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Tillicum Toys

The Company started as Craigcraft Toy in the fall of 1926 in Tacoma, Washington. The first appearance of the Tillicum (Chinook Jargon for "friend") brand was in 1927. During this time, both Tillicum and Craigcraft shared the same Tacoma street address and were business partners until Craigcraft merged their products into the Tillicum line and advertised together in the July 1927 Playthings "Fall Buying Number". They were listed solely as Tillicum Toys Inc. from 1928 on. TTI produced a line of at least 20 different trucks, boats, cars, puzzles, boats, and sailboats utilizing scrap cedar and fir from local timber mills. Business was strong and the company had a substantially larger factory, in an eye catching fairy tale castle motif, built in mid-1929 to help meet increasing demand. At their peak, they were listed as the largest toy manufacturer on the west coast, employing 45, and producing, for nationwide distribution, up to 1,200 individual toys a day. Like many other companies, they were hit hard by the Depression. In late 1930, production was ceased and they declared bankruptcy. Their newly opened "castle" was put up for auction by the courts and sold to a milk distributor in 1932. The building still stands today (2016).

 


Craigcraft Toy Logo

 


The CraigCraft Destroyer

 


The Tillicum Destroyer

 


Tillicum Logo 1928-1931

 

 


Tillicum Toys Inc. Fireboat ca 1929

 

Around the year 1933 former president of Tillicum Toys Inc., Mr. Joseph "J.K." Weddell, moved to the New York area and restarted the company as Tillicum Sales Corporation based out of New York City. The new east coast company sold a handful of mass produced cardboard boxed sets of smaller scaled, less detailed wooden boats than their Tacoma product line, along with a few larger sailboats, a battleship, and ferry-styled boats. TSC's most popular product was the "Bath Tub Set", in which some examples have been seen with packaging design specifically made for sale in Macy's Department Store. The "Bath Tub Set" had seven pieces- four boats, one barge, one lighthouse, and one buoy. In the earlier TSC designs, the lighthouse and some of these simplified boats borrowed styling from their larger Tacoma-made versions.


Tillicum Bath Tub Set

At some point during the 1930's, Milton Bradley purchased the trademark and continued production of the Tillicum line. These "Tiny Boats for Little Folks" sets were even more streamlined and the line eventually incorporated plastic parts as technology allowed. MB's most popular sets were the "Harbor Set", "Junior Harbor Set", and "Convoy Set", comprising each of between four and ten individual pieces intended for "Table, Tub, or Floor Play". The last Milton Bradley Tillicum ad I have seen is in a November 1953 "Life" magazine.


A Milton Bradley Merchant Marine Set


 


Various Tillicum Toys Inc. Cars

Contact me if you have questions or information about these Tillicum toys.

Eric Swanson

 


AD from 1934 - pre-merger with Milton Bradley

Tillicum New York Labels