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Dentist Henry Winzeler started the Ohio Art Company in 1908; the name came from his lifelong interest in art. Ohio Art’s first products were oval picture frames, but they would become one of the premier tin lithographed toy manufacturers in the U.S.
Ohio Art acquired Erie Toy Plant in 1917, the same Plant was later purchased by Louis Marx. Erie produced “Zippo the Climbing Monkey” for Ferdinand Strauss. In the same year Ohio Art purchased property in Bryan, Ohio, and began producing lithographed metal tea sets. In 1920 Ohio Art displayed their tin tea sets at the New York Toy Fair and incorporated in 1930. In 1931 they paid their shareholders the first of many dividends of $6 per share.
From 1942 to 1944, Ohio Art stopped toy production and converted to making war products. They produced, among other things, tent pole ferrules, rocket parts, and celestial astrodomes used in navigation for the Flying Fortress. Toy production resumed in 1945, when war restrictions on steel were lifted.
The company continued to grow their tin toy and steel toy product line, producing a number of varied products including push toys, puddler shovels, wagons, banks, dump carts, and toy windmills. In 1953, Ohio Art produced its own internally manufactured plastics for its toys. In 1955, they purchased Tacoma Metal Products Company, which produced toy electric stoves bearing the name “Little Chief”. Although, the company name might not be familiar with today’s young adults, their most popular product is. In 1960, Ohio Art began production of their famous “Etch-a-Sketch” and history was made. The company is still in operation today as a publically held corporation in Bryan, Ohio.