IN 1924 A SET OF SIX “Federal” vans was introduced in the 1924 Tootsietoy catalog. They continued through the 1933 catalog where it was offered with the choice of “rubber or metal” wheels. The six variations were GROCERY, BAKERY, MARKET. LAUNDRY, MILK AND FLORIST. Milk is the most common as every city had a dairy and Florist is the rarest because fewer cities had flower shops. Retailers ordered the variations they thought they could sell and most young boys wanted the vehicles they saw on the streets.
Some time later Tootsie began to offer special “Store Name” vans to retailers. Minimum order was 5,000 pieces.
Most were sold out of the New York office to stores in surrounding states.(one day’s train ride out of New York or less). The vans sold in St. Paul and Chicago were sold out of the Chicago office.
Abrahamson-Bigelow CO. – Jamestown, New York: The Abrahamson-Bigelow partnership began in 1893 in Jamestown New York. By 1910 the store was owned by only Bigelow. Bigelow flourished until the Great Depression but survived the downturn of the economy and began to expand. By 1960 strip malls were taking a large percentage of business share from the downtown stores. The Bigelow store finally closed in 1979.