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America on the Move
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Buddy 'L' toy steam shovel

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Buddy "L" toy steam shovel
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Richard Strauss, Negative #: 2003-19281


This object appears in the following sections:

Americans Adopt the Auto:
Americans Adopt the Auto — Creating a Nation of Drivers


The Motor Boys, by Clarence Young

Buddy “L” concrete mixer

Toy road roller

Buddy “L” Toy Steam Shovel
Catalog #: 314637.1261, Accession #: 314,637
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This Buddy “L” Steam Shovel was made in 1926. Buddy “L” toys were named after the son of the owner of the company, Fred Lundahl. When the company started, it made auto and truck parts, and then branched out into making hardy toys with moving parts. The company also made toy cars, dump trucks, delivery vans, fire engines, and construction equipment. The manufacturer marketed the toys to boys, claiming “They appeal to boys because they really work.”
Physical Description
artifact. 13 3/4” x 20 5/8” x 9”; steel; roof has been painted over the original, in a different color. worn Buddy “L” label on side; red base. turn handle to lower and raise the shovel. Manufactured in East Moline, Illinois by the Moline Pressed Steel Company.
Date Made:
Manufactured in East Moline
Bequest of Edith R. Meggers
Almost as soon as the first car took to the roads, American children began to play with car toys, read about cars in books, and even learn how the internal combustion engine worked. Making cars a part of kids' lives-even for kids whose families didn't own cars-naturalized the invention, and made it appealing and desirable to future generations of potential car owners. All this material helped create a market for cars in the next generation of car buyers, and-because it targeted young men over young women-it helped shape a society in which women were far less likely to own and drive a car than men.
Related People, Places, and Events
Moline Pressed Steel Company.

Edith R, Meggers
Part of a large bequest to the museum.

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