started as Craigcraft Toy in the fall of 1926 in Tacoma, Washington.
The first appearance of the Tillicum (Chinook Jargon for "friend")
brand was in 1927. During this time, both Tillicum and Craigcraft
shared the same Tacoma street address and were business partners until
Craigcraft merged their products into the Tillicum line and advertised
together in the July 1927 Playthings "Fall Buying Number". They were
listed solely as Tillicum Toys Inc. from 1928 on. TTI produced a line
of at least 20 different trucks, boats, cars, puzzles, boats, and
sailboats utilizing scrap cedar and fir from local timber mills.
Business was strong and the company had a substantially larger
factory, in an eye catching fairy tale castle motif, built in
mid-1929 to help meet increasing demand. At their peak, they were
listed as the largest toy manufacturer on the west coast, employing
45, and producing, for nationwide distribution, up to 1,200 individual
toys a day. Like many other companies, they were hit hard by the
Depression. In late 1930, production
was ceased and they declared bankruptcy. Their newly opened "castle"
was put up for auction by the courts and sold to a milk distributor in
1932. The building still stands today (2016).
Craigcraft Toy Logo
The CraigCraft Destroyer
The Tillicum Destroyer
Tillicum Logo 1928-1931
Tillicum Toys Inc. Fireboat ca 1929
Around the year 1933 former
president of Tillicum Toys Inc., Mr. Joseph "J.K."
Weddell, moved to the New
York area and restarted the company as Tillicum Sales Corporation
based out of New York City. The new east coast company sold a
handful of mass produced cardboard boxed sets of smaller scaled,
less detailed wooden boats than their Tacoma product line, along
with a few larger sailboats, a battleship, and ferry-styled boats.
TSC's most popular product
was the "Bath Tub Set", in which some examples have been seen with
packaging design specifically made for sale in Macy's Department
Store. The "Bath Tub Set" had seven pieces- four boats, one barge,
one lighthouse, and one buoy. In the earlier TSC designs, the
lighthouse and some of these simplified boats borrowed styling from
their larger Tacoma-made versions.
Tillicum Bath Tub Set
At some point
during the 1930's, Milton Bradley purchased the trademark and
continued production of the Tillicum line. These "Tiny Boats for
Little Folks" sets were even more streamlined and the line
eventually incorporated plastic parts as technology allowed. MB's
most popular sets were the "Harbor Set", "Junior Harbor Set", and
"Convoy Set", comprising each of between four and ten individual
pieces intended for "Table, Tub, or Floor Play". The last Milton
Bradley Tillicum ad I have seen is in a November 1953 "Life"
A Milton Bradley Merchant Marine Set
Various Tillicum Toys Inc. Cars
if you have questions or information about these Tillicum toys.