Chein toys, founded in 1903 by a one-armed, one-time Vaudeville performer named Julius Chein in a loft in New York City in 1903. He began with a metal-stamping operation and produced small tin prizes for the Cracker Jack boxes and other toys for five and dime stores.

chein toys logo

The company's reputation is however built on the collectible tinplate toys and banks, for example the Ferrish Wheels and Rollercoaster toys.

Tin Roller coaster toys

chein rollercoasterChein had a friend with the American Can Company who convinced him to lithograph designs on tinplate instead of painting them. American Can did the litho work for Chein until 1907, when a new plant was opened in Harrison, New Jersey. The toy company produced toy coin banks, horse-drawn carts and noisemakers. These were sold mainly through the Woolworth chain stores.

Julius Chein

Julius had quite a violent temper. Some say the loss of his arm when he was a kid while experimenting with fireworks, has attributed to his temperament.

When something went wrong at the production line he often flew into a rage and sometimes got so angry that he took off his watch, threw it on the floor, and started jumping on it.

He died in 1926 when he fell from his horse.

Tin Merry Go Round

chein ferris wheel toy

Some of the most collectible Chein toys are: The Ferris wheel, which Chein produced since the 1930s, Roller Coasters (since 1949), the Playland Merry-Go-Round (1950). The Space Ride and the larger Rocket Ride came along in the early 1950s.

Resources & links

Book: J. Chein & Co.: A Collector's Guide to an American Toymaker

Chein forum (6 comments)

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John - October 29, 2013

Hi, Did Chein make a Bunny pulling a Rabbit Roost Cart that had four holes in the cart to hold the sheet metal together instead of four stamped fasteners?

Bev Clark - July 2, 2013

I am interested in the Chein bonzo on scooter toy, or even just the Bonzo figure. Do you have one?
►reply: No, I don't have one Bev, sorry! Search frequently on this website and maybe someday one will popup.

Dora Koch - June 3, 2013

I have still in the box a Tiny train Top No 206 very good shape could u send me info on this
►reply: I also cannot find any info. What you can do is try to locate a similar train with help from Google images. Search with for example (click): chein train.

Phyllis - October 7, 2012

I have wind up rocket ride, J chein stamp on it. I have seen similar ones, but none that have the wind up key like on them. They have a lever that pulls over to wind it. 4 rockets, plastic props that are mostly torn up. but in fair condition. still works info on it please.

Scott Dobyanski - April 19, 2012

I recently bought a windup 'handstand clown.' The key turns but the toy does not function as made. I have seen some with orange hands but this one has yellow hands. The graphics are still good better than the ones listed on this site. Could you provide me with a value? I paid $25 for it.
►reply: Here is a list of completed auctions of Chein Clowns

Jeff Jackson - August 8, 2011

I have a Busy Mike sand monkey toy I was wanting information on. What year it was made and what it might be worth. THANK YOU

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