The Nylint Corporation was founded in 1937 by Bernard Klint of Rockford, Illinois. His uncle, David Nyberg, supplied much of the initial capital to start the company. The company name of Nylint is a combination of both the Nyberg and Klint names. It was incorporated under the name 'Nylint Tool and Manufacturing' and its initial operation was located at 5th Avenue and 13th Street in Rockford. Original founder Bernard (known as Barney) Klint and his wife Grace remained actively involved for nearly 60 years in this privately-held company until their deaths in the mid-1990s.
In the early years NYlint was a producer of kitchen utensils such as cheese slicers, flour sifters and a gravy strainers. This tooling was purchased from the estate of another kitchenware manufacturer. Nylint also did special-order tooling work for other companies. For example, they produced refrigerator door handles and cast aluminum parts for the automobile industry. In 1940, the company moved to a larger location on 16th Avenue where it remained for 60 years.
As with most manufacturers, World War II caused a shift in focus to making war-related products. During the war years, Nylint prospered while employing 50 employees who made anti-aircraft magazines and torpedo-related components for the Federal government. Nylint produced, almost exclusively, war-related products during its 'Wartime Manufacturing Era.'
After the war, Nylint, like all manufacturing companies, worked to establish its post-war direction. After an extensive study in late 1945, the company chose to enter the toy-producing arena. This decision was made primarily because of Nylint's possession of existing modern metal-stamping facilities, and it was felt that manufacturing metal toys was a solid choice. They made a commitment to produce toys and soon hired Carl Swenson, the inventor of a wind-up toy car with steering and directional actions. This innovational toy was based on a mechanism that was on the cutting edge of technology. The mechanism allowed the wind-up car to start/stop, go forward or backward, and to turn. Not only did the toy exhibit strong mechanical capabilities, it was attractively-based on the real Chrysler Airflow design. Nylint called this toy the 'Amazing Car.' When the company took this toy to the 1946 Toy Fair in New York City, it was a huge success with over 100,000 units ordered. Not only did Nylint have a solid product, it was marketed well -being packaged in an attractive box with a color picture of the toy on the outside. Additionally, the box included a diagram of the detailed motions the toy could perform. Believe it or not, most toy manufacturers did not picture their toys on the box during that period. After World War II there were several large manufacturers of pressed-steel toys in this country. In addition to Nylint, Tonka, Buddy-L, Structo, Smith-Miller, Doepke, Marx and Wyandotte were some of the most successful. Others, including Tru-Scale, All-American, and Ertl, would later join the ranks of toy truck producers. Aside from Buddy-L, Marx, Structo and Wyandotte, who had previously made toys, most of these companies started moving into toy manufacturing immediately after the war. From the get-go, there was a lot of intense competition.
In the late-1940s and early-1950s, Nylint remained committed to these wind-up toys and soon produced a front-end loader wind-up, which resembled a forklift. Soon afterwards, they made a couple of motorcycle tin wind-ups, a street sweeper wind-up (resembling the actual Elgin machine) and a wind-up that resembled a popular TV icon 'Howdy Doody' although Nylint never used the name to advertise the toy. The Elgin Street Sweeper, in particular, demonstrated to Nylint that success could be achieved by patterning toys after real-life vehicles.
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