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toy automobile

The maker of Buddy L toys did not start out with the intention of making toy vehicles. Fred Lundahl's Moline Pressed Steel Company in Moline, Illinois, used its heavy-gauge steel to make automobile parts for Detroit car companies. Lundahl took some of the scrap metal from his company to make toy vehicles for his own son. When Buddy's friends clamored for vehicles of their own, Fred's firm began making outsized cars, fire engines, construction equipment, delivery trucks, and trains in metal sturdy enough to bear the weight of an adult. The line of toys, first available in 1921, withstood rough, outdoor play, and more kids clamored for Buddy Ls. The durability of Buddy L toys led to their success, but their popularity also came from their many moving parts, and in some cases, from intricate features such as hydraulics that actually worked. By 1930 Buddy L vehicles used a lighter steel; and during the years of the 1940s when the war effort took the country's available metal, the company produced toy cars and trucks made of wood. Though smaller and made with more plastic than the first models of the 1920s and 1930s, Buddy L vehicles remain in production to this day.

  • Manufacturer: Moline Pressed Steel Co.
  • Material: pressed steel
  • Origin: East Moline, IL
  • Object ID: 76.103
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