Friday, December 12, 2014

Auburn #614 Fire Engine

Auburn rubber toys actually got their start with the founding of the Double Fabric Tire Company in Auburn, Indiana in 1910. Specializing in tire patches and inner soles they eventually expanded the line to include automobile tires and tubes. In 1913, a disastrous fire which wiped out the entire block of buildings their factory was located on nearly caused them to fold but having good insurance they rebounded and rebuilt. During the 1920s they re organised as the Auburn Rubber Company and was one of the strongest companies financially during the otherwise unstable economy of the 1920s. Auburn produced its first toy in 1936, a rubber Cord automobile, with great attention to detail. A successful follow-up with a 1935 Ford led to a fine series of cars, trucks, buses, tractors, airplanes, ships, motorcycles, and fire engines. Like most companies they had to shift gears during the war years and supported the war effort by manufacturing rubber soles, gaskets, etc. It took them awhile to gear up for toy production after the war and it wasn't until 1950 that they were able to resume but in 1953 they decided to phase out their rubber toy line and get into plastic injection molded toys featuring a rubber-like vinyl plastic. The toy division lasted until 1960 when it was bought out by the city of Deming, New Mexico who desperately needed new industry, but by 1969 the company filed for bankruptcy (extracted from Rubber Toy Vehicles Identification & Value Guide by Dave Leopard, COLLECTOR BOOKS, copyright 2003)

Growing up in the 1950s and '60s I remember Auburn products well, their rubber toys as well as the rubber-like vinyl, and then their later issues made of a stiffer plastic. I did have some fire engines but most of my Auburn was military vehicles. Today's toy, the #614 Fire Engine, is one of their smaller sized fire engines being only 4 1/4" (10.8cm) L. These photos have been sitting on my hard drive since 2011, shortly after I started the blog and were probably meant for posting along with all the other Auburn Fire and Emergency vehicles posted during that time. But, as happens so often I got distracted. Well heck, it's time to post these suckers! Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

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