In 1919, the Frantz Manufacturing Company of
Sterling, Illinois began making toys starting with the baseball game. They licensed
production of this game from Evan Reed Manufacturing who had
the patent . These early toys were marked Frantz and
included the very popular Baseball game as well as a Football game and a Golf
game. Wooden pull toys were also produced including the Pup. By 1925, Hustler
Toy Company was created as a subsidiary. New decals were created and toys of
this period can be found with Hustler decal over Frantz logos. In the late 1920s
they took over the Toylander Corporation who was also making toys in Sterling,
The chief designer for the wooden toys was Clare A. Wetzel. His name appears
on almost all Frantz and Hustler patents. His themes were primarily animal
figures and doll-like figures at play.
Hustler designed and produced over 100
unique toys. (see my list) The company reached
its peak production level in about 1929,
shipping toys all over the world. Poplar wood from Arkansas was the material
used for most toys.
Hustler Toy Company made wooden toys until 1934. After that, the Hustler name appears only
on metal strap-on roller skates which were made until about 1970.
Frantz Manufacturing is still in business making
steel balls, ball bearings, conveyor bearings, and various other ball and
Thanks to Brian Verdick and Bob Marsh, employees of
Frantz Manufacturing, for helping me with this history.