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The “TIN-atious” Toy Company

In 1908, Henry Winzeler founded the Ohio Art Company, a manufacturing plant in Archbold, Ohio. This enterprise produced metal pictures frames and other novelty items.

The popularity of tin, inexpensively painted, frames grew his business rapidly thus forming the use of metal lithography equipment. This mass production process could easily and rapidly press metal into various shapes and sizes then paint a thin decorative pattern on the surface making the pieces extremely cost effective. Thousands of frames with various patterns became readily available to the rising consumer middle class. The company moved to Bryan, Ohio and by 1917 began toy production. After World War I, demand for tea sets, drums, moving animals, windmills, shovels, pails, dishes, farm sets, and any imaginable doll or toy household item further pushed the toy manufacturer into a very lucrative business. Surviving the Great Depression, making toy trucks, guns, cars and other toy items, the company joined the War effort in 1942 and manufactured defense components, tent poles and airplane parts. As the interest in metal toys diminished, the Ohio Art Company diversified and produced the Etch A Sketch in 1960. The company survives today as a leading producer of lithographic components and still creates the iconic toys from metal stamping processing. Sources available upon request.

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