Buddy "L" toys are manufactured by the Moline Pressed Steel Company in East Moline, Illinois. The company was founded in 1910 by Fred A Lundhal and originally manufactured automobile fenders and other stamped auto body parts for the automobile industry. The company primarily supplied parts for the McCormack-Deering line of farm implements and the International Harvester Company for its trucks.
Moline Pressed Steel did not begin manufacturing toys until 1921. Mr. Lundhal wanted to make something new, different, and durable for his son Arthur. He designed and produced an all-steel miniature truck, reportedly a model of an International Harvester truck made from 18 and 20 guage steel which had been discarded to the company's scrap pile.
The other kids in the neighborhood loved the toy so much they got their parents to request that Mr. Lundhal make similar toys for them. The demand made Mr. Lundhal consider manufacturing toys for the toy trade. He designed and produced 3 samples of all steel toys under the name Buddy"L". The name Buddy "L" came from his son, Arthur, who was known in the neighborhood as Buddy "L", to distinguish him from another Buddy in the same neighborhood.
Mr. Lundhal took his samples to the 1922 New York Toy Fair and received a lukewarm reception. Toy buyers thought the prices were too high; however, the toys became noted for their size and quality and toy sales took off. Therefore, Lundhal went ahead and launched the first large American pressed-steel toys - Buddy L.
The toy business prospered so much that by 1923, Moline Pressed Steel stopped fabricating full-size auto parts in favor of toys. By 1925 the toy line expanded to 20 items, including fire engines, moving vans, tanker trucks, lumber trucks, overhead cranes and sand loaders.
In 1926, the fabulous "Outdoor Railroad" train appeared. It was soon followed by ice trucks, coal trucks, tug boats, airplanes and a bus. Highly detailed and functional construction toys were also introduced, including some of the most desirable Buddy L toys ever manufactured.
Buddy "L" Manufacturing Company
In 1930 the name of the company was changed to Buddy "L" Manufacturing Company. The toys underwent some improvements to make them more realistic. The Junior line of trucks and toys were introduced.
Buddy "L" continued as the leader of large pressed steel toys up until World War II. Because steel was unavailable at that time, a line of wooden cars and trucks was produced. After the war, Buddy L continued to manufacture toys; however, it was never the same as before as toy manufacturers began making plastic toys.
Buddy L links
Dave Richter-o'connell - January 31, 2015
Michael - October 16, 2014
Looking for the tailgate for 1923-1929 Buddy L dump truck with chain crank
►reply: Search for a tailgate here.
Bobby Crabtree - October 3, 2014
Anyone know where I can get the canvas top for a Buddy L Army Supply Corp truck. Replacement is fine. Doesn't have to be original. For my display only, not for resale. Regards. Bobby
Terry Klemme - August 25, 2014
Does anyone know where I can get replacement headlights for a Buddy L dump truck?
Daniel - November 23, 2013
Hello buddy, Im Daniel from Mexico, I have one of your oldies toy, one military jeep, I have some troubles or problems to fix it,the car is very old, I wonder ask if maybe someone of you people have an electric diagram about the function of this car.
►reply: Will be difficult... Maybe if you can locate your jeep through: Google images you can find more info.
Mike Dunbar - July 7, 2013
I have a Buddy L Army Combination Set #5561, I have box, trucks, cannon, 2 stretchers, but missing the army tent (field hospital) green pup style with red cross, not sure how many soldiers were with set, but anyone having any info on the field hospital would appreciate it, thanks Mike
►reply: No idea Mike, sorry, you could search this site frequently with these terms: Buddy L army to see if someday one pops up.
Curt Riekhof - January 28, 2013
I have a 5pc Buddy L Fire Truck set. They are from the mid to late 60's. They are or seem to be about 1/32 scale or a bit larger. They are still in the original box and have never been played with, I was looking at you web page and did not see anything like it.Sorry, I have no pictures to sent at this time but will have soon if you wish I can sent them to you as soon as I get them.If this is something you are interested in, Please send me an E-mail.Thanks Curt R.
►reply: Difficult to say because Buddy L made different kinds of fire trucks. Better to browse through ended Buddy L auctions to see if you can find yours and what it can fetch.
Gary - December 8, 2010
i have 2 1968 or 67 camaros 1 red 1blue metalliic both white stripe red mint blue is fair to good, also a rare ? mustang 1967 fastback friction state police, buddyl /japan 9 inch or so has buddy l mark camaros do NOThave buddyl mark but do believe they are buddyl as well cannot find police car anywhere and camaros only list blue 1 so can any one help me im intereted in selling if i can find out info on them no boxes just cars and for the most part they are well taken care of
Butch Mcreynolds - October 25, 2010
I have a nice '57-'58 set of two army trucks, the hospital, 41 soldiers and the 9" cannon that goes behind one of the trucks. Everything is in near mint to pristine condition. Any idea what they are worth?