Structo Mfg. Co. Freeport, Illinois 1915 to 1975
Founder: Louis and Edward Strohacker and C.C. Thompson.
Many toy collecting publications and Structo Company literature state that Structo, originally named Thompson, began producing toys as early as 1908. This was highlighted in 1958, with the production of the 1958 limited edition gold-plated Cadillac and Structo advertising proclaiming the celebration of “50 Years of Progress Producing Quality Toys”. Structo was purchased by Ertl in 1975.
The earliest Structo’s toy making can be traced is 1915 with the production of its structural “model building sets” which designs were sold to British toy maker, Meccano in 1918. These builder sets were eventually marketed in the United States as “Erector Sets” by A.C. Gilbert – now a household name.
By late 1918 and early 1919, Structo had all but abandoned the production of these building sets and had launched a new and revolutionary line of “Auto-Builder Outfits”, which included a limited but very impressive selection of automobiles, trucks and tractors, and were printing ads for these toys. By late 1920 and into 1921, these models and a few new ones were also being offered in a factory assembled “Ready Built” line.
The toys were large, heavy, detailed and could take what not only its original owner could dish out but their children and in some cases, grandchildren.
This decade began with a number of Structo’s now much sought after “Auto Builder” and “Ready Built” outfits. This line, featured either single or triple spring wind-up motors, included three automobiles, two trucks, a tractor, a tank, a crawler and the now hard to find Yuba Tractor- one of the most coveted models in any Structo toy collection.
For the next 55 years, Structo continued to be innovators in the toy making industry, introducing a nice selection of pressed steel construction toys, including lift and grab bucket cranes, clam shell diggers, steam shovels.