Charles William Doepke (born 1911) ran a small one employee metal stamping business in the Oakley neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio doing small jobs for larger manufacturers in the late 1930’s.
During World War II, the business grew quickly with contracts from the US Government for metal ammunition cartridge containers and tank track pins. After the war ended, Charles was looking for new products. Inspired by the post war construction boom, particularly the many heavy construction vehicles building new roads and a Buddy L toy, Charles (as President overseeing tooling, manufacturing and product development along with his brother Frederick Doepke (as Vice President overseeing marketing, shipping and advertising) conceived 'Model Toys'.
Model Toys was moved to a new plant in Rossmoyne, a suburb northeast of Cincinnati, the Rossmoyne Fire Department would later be the name on the Model Toys LaFrance Ladder (Model Toys #2008 & #2014), Pumper (Model Toys #2010) and Searchlight (Model Toys #2023) trucks.
In 1946, the first model, the Woolridge Dump Truck (Model Toys #2000) was built in 1/16 scale.
During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s 'Model Toys' saw tremendous growth, during this time the company also produced Nestier (totes) and Nebel (metal lathes) non-toy products to diversify its income.
In the mid-1950s, toys were increasingly being made of plastic and metal toy sales such as the “Model Toys” line were staring to wane. In 1955/56, Doepke acquired the Gaston Manufacturing Company (Raymond Gaston, with his wood block toy experience would come to work for Doepke), producer of the Changeable Charlie and Bozo the Clown wooden puzzles, and started producing a line of wooden toys aimed at the pre-school age.
In 1959, faced with increasing competition from plastic toys, experiencing production issues and unable to create the same details with wood as they were with metal, the company went bankrupt and dissolved.
Some pressed steel toys by Doepke/Model Toys are highly collectible, like the Adams Road Grader, Caterpillar bulldozers, Jaguars, bucket loaders, cranes and firetrucks.
What's your 'Doepke' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):
|Large 1 16 Michigan C24 Crawler Crane||05/2019||$850.00|
|Model Toys Barber Greene Back Loader||06/2019||$685.00|
|Smith Miller L Mack Us Army Personel||06/2019||$500.00|
|Smith Miller M I C Tow Truck Tow Car||06/2019||$485.00|
|Early Model Toys Jaguar Xk 120 Sports||04/2019||$384.99|
|See all sold items for more prices|
Do you want to know more about collectible tin toys, and want to learn about value and identification? Take a look at these books on old toys on Amazon.