The Auburn Rubber Toy Company started its life in 1913 as the Double Fabric Tire Corp. In the 1920s, after the stock market crash, the company was losing sales and was doomed to fail, but with a little ingenuity and foresight managed to save the business by becoming a toy manufacturer and changing names.
While most companies were going under, the Auburn Rubber Toy Company managed to become the largest manufacturer of rubber and vinyl toys in the United States.
The original toys really started to take off in the 1930s with the introduction of a set of little toy soldiers. From here the company made some savvy choices in new models, adding a wide range of vehicles and animals to the line up. These toys became popular with many parents because they were much less expensive than any other toys on the market, and seeing as this was right after the worst of the great depression, people were looking for affordability.
The first rubber car created by Auburn was the 1938 Cord, which interesting enough happened to be a car that had been built locally and had tires supplied for by the Double Fabric Tire Corp. The actual vehicle was admired for its sleek design and innovative engineering, but unfortunately production was stalled because of shrinking demand for luxury type vehicles during the hard economic times. Other cars that were produced later include Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs, Fords and Plymouths as well as a great range of Indianapolis 500-style race cars. These toys became more detailed, brightly designed and realistic, and continued to light up the imagination of little children across the US.
Auburn also enjoyed success with a great range of trucks, tractors, airplanes and ships that were available in all sizes, colors and shapes. Besides the affordability, what also made these toys popular with parents were its durability, safety and cleanliness – these are toys that could do very little damage on floors or around the house.
In a time when other companies were falling by the wayside, the Auburn Rubber Toy Company managed to find success by carving out a niche for itself with completely unique, inexpensive toys. The popularity of these toys continues today, with collectors comparing their items and scrambling to get more. It’s really a testament to the great pleasure one can gain from a simple rubber toy. These are toys that have a nostalgic appeal, one that takes people back to their childhood filled with great imaginative wonders purchased for pennies.