Thursday, July 25, 2013

Collecting -- and collecting information 12

With virtually no documentation about what Japanese toy manufacturers created during the postwar era, primary sources -- such as the pieces themselves -- have to tell the story. It is well-documented that Linemar was the Japanese subsidiary of the Louis Marx Company.

No matter where you lived in the country, the Santa Fe
warbonnet graphic was a familiar sight on toy trains.
While some Japanese manufacturers used real companies on their transportation toys, for the most part they seemed to like generic choices. Although there were exceptions.

Many tin toy trains were marked "Santa Fe," because the distinctive red-and-silver warbonnet livery was so striking.

Mobilgas and Shell show up frequently on Japanese tin toy gas trucks and toy train rolling stock. But those were international companies with a presence in Japan, and so would have been familiar to Japanese toy designers.

I first wondered if Linemar was creating specialized vehicles for promotional use -- or at least regional sales -- when I discovered their Potomac Electric Power Company(PEPCO) truck in the corporate colors (Collecting -- and collecting information 5). A recent purchase of a Bond Bread truck, also in prototypical colors seemed to confirm this idea.

It would be a simple thing for Marx to contact these companies (or be contacted by them) to create these promotional vehicles, and then have the work done in Japan for a fraction of the price it would cost Marx to produce them in the states. Here's a gallery of the Line Mar 3" vehicles that seem to fit this pattern. What do you think? (click on images to enlarge)

Linemar Coca-Cola Truck

Linemar RCA Service Van

Linemar NYC Fire Department

Linemar Bond Bread van
(Eastern Seaboard-based baking company)

Linemar General Electric Courier

Linemar Central Coke and Coal Co. Dump Truck
Kansas/Missouri-based coal company)

Linemar Potomac Electric Power Company Service Truck
(Washington, DC regional power company)

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