(I used to manage to ride this little guy down my driveway)
On September 18, 1946, Mound Metalcraft was created in Mound, Minnesota with three men as partners, Lynn Everett Baker (1898–1964), Avery F. Crounse, and Alvin F. Tesch. The first products produced by the fledgling company were two versions of a metal tie-rack. Their original intent was to manufacture garden implements. Their building's former occupant, the Streater Company, had made and patented several toys. E.C. Streater was not interested in the toy business so they approached Mound Metalcraft. The three men at Mound Metalcraft thought they might make a good side line to their other products.
After some modifications to the design by Alvin Tesch and the addition of a new logo created by Erling Eklof with the Dakota Sioux word "Tanka" or Tonka, which means "Great" or "Big", the company began selling metal toys. This soon became the primary business. On November 23, 1955, Mound Metalcraft changed its name to Tonka Toys Incorporated. The logo at this time was an oval, showing the Tonka Toys name in red above waves, presumably honoring nearby Lake Minnetonka.
The impact of the Tonka truck concept has been enduring and pervasive, especially the Mighty Dump Truck and associated "Mighty" line of construction equipment models introduced from 1964. The all-metal "Tonka Trucks" were sold throughout the world and earned a reputation as being indestructible, although the steel has been increasingly replaced by plastic from the late 1980s onwards.