Making Tin Can Toys

by Edward Thatcher 1919

Making Tin Toys Introduction Part 4

To have formed up a hood of this sort from a plain sheet of metal would have taken far more skill than the average tinker is likely to possess, but you have it ready made in the can, and this is the whole idea of tin can toy building. Less than half of a rectangular two quart can used for a certain cooking oil makes up into a truck body so like the bodies on the real trucks that it would be difficult to find or make one more like them. Many different kinds of boats that will really float may be made from mackerel and herring tins which are usually made in the shape of boats. Two mackerel tins soldered together suggest the fighting tank. Only a little work is necessary to transform these cans into real toys.

Long cylindrical cans suggest boilers for toy locomotives, hoisting and traction engines, steam rollers and the like. Wheels for rolling stock may be made from cans or the can lids. Small adhesive tape boxes make excellent headlights or searchlights and also pilot houses for tiny tug boats. Bottle caps, thumb-tack boxes, and the small screw tops of olive or cooking oil cans suggest head, side and tail lights for toy automobiles, and many other things. Aside from the pleasure derived from the actual making of tin can toys, perhaps the greatest satisfaction lies in the fact: that you are using material usually thrown away-making something out of nothing. And so this book is offered to tinkers by a tinker with the hope that they may get some of the pleasure out of it that he has had in writing it.

EDWARD THATCHER. Woodstock, Ulster County, New York. September, 1919.