|Toy Brands and Manufacturers|
Tonka Toys is a US toy brand originating in Minnesota, USA, in the vicinity of Lake Minnetonka. The company was founded in 1946.
Tonka products had a reputation for being designed to withstand brutal levels of play, including being repeatedly hit against walls or hurled from upper bedroom windows. The predominantly pressed-steel construction didn’t shatter on impact like plastic, the tyres were oversized and "super-chunky", and any potential weak points in the designs tended to be either eliminated or heavily reinforced. Small details that might be prone to damage such as wing mirrors were left out, doors tended to be outlines pressed into the steel rather than cutouts, and surfaces that might have been expected to be vertical on a real vehicle were often slanted for extra strength.
Sharp protruding corners that might act as a focus for impacts were "smoothed" where possible by trying to avoid having three surfaces meeting at right angles at a single point, which also helped to minimise collateral damage to walls or furniture that the toy might be hit against – Tonka Toys were "blunt", and the designs made it obvious that these toys were designed to stand up to heavy abuse from active children. As a result of the emphasis on "thick and chunky" shapes, the Tonka range focused on big, chunky, stylised truck shapes.
Tonka is still a current brand, and although current designs have moved over to plastic rather than steel, the current range retains the original emphasis on stylised chunky shapes and extreme impact-resistance.
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