rossmoyne American LaFrance fire truck, 1953 or ’54.
More photos available in the Dec. TT&C 2011 magazine. Call (701) 883-5206 to purchase.
Dave Reed is a collector. Over the years, he has accumulated pottery, crocks, old books, model cars, toy construction equipment and every Minnesota license plate ever issued for a car. They are joined by a collection of toy trucks that fills several rooms.
He spent his life running a welding supply company that eventually had branches all over the central part of Minnesota. Since he ran approximately 25 real trucks during this time and did a lot of business with construction companies, he knows when toy trucks are authentic and when they’re not. So he especially likes the toy trucks built approximately between 1946 and 1965.
“In 1945, I was about 8 years old,” he explained. “During World War II, there were no toys being made other than what my dad would make out of peach crates. But after the war, the toy manufacturers got done building their defense items and went back to toys, and they put a lot of energy into them. They were very play-active—they would steer, they would dump, they had a lot of hydraulics, like the real ones.”
He proves this point by demonstrating his Metalcraft trucks. The ones with the trailers advertising Rice Flakes and Heinz products have lights that turn on. His big Tru-Scale International Harvester hauler came with steering controls. A little instruction sheet showed how you could put a little pressure on top of the cab to make the wheels turn.
His Doepke fire truck has real Goodyear tires, scaled to the exact size of the real ones, with identical treads. The wheels are exact replicas of steel hubs, the extension ladders go up with a turn of a crank, the pump sprays real water and the siren screeches authentically.
He explained further the effort that was put into making authentic toys: “For example, Tonka trucks looked like Fords, and Tonka changed them every year as the real ones changed. They would have a wraparound windshield they didn’t have the year before to keep up with the actual truck. Rather than single headlights on each side, in 1958 and ’59, real trucks went to high beam and low beam with two headlights on each side and so did the toys. Tru-Scale made all IH trucks that are absolutely picture-perfect models of the real ones.
“The IH pickups were exact replicas of real IH pickups, which they no longer make. Doepke made mostly model construction equipment, but they were exact replicas of a Woolridge, of a unit crane, of a Jaeger cement mixer or a CAT D-6, and they made them in complete detail with everything working.”
To read the rest of this story, call (701) 883-5206 or 1-800-533-8293 to order the Dec. TT&C 2011 issue.
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