Best Tonka Trucks: Classic Tonka Toys
Tonka is a type of wood used in making dolls, figurines, and other small toy items. Its name comes from the Native American word “tanka” which means “to dance”. It was first introduced to the world during World War II when it was used extensively by Allied forces as a substitute for real trees in their war efforts.
Since then, it has become one of the most popular materials for building miniature structures.
The term “tonka” is often incorrectly applied to any old wooden toys made before the 1940’s. However, these are not really true tonka at all; they’re just cheap imitation products made with cheaper woods. They lack the strength and durability of genuine tonka and have been known to crack or break easily if dropped or mishandled.
There are several types of tonka available today. Some are very brittle and will shatter upon impact with hard surfaces like glass, while others are stronger but still fragile enough to break easily under certain conditions. All types of tonka come in various thicknesses and colors, so choosing the right one depends on your needs.
A few years ago, there were only two companies producing authentic vintage tonka toys: Tonka Brothers (now defunct) and Bally Manufacturing Corporation (BMC). Now there is a third company, T-Toys, who currently supports the market for the most sought-after styles and varieties of tonka toys. These toys may be collector’s items to some, but they are still very fun to play with and great additions to any child’s toy box.
The first type of tonka is the kind you’re most familiar with: green, heavy and hard. It is the most durable of all the types and can take a lot of abuse without breaking. Most Tonka trucks today are made with this wood.
The problem is that these toys are very heavy, making them difficult for children to pick up, let alone throw around.
The second type of tonka is slightly lighter in color and much more brittle than the previous kind. The wood is almost white in color and, while still very durable, it’s much lighter in weight than the green type. If you drop this kind of wood, it has a tendency to shatter into many pieces, so it’s not really a good choice for young children.
If you want authentic Tonka toys without the weight problem of the green kind, then this is the wood to get. Unfortunately, due to a decrease in demand, this material is rarely used anymore.
The third type of tonka is much lighter in color and looks almost like plastic. It tends to be more brittle than the green kind but stronger than the white kind. Unfortunately, it also tends to chip and break easier than both the green and white kinds.
While cheaper than the other two types, it’s not recommended for adults or kids who like to play rough.
There is also a fourth type of tonka which is not as common and can be hard to find. Known as “sand” tonka, it was the first type of wood used to make these toys. It’s a very soft and creamy color and, since it’s not as durable as the other kinds, tends to be more expensive.
However, since this kind of wood is no longer readily available, most people are unable to purchase it.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a child (or big kid), consider getting a genuine tonka toy. With so many different kinds available, you’re sure to find the right one for any occasion.
“I thought you said there were only two kinds of tonka: green and white.” Heather interrupts.
“There are, but… this is all just what I heard from the guy who sold me my truck.
I didn’t really pay that much attention…”
What kind of truck do you have anyway?”
“Green, heavy and hard. It’s a very durable kind.”
“You don’t say…
Hey, you know that store we just passed?
Let’s go check it out.”
Now that you think about it, you’re also a little hungry. You remember seeing a sign for some pizza place just before you got off the highway.
“Sure, anything’s better than sitting in this parking lot,” you reply.
The two of you get out of the car and head back toward the store. All the way there you can’t help but notice how much Heather is fiddling with her necklace.
Does the chain bother you or something?”
Why would you ask that?”
Heather says, caught off guard by your question.
You shrug and try to think of a different topic.
Fortunately, Heather seems to come up with one for you.
“So… you were saying there are two kinds of people in the world: ones who like green tonka trucks and ones who prefer white ones.”
“Yeah, I guess,” you say.
“I don’t understand what that has to do with anything.”
You know how some people like Japanese entertainment and some people prefer American stuff?
It’s just like that.”
Heather sighs with exasperation.
“That doesn’t even make any sense.”
Why does everything I say have to make sense?”
“It doesn’t. I just don’t understand why you’re stating an opinion as if it were a fact.”
“It is a fact. It’s an immutable, objective fact!”
“Well, that’s a matter of debate.”
At this point you’ve reached the store, so you decide to drop the issue. Heather pulls on the door, but it doesn’t budge.
Do you think we’re supposed to knock?”
You shrug and then reach out to knock on the door three times. You wait a few moments but there’s no response, so you knock again, this time louder.
Suddenly, an eye peers out from one of the slits in the door.
Who are you?”
a deep voice asks.
“I’m Hiccup, son of Grimbeard the Ghastly, etc, etc. This is my companion, Heather.”
What do you want?”
“We were told to come here by Vorpal Swordbreaker.”
The eye seems to scrutinize you for a long time before disappearing. A moment later the door creaks open.
“That’s impossible. Vorpal Swordbreaker has been dead for over a hundred years,” the gruff voice says.
“Yeah, I know,” you say.
“Wait, do you mean you’re his…?”
“Great-great-great-grandson, I think.”
“By the gods…” the voice says, and you can hear him bustling around in the back.
“I need to get my eyes checked. Of course you’re related to Vorpal Swordbreaker, your face is almost as hideous as his!”
You push open the door and enter the store. The shopkeeper is an older man with a grey beard that practically reaches the floor. You’ve only seen someone with that much facial hair on pictures of old English poets on Mom’s dresser back home.
The shopkeeper shuffles over to you, his movements seemingly impeded by his beard.
“It’s been so long since I had any customers, my eyes aren’t what they used to be,” he says, picking up a letter opener and putting it down again.
What do you mean?”
“I’ve gone blind, boy!” he exclaims. “I can’t read the tags for the items I have for sale!”
I’ll help you.”
“Thank you, but I don’t think your eyes are any better than mine,” he says.
I just need to read the tags, right?
Don’t need to actually see them.”
The shopkeeper laughs heartily at that remark.
“You’re a funny one, boy. Alright, come over here.”
You follow the shopkeeper around his store, as he names each item and you repeat it to make sure you remember where everything is.
After ten minutes, you think you’ve got it all down.
“Okay, that’s everything,” the shopkeeper says. “Just call out what you need and I’ll get it for you.”
“Thanks,” you reply. “
Do you think you could tell me about the island? And Vorpal Swordbreaker?”
What would you like to know?”
“Well, everything, I suppose.”
The shopkeeper begins to talk, and you listen intently as he tells you the story of Toothless Jack.
“So that’s the tale of Vorpal Swordbreaker,” he says as he finishes.
You thank him, and then you and Heather head back outside.
“I didn’t know it was a real person,” you say. “I thought it was made up.”
“Yeah, I learned all about him at school. It’s a shame what happened to him.”
Do you think it’s true?”
“Of course it’s true! My Dad said he met him once when he was a kid. He gave him a handful of gems that he found in the woods.”
“Oh. Well, that’s…
Hey, do you want to hear more about my adventures with Toothless Jack?
I have tons of stories.”
“Sure,” you reply. “That sounds cool.”
You walk along the path back to your house in silence. You can’t shake the feeling that you’re forgetting something. It’s on the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t seem to remember…
The sun is beginning to set, so it’ll be dark soon. You really want to get home soon.
Your Mom would skin you alive if you tried camping out in the woods again, and who knows what’s out there?
You arrive at the foot of the hill.
“Alright, I’ll see you tomorrow,” you say. “We should try to go see Toothless Jack’s tree house.”
“K!” Heather says, before running off towards her own home.
You watch her disappear into the trees, before beginning your trudge up the hill. Once again, you’re walking slower than usual. It doesn’t seem as bad as this morning, but it’s still pretty bad.
You’re halfway up the hill, taking a breather, when you spot something out of the corner of your eye.
It’s up on the rocky cliff overlooking the path, legs tucked up against its body. It looks like a cat, but it’s almost as big as you are. You assume that it must be a really big cat, perhaps a lion.
You’ve heard them before at night, but have never seen one.
It’s staring right at you, it’s eyes gleaming in the light of the setting sun.
You think about making a run for it, but you’ve already slowed yourself down with your walk up the hill. You don’t think you could get to the top before the cat could pounce on you.
Maybe you could throw a rock at it and scare it off?
Or… you could do something really stupid.
You take off your backpack, and slowly advance towards the cliff. “Hey Cat!” You call out, trying to sound as non-threatening as possible.
Why don’t you try something easier than a kid tonight?
There’s a whole herd of goats at the top of this hill!” The cat doesn’t move, just keeps staring at you. You start forward again, reaching the bottom of the hill. You still can’t be sure that you’ve deterred it. You might have to resort to the rock after all.
“Last chance Cat,” you say, trying to keep your voice level. “There’s easier prey above.”
The cat makes its choice. It bursts forward towards you, faster than anything you’ve ever seen. You back up as fast as you can, but it’s already too close.
It’s longer neck-like throat juts out, followed by it’s head and body. Two clawed front paws reach out and swipe you. You only just manage to dodge in time, and the cat flies past you. You turn, running up the hill as fast as you can. You hear it crashing through the undergrowth behind you, closing the gap between you.
It’s too fast. You can’t outrun it. You need to do something else, try something else.
You’ve almost reached the top of the hill, if you just get past this ledge…
You hear the cat behind you, jumping off the cliff. You don’t have time to turn and look, but you know it’s in the air right behind you, it’s claws outstretched, ready to kill…
It misses, flying off to the side and rolling down the hill. It’s probably just far enough off course that it couldn’t adjust in time. You, on the other hand, are in the perfect position to fall right off the ledge.
You don’t even have time to scream.
You open your eyes. You’re lying face down on a dusty ground. Everything hurts.
You slowly push yourself up, and look around. You’re in a desert of some sort, the sand stretching out in every direction, undisturbed except for where you fell from.
How did you get here?
You were just climbing a hill! You don’t remember falling asleep, either.
You push yourself to your feet, and take a look around. There’s nothing here. No hills, no rocks, no plants, nothing to use as a refuge or shelter.
The sun hangs in the sky, blazing down on you, and you realize how thirsty you are. You don’t even have your backpack with you! You pat your pockets, feeling your knife and tobacco pouch, at least.
You start walking. You don’t know why, but it’s all you can do. If you stay still, you’ll die.
So you walk. You walk through the blazing sun and unforgiving sand. You walk until the sun sets, then walk in the darkness with only the stars to illuminate your path.
You keep walking.
You’re not sure when it happened, but at some point in the endless night, you passed out again. When you wake up, the sun is already high in the sky. You can only assume you walked through the night and into the next morning.
You struggle to your feet, picking a direction at random and starting to walk again. After a few minutes, you come across a faint trail through the sand. You follow it, hoping it will lead somewhere.
Before long, you spot something off in the distance. It’s small, but it looks like there might be something there.
Sources & references used in this article:
From Tonka trucks to pacemakers: Free trade isn’t free by LD Johnston – 2012 – digitalcommons.csbsju.edu
Research finds staying stiII best option for kids by S Osborne – Bedrock, 2015 – search.informit.com.au
Tonka trucks, Barbie dolls, and quotas: The social construction of masculinity in the sexuality education classroom by EM Scully – 2007 – search.proquest.com
Tonka Corporation by RF Bruner, CS Opitz – Darden Business Publishing Cases, 2017 – emerald.com
Tonka Terrors by MA Arnzen – The Films of Stephen King, 2008 – Springer
Why Androgyny Is Hell In America by DL Wuchich – 1992 – publications.lakeforest.edu
Constructing life while building bridges by TW Holland – 1997 – Windmill Press
Honors English 10 (P. 1) D. Montoya 18 March 2013 Role-Model Barbie: Now and Forever? by A Sheehan – Conjunctions, 2016 – JSTOR