Hubley Mfg. Co. toys, founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1894 to ????. See also Gabriel Industries. Slogan: "They're Different"
Also known as: Lancaster Brand Iron Toys. John E. Hubley originally manufactured electric toy train equipment and parts. Purchased Safety Buggy Co. factory and moved to site in 1909. First manufactured cast-iron toys, horse-drawn wagons and fire engines, circus trains, and cap guns. Toy autos became the headliners in 1930s.
Though mass produced, each Hubley toy was largely hand-made. Each one was also painted by hand, so each is somewhat unique...
Moving forward a few decades, we find Hubley producing its first line of Automobile kits. These metal and plastic kits were first sold in 1959. The four original kits included the Indy Racer No. 852K, 1932 Ford Custom Roadster No. 853K, Model A Ford Roadster No. 854K and the Model A Ford Pickup Truck No. 855K. The Indy Racer was discontinued in 1961, never to be reissued, making it a rare kit. The Custom Roadster was discontinued in 1962 and was never reissued. The first issue boxes had compartments for the different parts. In 1963, the Model A Roadster was reissued in new packaging with model No. 850K-300 and the Model A Pickup would be reissued in its new 7 X 10 box with its original model number.
For the production year of 1964, Hubely discontinued issuing their kits under the 'K'- (Kit) series numberings and simply placed the numeral '4' in front of the previous 3-digit-K number... and retained the suffix number. Thus, the 8xxK-300 became 48xx-300. Some releases were just 48xx. This numbering system continued until July, of 1965, when Gabriel Industries took over the Hubley operations. During the Gabriel Era, the suffix number was dropped completely and the 48XX-300 became simply model kit number 48XX.
By quickly converting to cheaper smaller toys during the Depression, they avoided financial woes experienced by many other toy companies. Iron shortages in WWII and commitments to fill war contracts did stop the toy division in 1942, until after the war. The name was later changed to Gabriel Industries and still existed as a division of CBS as of 1978.