January 2014-December 2014
Main Floor, Musselman Library
The original steam shovels, tractors and racing auto exhibited on Musselman Library’s main floor were all produced by the Structo Manufacturing Company of Freeport, Illinois between 1914 and 1919 and are from the private collection of Randy Prasse, Executive Director of Gettysburg Festival, Inc. who grew up in Freeport, Illinois and played with Structo toys as a child. The accompanying dealer catalogs and Structo advertisements depict stereotypical views about masculine and feminine interests that were common during the World War I-era.
In 1908, C. E. Thompson and Louis Strohacker founded the Thompson Manufacturing Company in Freeport, Illinois. The name was changed to Structo Manufacturing Company as a play on the “inde-structo-ble” quality of their steel building sets and in 1913, as sales and the need for production space grew, the newly renamed and expanding Structo entered the national sales marketplace.
In 1919, Structo Manufacturing sold its steel construction building set lines to A. C. Gilbert (producer of the famed Erector Sets) to focus on their popular toy “builder kits” that featured ready-to-assemble roadsters, tractors and dump trucks.
Structo Manufacturing’s toy production ended with the sale of its patterns and designs to Ertl in Dyersville, Iowa in 1973. Structo Manufacturing and their quality toys were among the finest toys produced and were enjoyed world-wide by generations of children.