About Robert's Toys

    The Robert’s Manufacturing Company of New Castle, Pennsylvania was
    in the toy making business during the late 1940’s and early 50’s. Among
    their toy line they included a large, but rather ungainly looking, dump truck
    which had a big scoop attached to the front that could be raised over the
    cab to deposit its load of dirt directly into the bed of the truck. These
    rather improbable trucks never really caught on in the toy collector
    market, but are often associated with the Robert's name.

    It was the Robert’s ride-on vans, however that really stole the show.
    These were truly spectacular toys. They were sturdy and large enough
    (22” long) for a small child to comfortably ride and easily control with their
    raised steering wheels.

    Today’s collectors value these vans primarily for their wonderful
    advertising logos. The huge flat side panels of the Robert’s vans made
    them ideal for displaying colorful graphics and intricate decal work.
    Robert’s vans featured many well-known products. See the list on this
    page. There may be more out there!

    Production dates for these vans are uncertain, but they were marketed
    from at least 1948 through 1955. McElwee’s Collector’s Guide #10,
    published in 1994, has a good overview of the Robert’s vans. Reprints of
    these booklets can be found on Ebay.

    The most distinguishing characteristic between the very earliest of the
    vans and later models was the style of the grille. The early van grille was
    a separate piece of sheet metal which was lithographed with horizontal
    bars and then inserted behind a large gaping hole above the front
    bumper. A metal plate was used for the Roberts name badge just above
    the grille opening.

    Later vans did away with the separate grille and replaced it with a simple
    decal. Grille decal designs and colors changed over the years. The metal
    "Robert’s" name badge was also eliminated in favor of a decal above the
    windshield. At first the decal read simply, “Robert’s” and later it read,
    “Robert’s U-Ride-It.”

    Two types of steering wheels are also used. The early vans featured a
    simple one-piece bent rod wheel and column assembly with no bell
    attached - a bell was added later. The steering wheel design was
    changed to a stamped metal shape attached to the steering column with
    spot welding. These later design steering wheels had bells.

    In addition, the early vans used two-piece spot welded wheels with
    rubber tires and came with painted steel front bumpers. Later versions
    were covered by a rubber channel stapled in place over the steel bumper.

    As an added extra, some of the Robert’s vans came equipped with
    ladders mounted on both sides through slots cut in the body. The TV
    repair trucks had these ladders as did the Rescue Squad van. However,
    many other ladder-less vans were produced with these slots still in place,
    leading to some confusion as to their purpose.   

    You just can’t beat the Robert’s vans for pure eye-appeal! They really
    stand out as excellent examples of advertising toys of that era.
Known Robert's Vans

Canteen Service
Dumont Television
DyDee Diaper Service
Golden Dawn Fine Foods
Jewel Tea Co., Inc.
Kraft Quality Foods
Lipton Tea
Minute Maid
Philco Television
Rescue Squad
Sealtest Milk
Tom's Toasted Peanuts
Wonder Bread
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