Mechanical Toys — March 1, 2012 at 12:01 am

A Visit to Tin Toy Works in Allentown, PA

Joe Freeman of Tin Toy Works at his workbench, with the restoration of a 1935 Lionel Mickey Mouse handcar well underway.
Joe Freeman of Tin Toy Works at his workbench, with the restoration of a 1935 Lionel Mickey Mouse handcar well underway.
BY PAUL STIMMLER, ATCA, IVES TRAIN SOCIETY, TCA

Joe and Barbara Freeman started this business 41 years ago in 1970. In the earliest days it was a hobby shop in the center of Allentown where they bought and sold toy trains and underneath was a rudimentary repair section. In 1981 they moved after building their current facility near the 15th street exit of Rt. 22 just off of the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. You have likely seen their ad in the very front section of Antique Toy World which they have run for decades. They are believed to be the largest manufacturer of antique toy parts in the world. With over 43 years in the hobby, and as a freelance writer, I have seen some wonderful advanced toy collections and most owners of those have said repeatedly that they consider Tin Toy Works to be the best restoration facility in the antique toy hobby not only in the United States, but certainly among the best in the world! Twenty one years ago in October 1990, Antique Toy World featured a nine page cover story by John Zolomij on the Freemans and their business. At the time there were six employed all together including Joe and Barbara. Now there are seven. I visited their facility in Autumn 2011 just prior to their departing for the ATCA Convention in Buffalo, NY to interview Joe and Barbara to find out how things are progressing.

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