Tonka's first: 

#100 & #150 (1947)

Mound Metalcraft


No 100: Steam Shovel (1st half 1947)


No 100: Steam Shovel (2nd half 1947)

No 150: Crane & Clam (first half 1947)

Streater and Mound Metalcraft

Source: "Tonka", Dennis David, Lloyd Laumann 2004. / website: /Sandy's vintage Tonka's website:

The toy that was the inspiration. The toy featured here is a Steam Shovel, made by the L.E. Streater Industries, Inc. in 1946. This Steam Shovel was unveiled at the New York Toy Fair in early 1946 to rather cold reviews. However, Streater must have really believed in his concept and presented it to Mound Metalcraft to entice them into purchasing Streater's tooling. Must have worked. Mound Metalcraft was soon in the toy business manufacturing their first toy, the #100 Steam Shovel.

It should be noted that this steel version of the steam shovel was not Streater's first forray into toy manufacturing. Streater had been producing wooden vehicles prior to the end of WWII.

How many of these 1946 Streater metal Steam Shovels exist? Were they just prototypes or manufactured and sold by Streater before selling the tooling to Mound Metalcraft?. 

(Information and photo's have been found on: & Sandy's vintage Tonka's website)

Look at 'true stories' to find out how we discoverd that a member of the TonkaClub had all along one of the oldest wooden Streater Steam Shovels in his possession without knowing.



All photograps concerning the Streater Toys came form and 




The very first Tonka's

#100 and #150

Source: "Tonka", Dennis David, Lloyd Laumann 2004. 

Mound Metalcraft's first step into toys:

Mound Metalcraft's first Tonka Toy, the no. 100 Steam Shovel, was manufactured in two different color combinations for 1947. For the first few months, Tonka chose to continue with Streaters Industry's colors of a black chasis with a red cab and a blue bucket and boom. David and Laumann continue in their book mentioning that several months later, Mound Metalcraft changed the Steam Shovel to a red chasis, cab and boom with a blue bucket and bucket arm. This change was made due to limited painting capacity and consumer input. But, it looks like they refer to the Steam Shovel #50. (beneath)


My own experience are that Mound Metalcraft indeed continue the Streater design and colors in the very beginning before the cab became something between red and orange and a black bucket and boom. The color of the cap has a slight resemblance to the Allied Van Lines truck. It has been said that Ford had been painting his own trucks bright orange, simply because it was the least expensive paint he could find in his native Omaha. If this has been a reason for Mound Metalcraft to use (dark) orange, I don't know.

How to recognize a Steam Shovel #100.

The cab of the shovel had two oblong-shaped window openings in the front and no side cab openings. The Tonka logo appeared at the first issued #100 only on the right side and in the 2nd half of 1947 on the center of each side panel on the Steam Shovel's cab. These logo's/decalls are much (almost a third)  bigger than the ones on the #50 and on. The shovel measures 16 inches long, 7,5 inches  high and 5 inches wide. But this is not all. A very destinctive difference can be found at the wheels. The black rubber tires in the 1947 / 1948 models are slightly bigger than the ones at the later Steam Shovel #50 from 1949. Beside being a little bigger, the Streater wheels were used on which there is some kind of profile visible. Finaly a very destictive difference with later Steam Shovels is that the chasis has a rounded end. The #100 is practical identical to the Streater Steam Shovel design. The only difference is the place of the decall (from rear to the side panels). 

The Tonka Crane & Clam #150

The second toy, the No. 150 Crane & Clam was introduced around the same time as the Steam Shovel. The 150 used the same chasis and cab as the 100, but the crane boom and clam bucket were added. The early no 150 had a black chasis and boom with a yellow cab and bucket. No 150 models that came out in the late 1947 had a plated bucket. (Yes I'm lucky). There are two control cranks on the right side of the cab. The upper crank controlled the up-and-down movement of the boom, while the lower crank raised and lowered the clam bucket. A spring-loaded lever on the side openend and closed the clam bucket. This technique has been refined and can also been found (with the same type of bucket) on the Aerial Sand Loader set 800-5. The no. 150 Crane and Clam measures 26 inches long, 7,5 inches tall and 5 inches wide.

According to company records about 37.000 Steam Shovel and Crane & Clam units were build in 1947 and at least the same amount for 1948. 

Did they use wood? Yes they did!

The #100 and #150 from the early days were not entirely mad out of plated steel. The wheels were made of pressed wooden fibers, painted black. No rubber! 

Within the #100-boom wooded parts were used for guidence.

The #150 had within the cab a star shaped radar to help raising or lowering the boom. This produces those 'clicks'. After a while this has been replaced by a metal version.