Midgetoy founder passes

Submitted from John W. Vayo, owner of J.W. Antiques, Hebron, Ill., and author of “Midgetoy: An All American Toy Story.”

Perhaps the last surviving founder of any American toy company, Earl W. Herdklotz, passed on Nov. 13, 2008, in Rockford, Ill. Earl was secretary-treasurer of the Midgetoy division of A&E Tool and Gage.

Earl was the toy man who gave direction to Midgetoy and the more than 200 toys produced between 1946 and 1980. His brother Al (passed December 2002) was president and more the tool and gage entrepreneur of the brothers. A third brother, Richard (in ill health) worked with them, but never partnered.

In our many visits and discussions, cleaning the factory, or just talking, I was fortunate to be able to pick Earl’s knowledge and expertise regarding each toy, its development from drawing to wooden model prototype and finishing casting. He was forthcoming, honest and thorough in his presentations with me or anyone at toy shows or meetings.

Certainly the toy world, lovers of “Made in USA,” and collectors will now sorely miss Earl and his straightforward, dry humor approach to his beloved Midgetoys. I hope some of you met or had a chance to listen to his storied information as I did. Earl was 88.

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