BY WILLIAM C. GALLAGHER
I remember my first “Dayton toy” purchased early in my toy selling career. I was not a Dayton toy collector but thought this unknown trolley was kind of neat and purchased it anyway. As with most toys acquired, an effort was made to identify the toy by showing it to another toy seller who told me he did not know which company made the toy but it was probably one of the “Dayton toys” meaning it was made in Dayton, Ohio. Over the years, I continued to hear dealers or collectors say “I think it is a Schieble” or “I think it is a Clark” or “I think it is Turner” or “I think it is Dayton.” I always wondered why so many people were not sure which company made the toy.
The late Bob Smith of Rochester was a Dayton collector who provided the Dayton toy listings in O’Brien’s Collecting Toy Cars and Trucks. Bob had called me before he passed away and asked if I could help him do a book on Dayton toys. At the time, I was in the process of relocating and was unable to pursue that effort with Bob. Within a year I met Dr. Richard Cummings, a Dayton, Ohio native, who had been collecting Dayton toys for more than 30 years and had been challenged by renowned toy collector, Bernard Barenholtz, to pursue the history of the Dayton companies and document his findings. Dick Cummings also asked if I could help get a book published about Dayton toys. Beginning with Dick’s large collection and his 1990s interviews with Dayton toy company descendants, Raymond Spong’s early Dayton toy research, Aaron Roy’s Dayton toy articles in Antique Toy World and Bob Smith’s published lists, I began my quest to really find out which company made which toy while working with Dick Cummings to get a Dayton Toy book published.