2. It’s known for it now, but at first, Tonka didn’t make a single dump truck
Not that it mattered much: they may have only made a steam shovel and a crane (pictured in the advertisement above), but they sold over 37,000 of them in the first year alone.
3. The name itself comes from Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota
The city of Mound is essentially a peninsula jutting into Lake Minnetonka, and “tanka” is the Sioux word for big. Make a logo to capitalize on the double meaning (note “Tonka” over the waves in the ad), slap it on an oversized metal toy, and by 1947, Mound Metalworks had a hot ticket.
4. The company didn’t change its name for nearly 10 years
Needless to say, toys took priority over gardening, and in 1955, the whole company was renamed Tonka.