The All American Toy Company: An Oregon Original

An early sand cast Timber Toter with the original rectangular logo and brass air horn for steering, 1947. Frank Barnett Photography.

September 10 – January 26, 2020

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Oregon Historical Society
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Portland, Oregon 97205
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For generations, the All American Toy Company has captured the interest of children and adults alike. Beginning in 1947 with its first release of the Timber Toter, a logging truck, the company’s lineup included a series of vehicles that represented expanding industries in Oregon, including dump trucks used in construction, cattle liners that transported the region’s livestock, fire trucks, and box vans, among others. Those toys, when viewed as cultural artifacts, are capable of illuminating Oregon history during a specific place and time.

All American Toy Company logo
All American Toy Company logo
The early All American Toy Company slogan was “All American Toys for the All American Boy,” coined by founder, Clay Steinke. Photograph by Homer Rue, All American Toy Company’s tool and die maker, 1954. Design by Barnett & Solomon.
The early All American Toy Company slogan was “All American Toys for the All American Boy,” coined by founder, Clay Steinke. Photograph by Homer Rue, All American Toy Company’s tool and die maker, 1954. Design by Barnett & Solomon.
Self-portrait by Homer Rue, All American Toy Company’s tool and die maker, standing at the lathe at All American Toy Company, ca. 1949.
Self-portrait by Homer Rue, All American Toy Company’s tool and die maker, standing at the lathe at All American Toy Company, ca. 1949.
An early sand cast Timber Toter with the original rectangular logo and brass air horn for steering, 1947. Frank Barnett Photography.
An early sand cast Timber Toter with the original rectangular logo and brass air horn for steering, 1947. Frank Barnett Photography.
A pristine die cast Timber Toter, discovered in an attic, still wrapped in faded Christmas paper, fifty-five years after it was intended as a gift for one of the two boys in the family. Frank Barnett Photography.
A pristine die cast Timber Toter, discovered in an attic, still wrapped in faded Christmas paper, fifty-five years after it was intended as a gift for one of the two boys in the family. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Silverton Centennial Parade, 1954, photographed by Homer Rue. Pulling his Timber Toter behind him, a young logger is joined by Davy Crockett, a baseball player, and a friend who admires his All American truck.
The Silverton Centennial Parade, 1954, photographed by Homer Rue. Pulling his Timber Toter behind him, a young logger is joined by Davy Crockett, a baseball player, and a friend who admires his All American truck.
Allan & Bob’s Pee Wee Wrecker, an early “customization” by its young owners. On the towing hook is a cab too far gone for restoration, bearing the scars from years of play. Frank Barnett Photography.
Allan & Bob’s Pee Wee Wrecker, an early “customization” by its young owners. On the towing hook is a cab too far gone for restoration, bearing the scars from years of play. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Dyna-Dump with its original box. Many collectors value the original boxes nearly as much as the trucks themselves. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Dyna-Dump with its original box. Many collectors value the original boxes nearly as much as the trucks themselves. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Timber Toter Jr. with its original load of dimension lumber sold for $14.95 in the early 1950s. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Timber Toter Jr. with its original load of dimension lumber sold for $14.95 in the early 1950s. Frank Barnett Photography.
Advertisement from the March, 1953, Playthings catalog promoting the company’s growing line of toy trucks – from the original Timber Toter to the new “You Ride-It” toy, the Cargo-Liner.
Advertisement from the March, 1953, Playthings catalog promoting the company’s growing line of toy trucks – from the original Timber Toter to the new “You Ride-It” toy, the Cargo-Liner.
The Founders’ Edition Timber Toter, issued as a limited edition model truck by Patrick Russell in 1992. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Founders’ Edition Timber Toter, issued as a limited edition model truck by Patrick Russell in 1992. Frank Barnett Photography.
Rocky dump truck with pup trailer and load of rocks. Loads of sand or gravel were also available. Frank Barnett Photography.
Rocky dump truck with pup trailer and load of rocks. Loads of sand or gravel were also available. Frank Barnett Photography.
The John Deere delivery flatbed truck, with the logo that would have been correct for the 1950s, issued in 1994. Frank Barnett Photography.
The John Deere delivery flatbed truck, with the logo that would have been correct for the 1950s, issued in 1994. Frank Barnett Photography.
The second Kenworth limited edition was an 18-wheeler, rounded-nose dry van. Frank Barnett Photography.
The second Kenworth limited edition was an 18-wheeler, rounded-nose dry van. Frank Barnett Photography.
Photographer Frank Barnett created this exploded view of the Kenworth cab and its component parts.
Photographer Frank Barnett created this exploded view of the Kenworth cab and its component parts.
The fiftieth anniversary of the founding of All American Toy Company was commemorated with Ole Blue in 1997. The tow truck featured a special logo on the side, and “Happy Hooker” was engraved on the boom. Frank Barnett Photography.
The fiftieth anniversary of the founding of All American Toy Company was commemorated with Ole Blue in 1997. The tow truck featured a special logo on the side, and “Happy Hooker” was engraved on the boom. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Kenworth limited edition dump truck featured a hydraulic cylinder on the frame, operated by pressing a lever located behind the cab, allowing the box to slowly rise into the dump position. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Kenworth limited edition dump truck featured a hydraulic cylinder on the frame, operated by pressing a lever located behind the cab, allowing the box to slowly rise into the dump position. Frank Barnett Photography.
Although Kenworth guards the use of its trademarks and logos closely, it authorized All American Toy Company to use the special logo it had designed to mark its 75th anniversary. Frank Barnett Photography.
Although Kenworth guards the use of its trademarks and logos closely, it authorized All American Toy Company to use the special logo it had designed to mark its 75th anniversary. Frank Barnett Photography.
The limited edition Water Toter was issued in the original green with yellow cab that characterized so many early All American Toy Company trucks. Frank Barnett Photography.
The limited edition Water Toter was issued in the original green with yellow cab that characterized so many early All American Toy Company trucks. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Kenworth 18 Wheeler Flatbed was available in two color schemes: solid burgundy or burgundy base with a sandstone metallic cab (shown here). Frank Barnett Photography.
The Kenworth 18 Wheeler Flatbed was available in two color schemes: solid burgundy or burgundy base with a sandstone metallic cab (shown here). Frank Barnett Photography.
Meier & Frank was a department store founded in Portland in 1857. Its first branch store was in Salem. Sixty of these beautiful box vans were issued as a limited edition in 2002. Frank Barnett Photography.
Meier & Frank was a department store founded in Portland in 1857. Its first branch store was in Salem. Sixty of these beautiful box vans were issued as a limited edition in 2002. Frank Barnett Photography.
Each truck in the army tanker edition had a unique serial number, beginning with 503 (the area code for Salem), AAT for All American Toy, and the number of the individual truck within the edition of one hundred. Frank Barnett Photography.
Each truck in the army tanker edition had a unique serial number, beginning with 503 (the area code for Salem), AAT for All American Toy, and the number of the individual truck within the edition of one hundred. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Timber Toter II, introduced in 2008, has a slightly longer frame to distinguish it from vintage trucks. It is also available as a kit for those who want to paint and accessorize it to their own design. Frank Barnett Photography.
The Timber Toter II, introduced in 2008, has a slightly longer frame to distinguish it from vintage trucks. It is also available as a kit for those who want to paint and accessorize it to their own design. Frank Barnett Photography.
The 65th Anniversary Timber Toter XHD was the last truck built by Patrick Russell featuring the Ford-inspired cab from the late 1940s. Frank Barnett Photography.
The 65th Anniversary Timber Toter XHD was the last truck built by Patrick Russell featuring the Ford-inspired cab from the late 1940s. Frank Barnett Photography.
All American Toy Company fire trucks were never issued as a limited edition. They could be personalized with the name of any fire department. Frank Barnett Photography.
All American Toy Company fire trucks were never issued as a limited edition. They could be personalized with the name of any fire department. Frank Barnett Photography.
A massive Texas polished aluminum bumper with amber running lights emphasizes the power and beauty of this Kenworth cab with its load of structural aluminum beams. Frank Barnett Photography.
A massive Texas polished aluminum bumper with amber running lights emphasizes the power and beauty of this Kenworth cab with its load of structural aluminum beams. Frank Barnett Photography.
Patrick Russell’s candy apple burgundy Kenworth is fitted with dual exhausts with turn-outs to keep the truck’s imaginary emissions from spoiling its cargo of apples, fresh from the All American Orchard. Frank Barnett Photography.
Patrick Russell’s candy apple burgundy Kenworth is fitted with dual exhausts with turn-outs to keep the truck’s imaginary emissions from spoiling its cargo of apples, fresh from the All American Orchard. Frank Barnett Photography.
Ted Bernklau of Tulsa, Oklahoma, built this U.S. Forestry fire truck using All American Toy Company parts and an old meatloaf pan discarded by his wife. Photographed by Wendla Lee.
Ted Bernklau of Tulsa, Oklahoma, built this U.S. Forestry fire truck using All American Toy Company parts and an old meatloaf pan discarded by his wife. Photographed by Wendla Lee.
Wayne Ford built only ten of these detailed self-loading log trucks. Many of the limited editions produced by Patrick Russell were based on Wayne Ford’s designs.
Wayne Ford built only ten of these detailed self-loading log trucks. Many of the limited editions produced by Patrick Russell were based on Wayne Ford’s designs.

In The All American Toy Company: An Oregon Original, rare documents, vintage photographs, and cast-aluminum toy trucks reveal the untold stories of children who formed lifelong attachments to the toys and the industries they represented.  The exhibit also displays exquisitely detailed 12:1 and 16:1 scale models produced in the late twentieth and early twenty-first-centuries — no longer toys but limited edition collectibles for adults.  

The exhibit is also the inspiration behind a forthcoming Oregon Historical Quarterly article that will debut in Fall 2019.