A Stately Collection of Farm Toys

Dale Swoboda's collection consists of rare and original farm toys from Wisconsin companies.


| February 2003



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A Lauson toy tractor

Dale Swoboda of Two Rivers, Wis., knows more than the average collector about Wisconsin farm toy companies. 'When I was a kid growing up on a farm in Kewaunee County, I collected farm toys, but I never paid that much attention to where a lot of them were coming from,' Dale says. 'After I went to my first toy show in 1978, I started looking at where these models were being made.'

He began by reading a couple of books on toys by Ray Crilley and Chuck Burkholder. 'They had the toys and the names of the companies that made them, and then I started realizing, 'My gosh, there are a lot of Wisconsin farm toy makers - especially in plastic,'' Dale says.

The Product Miniature Corp. of Pewaukee, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee, made a Farmall M, Ford 8N, Ford Jubilee, Ford 900, some crawlers and IH trucks all out of plastic. Nowadays, the factory still makes plastic products - but not toys -and Product Miniature toys command a high price on the toy market.

Another small firm, the American Precision Co. of Milwaukee, made models of the Allis-Chalmers C and an Allis-Chalmers plow that was sold with it, as well as a disk and a harrow.

Kaysun Corp. of Manitowoc, Wis., on the other hand, was a prolific plastic toy maker in the 1950s and 1960s. Its most popular model was the Allis-Chalmers D-14. Four varieties of the toy were packaged and marketed: a fully-assembled toy tractor or kit through Allis-Chalmers dealers, another different kit in dime stores, and yet another kit through a cereal box-top offer. 'This D-14 series tractor was made in the 1960s, and you could send in a quarter and some certain cereal box-top - I can't for the life of me remember what brand it was, but I'm working on it - and you'd get the model sent to you free so you could put it together,' Dale says. 'Most people call the kits 'Strombecker' toys, because that's who distributed them, but they were actually Kaysun toys.'

Kaysun is still in business, Dale says, but it's not making farm toys. Some of its models are on display at its corporate offices, however, and if you turn them over and look, on the front axle is printed 'Kaysun, Manitowoc, Wisconsin.'