The Garton Toy Company was founded by Eusebius Bassingdale Garton in 1879 in Sheboygan, WI.
Business was booming until a disastrous fire struck in 1890. Garton built a new and larger facility on Niagara Avenue, producing a wide variety of children's toys such as wagons, velocipedes, scooters, pedal cars, bikes, sleds, and croquet sets.
Then in 1929, disaster struck again when the Garton Toy Company burned to the ground, the largest fire in Sheboygan's history. 87 years old Garton moved his business into some vacant buildings formerly occupied by American Hide and Leather Company; in only three months Garton resumed full production . Garton died in 1931 leaving control of the firm with his son, C.E. Garton. The company continued to manufacture pedal cars through the 1930s, including the graceful Lincoln Zephyr model.
After the war, toy production resumed and Garton maintained branch offices in New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and Seattle. By the 1950s the Garton Kidillac and Hot Rod were popular pedal cars sold in many foreign countries.
Of all the toy pedal cars produced, they are best known for the creation of the "Kidillac" and the "Hot Rod." The company's production reached a broad market throughout the country through national catalog sales and distribution centers. If you are lucky enough to find an original Garton Toy pedal car today, you have found a piece of history.
During the 1960s, Garton Toy Company introduced several new toy products including the Casy Jones Locomotive, Air Force Jeeps, Tin Lizzies, Spin-A-Roos, a surrey, a camper and sedans to the toy market. To become more efficient and to modernize they decided to build a new plant and relocate four miles north of Sheboygan.
In 1973, due to decreasing profit margins, a declining market, and increased governmental and consumer protection regulations, the Garton Toy Company was sold to the Monitor Corporation.
Four generations of the Garton family would ultimately own and operate the business until 1973, when it felt it had to sell the company...
Since then, the main Garton toy factory in Sheboygan has traded hands several times. Gorman & Company, Inc., finally purchased the factory in 1999, renovating and converting the factory into the Garton Toy Factory Apartment Homes.
What's your 'Garton' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):