|Welcome to a visual history of the Metalcraft Corporation of St. Louis. Below, you will find photos of rare and common Metalcraft toy trucks, airplanes and prototypes!|
*Updated May 2020
- Most folks know of the Metalcraft Corporation of Saint Louis by their Spirit of St. Louis Airplane toy kit or the famous Coca-Cola trucks which held miniature glass bottles, but Metalcraft had roots starting in 1922.
The famous advertising trucks started production in January of 1931.
Photo copyright Andrew Tolch Collection
Metalcrafts were even sold in the Toy Shop inside the Cincinnati Train Station.
(Photo courtesy of "Cincinnati Union Terminal" published by the Cincinnati Railroad Club, Inc)
This is how that same storefront
at the Cincinnati Train Station looks today; with the help of an older worker we found the 1930's toy/gift shop location by tracing the original colored tiles on the floor, which designated storefronts within the station.
(The wall to the right in the 1930's photos, has since been removed and a window installed) This is the same train station that was the inspiration for Kenner and DC Comics 'Justice League' design.
A scarce, early Metalcraft PLAY-ONS Original Box.
The first-issue Metalcraft tow truck, circa
Jan. 1931, also made later in the year and possibly into 1932 in an orange and green color combo.
Metalcraft also made an early tow truck in 1931 that has a red body/frame and a plain green tow bed,
usually no advertising is found on them.
Holmes Bakery, another rare variation, I know of only two examples of this truck. It appears the small bakeries are the
rarest variations of Metalcraft advertising toys. In this same catagory is the Thomas & Clarke versions, with some conflicting family history but probably no more than 4 made, two express and two stake style trucks.
A variation of the Goodrich Tire Truck (wrecker). Commercial Tires on W. Madison Street.
Metalcraft Toy Ad, circa 1932.
Note that you could buy 4 spare Goodrich tires on a card!
Pure Oil Truck Box.
An original Metalcraft Toy Town Grocery Truck Box.
The Rare Metalcraft Robin Flyer
Building an original Metalcraft Zeppelin
Hardy's Salt truck being robbed at gunpoint, circa 1931
Rare White House Stores truck
-The green and red steam shovel that could have gone with the green and red Machinery Hauler.
This early shovel was most likely
the first steam shovel made and adveritised as being sold separately in 1931. No evidence yet that this shovel may have been sold in late 1930.
A Metalcraft Road building Set has been FOUND!
Metalcraft Spirit of St. Louis
What is it?
It is the Metalcraft Crayon that came in the large Spirit of St. Louis sets (usually missing or found used)
The Red Logo truck.
A rarer variation than the typical green. This truck appears to have come before the green version and has thicker wheels.
It most likely dates to the very early months of 1931.
Very rare Palmolive Art deco truck
Courtesy of the Greg Hostetler Collection.
Logo from the First Prize Albany Meats truck.
An Art deco version truck.
Two VERY RARE variations in the last series
of Art deco-style Metalcraft trucks.
'New England Stores'. It has dummy headlights and solid rubber wheels, this is the ONLY KNOWN example.
The very last year may provide some of the toughest Metalcraft trucks to find, with
limited production. The Manistee Salt Truck has less than 5 known examples.
The 'Red Bird Special'
also fits this style, but with different fonts. Less than 5 known examples.
Goodrich Prototype from the files of Al Korte, the designer.
Circa 1934. Never made, except for a partial prototype.
Two variations exsist of the PLEE-ZING Tow truck;
a short visor and a long visor version.
A rare and desirable Heinz variation, the fore-runner to the
more elaborate Heinz Pickle Truck with rubber tires.
Early Pleezing Tow truck, circa 1931-1932.
Rare blank side truck, probably sold at local dime stores and hardware
stores when an ad contract fell-through.
Although all variations without advertising on them are rare,
a few other color combos have popped up most using the color orange.
A hard to find TAG SOAP Steam shovel.
There is also a Forbes Coffee and a CW Coffee Steam shovel.
A rare truck, in a series that came out for Christmas 1931, in the Philadelphia area only. The wheels on the trucks from this series were painted.
As far as we know this is the only two-toned cab truck that Metalcraft made.
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Some possible variations that we have no photos of:
Buster Brown Art Deco Truck(?), Private Label Pure Oil Airplanes, Moll's Grocery Truck and a Red Diamond Coffee....the search continues....
Highest price paid for a Gold Bond Coffee, a WeatherBird Shoes, White's Bread (STL) or a Hardy's Salt Art deco truck!