Super Sized Tonka Trucks

Matthew Randall

If you were born after 1946, there is a good chance you’ve had your hands on a Tonka Truck.  These steel toys with jumbo hard plastic tires, enrobed in their iconic yellow paint, have been banged around playgrounds and back yards across America for decades; used as hard as the actual heavy equipment they mimic.  In the grip of a creative youngster they moved pebbles and rocks from one spot to another for no apparent reason, shoveled lawns into pockmarked trip hazards full of holes, and piled mounds of sand in random places…just because it could be done.   Another common use for these working playthings was to redirect small bodies of water in order to make larger ones, commonly right after a strong rain storm or at the beach.   Similar to constructing a great canal, the die cast dump trucks and front loaders would dig away at the Earth, each scoop helping to move the water a couple inches closer towards its intended destination.

Generally there were two temptations that the users of these toys had to renounce at all times. The first was to not leave the trucks in the yard, on the floor, or at the base of a stairway where some unsuspecting soul could trip over, step on, or end up unexpectedly roller skating towards a wall or busy road.  Second restriction was that the hauling fresh and costly composting soil from the family garden, or any potted fauna in our around the homestead to any new destination, was verboten.  Thanks to the curiosity and industriousness of youngsters, neither request could ever be followed completely. Unnamed multitudes of people have found themselves starring at the ceiling, or welcomed with living rooms befouled in rich, dark potting soil – pungent odors, stained rugs, and all; both infractions always triggering the disapproval of any parental units present at the time.  

Despite these nuances in how they are enjoyed, they all succumb to the same fate - their factory paint chips, bodies become tattooed with dents, and those jet black wheels pop off the axles.  It is viscerally painful for many to see these stalwart toys become crippled with the passage of time.   But this slow deterioration is almost always due to the hard play and love provided by the youth who treasured them, ultimately fulfilling a toy’s defined destiny: to be used.   This emotional response to a plaything shows that the creators of these steel trucks captured some latent appreciation within people for good, honest skilled manual labor, and the tools that support this kind of work - regardless of age.

Working Dumps

Dump trucks move things.   The observation is obvious, but not always the impact.   There has always been a need within humanity for large amounts of heavy stuff to be moved conveniently, safely, and efficiently.  Wood chips, refuse, recycling, aggregate, tar, salt, metal, and more could not be removed from or introduced into the communities of the world without dump trucks.  These vehicles are the backbone of any major operation that requires material to be transported.

To do their jobs well, they need to be tough.  Rolling examples abound in every city and town on the planet that carry scars from their daily work, and nobody blinks an eye.  It is what a person expects to see when viewing one of these robust machines – physical proof of a hard lived life.   We rely on them for much, and expect them to work regardless of what is asked.  The small Tonka Trucks were expected to hold up in the play yard, and the big steel trucks are expected to do the same in our back yard.  

Reliable Options

For over a century Messer Truck Equipment has provided our customers with dump truck options that hold up.  Bodies, hoists, hitch-plates, lights, load covers, headboards, steel racks, and more are on offer to make any truck a long lasting, versatile, and reliable machine.  Anybody driving around Southern Maine and New Hampshire will notice our distinctive black, yellow, and white Messer mud flaps on the back of some of the most calloused rigs rolling - all who know what it is like to work a job where you punch a clock.

In order to continue our long tradition of building trucks that work for you, we have elected to partner with companies that our customers can count on provide quality equipment to get tasks done.   Each organization brings their own specialized strengths, and allows us to offer the most effective and reliable dump truck options and accessories that we trust to keep our customers moving.  Many of these companies we have been distributors for over decades, and as a result we have developed strong, supportive, and effective relationships with each:

  • Galion-Godwin:  Steel and stainless landscaper dump bodies, started in 1870.
  • TBEI: Founded in 1969; manufacturers of our ‘Messer Dump’ product line.
  • Knapheide: All steel constructed dump body, founded in 1848.
  • Beau-Roc: Heavy commercial dump bodies, building truck products since 1985.
  • Venco/Venturo: Established in 1952, they produce rugged hoists you can count on.
  • US Tarps: Mesh and asphalt tarps, covering dump bodies from 2001 onward.
  • Buyers: Lighting, hitches, hooks, and more use to accessorize your truck, since 1946.
  • Iroquois Mfg: Building steel and stainless value dump bodies.  Started in 1925.

The Tonka Truck became a toy that a youth could rely on being able to withstand the punishment that came with heavy use, regardless of the weather.   Soaking rain, deep snow, and searing heat – the tough little toy truck could withstand it all.   When you are looking to buy, replace, or repair your adult sized Tonka Truck, the expectation is that it will hold up as well as the resilient little toy we all adored.   Contact Messer Truck Equipment to help make your dump truck work hard for you and your company.