Q: I have a toy trolley car that was purchased from Joseph Horne Co. in Pittsburgh probably in the late 1950s or '60s. It's in a box labeled "Mantua Street Car." The track is stamped "TYCO" on the back and the motor was made by Lionel. Can you tell me anything more about my toy trolley car?
A: James P. Thomas and John N. Tyler founded the Mantua Toy Co. in Mantua, New Jersey, in 1926. The company moved to Woodbury Heights, New Jersey, in 1933 and its name was changed to Mantua Metal Products Co. in 1938. Today Mantua is best known for its battery-operated HO-scale trains, but it started out making toy sailboats. Later, train kits and train parts were made in various sizes. Beginning in 1953, complete HO toy train sets and train cars were made by Tyler Manufacturing, a company run by John Tyler and other Mantua personnel. In 1967, Mantua and Tyler Manufacturing combined and became part of Tyco. Meanwhile, members of John Tyler's family bought the Woodbury Heights factory, named their new company Mantua Industries, and by 1977 were manufacturing Mantua trains again. Mantua Industries went out of business in 2001. The Mantua Street Car kit was made in the early 1950s and originally sold for $8.95. A kit sells online today for under $40.