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The Ertl Company is an American toy company best known for its die-cast metal alloy collectible replicas (or scale models) of farm equipment and vehicles. The company is based in Dyersville, Iowa, home of the National Farm Toy Museum. In the 1990s, Ertl also began production in Mexico and laid off employees of the original Ertl factory, which became a distribution facility and outlet store.
Plastic model kits
In the late 1970s, Ertl offered a series of plastic model kits of heavy commercial trucks, over-the-road trailers, tractors, plows, and farm wagons. Although these kits never achieved the hoped-for popularity, they apparently led to the 1981 acquisition of AMT.
American muscle diecast
In the early 1990s Ertl started the American Muscle line up of diecast collectible cars and trucks. These were 1:18 scale replicas that quickly found a dedicated following of baby boomers. Limited editions of 2,500 were especially sought after. Many of the earliest releases have fetched upwards of $500. The most popular and desirable is the 1957 Chevy Bel Air known as Peggy Sue.
Ertl has been producing farm toy replicas since 1945. For over 60 years, the company has produced farm toys for industry brands such as: John Deere, Case IH, New Holland, and AGCO. Ertl has also, on different occasions, acquired the licenses to produce die-cast vehicles and figurines as well as model kits for Looney Tunes, Garfield, Thomas the Tank Engine, Super Mario Bros. DC Comics, and Star Wars. In 1999 Ertl was purchased by Racing Champions. Ertl is currently a brand under the RC2 Corporation umbrella.
Important Dates in Racing Champions/Ertl Company History
- 1945 - The Ertl Company is founded by Fred Ertl, Sr., in Dubuque, Iowa.
- 1959 - The company moves to larger facilities in Dyersville, Iowa.
- 1967 - Ertl is acquired by Victor Comptometer Corporation.
- 1971 - Ertl acquires Carter Tru-Scale.
- 1973 - Ertl begins manufacturing plastic model kits.
- 1974 - Ertl acquires Structo Stamped Steel.
- 1977 - Kidde, Inc. acquires Ertl with purchase of Victor Comptometer Corp.
- 1981 - Ertl acquires AMT model kit company.
- 1985 - Ertl acquires MPC model kits.
- 1989 - Racing Champions is founded by Bob Dods, Boyd Meyer and Peter Chung.
- 1990 - Ertl releases the first Precision Series farm toy replica.
- 1991-92 - Racing Champions obtains NASCAR license
- 1992 - Fred Ertl, Jr. retires
- 1995 - Hanson plc consolidates its U.S. companies to form U.S.I. (United States Industries).
- 1993- Ertl begins the Wing Of Texaco die cast airplane collection
- 1996 - Racing Champions introduces its Mint line of non-racing vehicles. Racing Champions Corporation is formed.
- 1997 - Racing Champions completes its initial public stock offering (RACN on NASDAQ).
- 1999 - Company produces a commercial version of the Eternity puzzle
- 1999 - Racing Champions acquires The Ertl Company.
- 2000 - Ertl acquires Britains Limited
- 2003 - Racing Champions Ertl acquired Chicago-based Learning Curve International, Inc.,
- 2008 - Auto World (a division of Round 2, LLC) signs licensing agreement to produce and market AMT, MPC, Polar Lights, and 24 and 18 scale diecast
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