Holgate Toys is known for their colorful, durable, and quality made hardwood children's toys. As a division of Pepperell Braiding Company, all Holgate Toys are manufactured in Pennsylvania, making them one of the few exclusively made-in-America toy companies.1
The Holgate family woodworking business began in 1789 in Roxborough, Pennsylvania, when Cornelius Holgate began manufacturing wooden handles and wooden articles for homes, farms, and factories. Four generations later, just after the Civil War, the family moved the business to Kane, Pennsylvania to be near the vast hardwood forests in north central Pennsylvania.2
After 140 continuous years of making a variety of wooden products, in 1929 Holgate began researching and developing safe, educational, and playful wooden preschool toys, capitalizing on the growing kindergarten movement in America. Jarvis Rockwell, the brother of artist Norman Rockwell, was Holgate's main toy designer for their first thirty years of their toy business. He was known as one of America's finest toy designers due to his attention to toy safety, durability, and broad play value appeal.3
Some of the classic toy designs from the 1930s and 1940s include the Bingo Bed (1934), the Rocky Color Cone (1938), Jumbo Lacing Bead (1948), and the Ducking Duck (1947).4 Another famous Holgate toy was the specially commissioned red trolley car (1990) which Mr. Rogers used daily on his television show, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The company continues to produce a large variety of infant toys, building blocks, lacing toys, and trucks, planes, and vehicles.5
Other custom wood products that Holgate Toys manufactures are commercial display systems, customized promotional items, and child-sized furniture such as step stools and chairs.6
Now located in Bradford, Pennsylvania, Holgate Toys purchases wood only from sustainably managed forests and is a member of the Forest Stewardship Council.7 They also use non-toxic paints and finishes which are lead free and nickel free.
- 1. CBS News. “Finding Safe Toys.” CBS News. < http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-501083_162-3317774.html > 1 June 2012.
- 2. “Holgate Toys continues tradition of American woodworking.” Proud American Trading Post. < http://www.proudamericantradingpost.com/Holgate-Toys-continues-tradition-of-American-woodworking_b_102.html > 1 June 2012.
- 3. “Holgate History.” Holgate Toys. < http://www.holgatetoy.com/Holgate-History_ep_49.html > 1 June 2012.
- 4. Op.cit., Finding Safe Toys.”
- 5. Holgate Toys. < http://www.holgatetoy.com/ > 11 June 2012.
- 6. “Holgate Toy Company.” AgMap. < http://agmap.psu.edu/businesses/2477 > 1 June 2012.
- 7. Op.cit., “Holgate Toys continues tradition of American woodworking.”