Wolverine refrigerator toy

by Dr. Lori Verderame

The Wolverine Supply and Manufacturing Company made lithographed tin wind-up and stationary toys in various shapes, styles, and sizes. Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the center of the metal work industry in the early 1900s, the Wolverine company was in operation from 1903 to 1970. Benjamin Bain founded the company and first designed functional household objects like cooking utensils and simple tools.

Wolverine lithographed tin toys are easy to spot from their prominent Wolverine marking and their colorful, clear, and bright lithography on each toy. The toys look realistic and trace the visual history of both appliances and cars.

Wolverine tin doll houseBest known for lithographed tin toys, the Wolverine Supply and Manufacturing Company marketed a line of sand-operated tin/pressed steel toys geared to young boys. A marketing slogan “toys for boys” accompanied the early Wolverine toys. Sand operated toys were popular offering toys such as cranes and “Sandy Andy” toys.

Following the popularity of sand-operated toys, the Wolverine Company manufactured a line of marble-powered toys and then moved into colorful lithographed wind-up toys such as figures on vehicles, animals, etc.

Girl toys came later with realistic looking lithographed toy stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, and doll houses. In 1962, the company changed its name to “Wolverine Toy Company” and by 1968, the company was purchased by Spang Industries.

Wolverine toys in good condition bring good values in the always active vintage toy market.

Get an online appraisal of your Wolverine toy from Dr. Lori.