Note: This column is in the April TT&C 2020 issue.
Fred explained the early history of the company: Matt Miller, beginning in 1944, hand-made wooden toy trucks for sale, because the war effort demanded all metal had to be used for war purposes. As metal became available, Miller incorporated metal into his wooden trucks. Some of these early Miller toy trucks are still, occasionally, offered for sale.
Bob Smith and Matt Miller became neighbors following World War II, and the two friends founded Smith-Miller Toy Company. Miller contacted Harvel Die Casting, asking if Harvel could manufacture toy trucks in approximately 1/16 scale. One of the first trucks that Harvel manufactured for Miller was the Smith-Miller fire truck, whose initial manufacturing cost was approximately $60,000, in 1949 dollars, including die tooling, setup costs and other manufacturing equipment costs.