Dayton History: Dayton Toys

The Gem City’s history of toys.

By Leo DeLuca

The airplane, cash register, starter-motor and numerous ubiquitous inventions were born in Dayton. But while the Gem City is widely recognized as a hub of innovation few people realize this creative spirit impacted the toy industry as well.

“Around 1910 Dayton started to become a toy hub,” says Dick Cummings, co-author of The History of Dayton Ohio Toymakers, “and by 1920 we were the nation’s largest producer of sheet-metal toys. The old cast iron toys would break and become useless. Sheet-metal would bend, but you could bend it back. They caught on like crazy.”