Stamped Metal Toys
Many of the classic toys produced from the 1920’s through the 1960’s, and even into current times, are stamped from metal. A stamped metal toy is formed using a die or dies, which shape and cut the metal into the appropriate form. The thicker the metal, the more powerful the press needed to do the stamping work. For example, most of the stamped steel trucks made by Louis Marx & Co in the thirties and forties were made using a 20-ton stamping press.
Stamped metal toys can be decorated in four ways: lithography, paint, decals, or stamped lettering. Lithographed toys are painted first, then stamped out on machines. Painted metal toys are formed first, then either dipped into paint or sprayed in spray booths. The painted toys can then either be further decorated by either applying decals or stickers to the toy to add lettering or logos, as is done with the current Tonka vehicles, or they can have their lettering rubber stamped on, as is done with some limited-edition toys currently made.
A few metal toys during the fifties were decorated in a unique way – they were chrome plated! This process was done in much the same fashion as car bumpers of the same era.