Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!
Before the rise of plastic toys, toy manufacturers made playthings using other materials, such as metal or wood. One such company used rubber to make their popular toys, and was situated here in Auburn: the Auburn Rubber Company.
The Auburn Rubber Company was organized in the 1920s out of what had once been the Double Fabric Tire Company, which had made tubes and tires for automobiles. In the early 1930s, they primarily produced industrial rubber parts, but that all changed in 1935, when the company’s principal stockholder, A. L. Murray, returned from England with a lead toy soldier.
The company figured out a way to create a similar toy using rubber, and, encouraged by the enthusiasm of various toy sellers, they began to produce a line of rubber soldiers. The toys were molded in rubber presses, trimmed, coated in lacquer, and then hand-painted by a few dozen women, who added in the details of faces, buttons, shoes, etc.
Many different toys were produced over the years, including wheeled automobiles, the first of which was a 1936 Cord. Many of these toys were sold in dime stores, sometimes in sets with themes like “farm” or “construction.”
In 1960, the Auburn Rubber Company moved its operations to Deming, New Mexico, as the town had purchased the company. The toys, which were popular in the ’40s through the ’60s, are very collectible.
Want to see more? Click here and search for “Auburn Rubber Company.”