The Streater Connection | 1946 Model No. 100 Steam Shovel

The toy that was the inspiration. The No. 100 Steam Shovel, made by Streater Industries along with a Crane & Clam and the Streater line of wood coaster wagons and juvenile furniture items, were unveiled at the forty-fourth annual American Toy Fair held in New York City March 10 - 23, 1947. The complete February 13, 1947 column in the Minnetonka Pilot newspaper announcing E. C. Streater's intent to attend, can be read below. Streater Industries was truly looking forward to making their name known to the toy world and the business it would generate. However, according to R.L. (Dick) Streater, nephew of L.E. Streater "Edward's experience with the New York Toy Show and the people involved with it, turned him off the toy business and was the incentive to sell the business to Mound Metalcraft." In a November 22, 1953 interview with the Minneapolis Tribune, Lynn Baker stated "He was lunching one day with Edward Streater of Streater Industries and the latter mentioned his Mound plant was for sale." Streater Industries was located in the old three floor Mound High School building. Baker, Crounse and Tesch not only purchased the first manufacturing site for Mound Metalcraft and Tonka Toys, in a very short period of time, they also purchased the tooling for the Steam Shovel and Crane & Clam. Mound Metalcraft was soon in the toy business manufacturing their first toy, the #100 Steam Shovel.

Under the direction of Lewis Edward Streater, Streater Industries began life as a chain of rural retail lumber yards in Minnesota. Prior to WWII, under the leadership of L.E. Streater's son, Edward, the company began manufacturing kitchen cabinets and restaurant fixtures. It was a natural fit with the lumber business. WWII slowed the development of the fixture business as natural resources were being designated for the war effort. Edward, began to explore other business opportunities and with the lumber yards as a building block, was successful in garnering a government contract to make ammo boxes to support the war effort. Manufacturing ammo boxes generated scrap and sawdust. Being the visionary, Edward's creative mind pictured making wood toys out of these by-products at a time when steel was in short supply. In an email dated January 15, 2006, R. L (Dick) Streater wrote, "I remember as a kid that dad took me to the old school that was the birthplace of Tonka. Down in the basement, the old coal bins were filled with black tires made from sawdust with black pigment and binders added."

Following the sale of the toy tooling to Mound Metalcraft, Edward Streater began to formulate his action plan for taking the store fixture business to the next level....manufacturing and marketing a line of custom designed and installed, store specific retail store fixtures. Streater, Inc. is still in business today following through on Edward's vision. Thanks to R. L. "Dick" Streater for contributing historical supporting documentation for this page. January 16, 2006

1946 Streater Steam Shovel

1946 Streater Steam Shovel

Local Concern Plans Exhibit at World Toy Fair

Thursday, February 13, 1947 "Minnetonka Pilot" newspaper

Streater Industries, Incorporated has, according to E. C. Streater, President of the company, made final arrangements for participating in the forty-fourth annual American Toy Fair commencing March 10 in New York City. This Toy Fair will be the largest ever held.

L. M. MacDonald, President of the Toy Manufacturer's of the U. S. A., sponsor of the American Toy Fair, reports that over 8000 buyers attended the event last year and that a greater number is expected this year. Active buying in all types of lines is anticipated. The continued shortage of steel, the depletion of inventories of merchants and the increased demand created by the record birthrate during the past six years, point to annual sales in excess of the 1946 total of $250 million.

In line with the trend toward miniatures of the American way of life and for toys which are safe, durable, educational and enjoyable, Streater Industries, Incorporated will display its metal steam shovel, crane and clam and its line of coaster wagons together with several other toys and juvenile furniture items.

1946 Streater Decal

1946 Streater Decal as Displayed on
the Back of the Steam Shovel
Location of Streater Decal

Location of the Decal


Prior to exploring the potential of producing the all steel steam shovel pictured above, Streater Industries manufactured wood bodied replicas of the classic steam shovel of the era. The shovel featured below was manufactured in 1945, coincidently, the year of the webmaster's birth. Notice that the steel boom assembly is identical to the one on the steel bodied shovel featured above. Still looking for info as to the quantity manufactured.

The 1945 wood bodied shovel featured below was originally purchased by website contributor Fred Carlton. The shovel is in such pristine condition, Fred was initially concerned it was a reproduction but purchased it from a local antique dealer on a hunch. He immediately called Tonka historian Lloyd Laumann to confirm, if indeed, he had made the correct decision to purchase the shovel. Per Fred, "I commented to Lloyd that the lettering, which appears to be stenciled on, looks so homemade that I thought it must be a reproduction but he said that's the way it was done (stenciled by hand)."

Fred went on to say "Lloyd compared his original to mine and there were several key points that confirmed it was an original including the way the wood base of the cab is cut (notched) so the sides overlap, the use of a square headed stove bolt that attaches the cab to the base, the square nut on the bottom of the same bolt, the washer inside the cab to keep the string wrapping around the crank smoothly, the number of nail heads showing how the cab was attached to the top and base of the cab, etc." After occupying a place of honor in Fred's Tonka collection for a few years, the shovel was purchased by descendent E.C. Streater.

Note the original (dirty) white cotton heavy gauge string.

1945 Streater Wood Shovel
1945 Streater Wood Shovel

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