And Cast Aluminum Jeep Toys
Henry J. Kaiser decided to enter the aluminum business when World War II ended. Wrapping up Liberty Ship production on the west coast, Henry wanted to get into the aluminum refining operation. Large deposits of bauxite, one of the key ingredients,were discovered on Jamacia, so Henry set up a refining operation near Baton Rouge, Louisana in the plant constructed for the war effort by Alcoa Aluminum. Less than three months after the start of the conversion, the plant began making alumina, and less than six months after that, began making a profit. Dusty Rhoades was the first plant manager.
Kaiser Aluminum soon found a market for it's goods, not only with the war department, for use in airplane parts, vehicles and ships, but in civilian life too.
In 1954 a new plant was built in Ravenswood, West Virginia. This plant produced aluminum sheet for airplane skins and foil for cooking. Kaiser foil was marketed as "The Ribbed Foil" because of it's textured surface.
Kaiser Aluminum is still in business today. In addition to sheet and bar stock, they produce many auto parts for most major manufacturers including Ford, General Motors and Harley Davidson motorcycles. The engine cradle and front frame assembly on the Ford Taurus and Contour is made by Kaiser Aluminum using a special water injection method. Many of the aluminum suspension components for the Chevrolet Corvette are made by Kaiser Aluminum. Harley Davidson also has some smaller parts on their motorcycles made by Kaiser.
Kaiser Aluminum stock is publically traded on the AMEX and their ticker ID is KLU.
Some of the items made by Kaiser Aluminum include:
TV dinners The next TV dinner you have may be lined by a Kaiser Aluminum tray!
In 1959 Kaiser sponsored a cooking contest that had as it's first prize a trip to Hawaii, where the winner would be the guest of Kaiser's newly constructed Hawaiian Village Hotel. A cookbook was distributed to get men, to whom the contest was targeted, to sign up.
Some of the prizes included the aforementioned trip, Jeep station wagons, and cookout equipment. Does anyone know who won?
Kaiser also sponsored an exhibit at Disneyland. Billed as the Land of Tomorrow, it featured a guide in a spacesuit in front of a large telescope. Postcards were sold with a picture of the exhibit. I wonder where it is now...
While not manufactured by Kaiser Aluminum, these cast toys are interesting nonetheless. At about 1/8th scale, they have a lot of detail and were well made. The story goes that early Al-Toy versions were given away to Willys dealers as a promotional item.
Two different makers of the Jeeps are in my collection. The first is Al-Toy who made a cast jeep that, at first, only had one front seat. Later versions had two and putting early and late castings side by side reveal other small changes made during the run. The hoods open on Al-Toy Jeeps but there is no engine, just a flat casting. Wheels and axles are held in place by a riveted plate on some and on others, there are holes drilled into the casting itself for the axles to pass thru.
Ogelsby Jeeps differ in that the hood casting also contains the headlights so that when the hood opens, the headlights are attached and swing up with the hood. Ogelsby Jeeps have an F-head engine cast under the hood, something that Al-Toy Jeeps lack. Ogelsby units also have holes in the front and rear body sections. The rear is for a trailer hitch and the front holds a snow plow. The plow unit is very rare, I’ve only seen pictures of them.
Al-Toy also made cast Willys wagons, Jeepsters, Jeep Fire engines and other cast toys. Ogelsby made Jeeps in several versions, the most unusual is the brown Western Jeep pictured.
I’m a collector of Al-Toy and Ogelsby Jeeps, let me know if you have one to sell!
Visit your local Kaiser-Frazer Dealer today!
Don't forget your local Jeep dealer too!
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This Page Last Updated on: August 9, 1945
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