Dillon-Beck Manufacturing, U.S.A. - Wannatoys

The Dillon Beck Manufacturing Company was located in Hillside, New Jersey, USA and had been in business since the 1930s. In 1940 they switched from making fishing lures, to plastic toys, in the hope that they would not be classified as non-essential items. Prior to this date the company, under the direction of Daniel Dillon and Edward Rowen, was making "Sure Catch" fishing lures and marketing them under the slogan, "Wanna Catch The Limit". As the situation in Europe grew worse, they knew that it was only a matter of time until the metal components needed to complete the plastic lures would came under government regulations. Dillon Beck's new toy line was called "WANNATOY", a name inspired by their earlier fishing lure slogan.

In 1941 they introduced the first plastic boats and their second plastic airplane as the demand for war related toys was growing as stories made the headlines. It was decided to start work on a cruiser, a freighter, a submarine, and an aeroplane that would be officially introduced at the March 1941 International Toy Fair held in New York City. The new lines were a huge hit and by July 1941 the company was using all its available molding capacity to produce the three ships and a Bell P-39 Airacobra.

Dillon Beck's P-39 was an improvement over Kilgore's earlier DC-3 aeroplane. The P-39 had a two-piece fuselage, which gave it a nice weight and made it much stronger, its thick wings didn't warp, and its wheels and propeller were made out of plastic. This eliminated the problems Kilgore had experienced with its rubber deteriorating. However, one drawback with the P-39 was its acute lack of detail, an issue that would be resolved when Ideal later purchased and reworked the mold.

Government restrictions on manufacturing followed as peaceful production ceased and American industry rose to meet the challenge. U.S. toy manufacturers were faced with a growing list of restricted materials - toys made from rubber, tin, and steel were the first to go when these materials were added to the restricted list in March 1942. While the larger toy manufacturers and retailers had sufficient inventories on hand to get them through to the 1942 Christmas season, it was obvious that substitution was going to be key to the industry's continued operation.

By the end of 1942, Dillon Beck had turned 100% to Defense work, turning out molded parts for sextants, razors, and weather station instruments. As their toy production ceased, they turned the molds for their three ships over to Plastic Toys of Byesville, Ohio for a royalty, and they sold the mold for their P-39 and an unfinished mold for their first plastic Jeep to the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company. The Jeep mold had no interior detail and little detail to the rear so Ideal added interior and dashboard detail and details to the rear such as a petrol can rest, towing loop, and spare tyre.

After the war, Dillon Beck was one of the first toy makers to return to toy production and they introduced a futuristic looking Art Deco Sedan to their line. Over 1 million of this toy were sold by the end of the first post-war Christmas period. The company continued to produce a variety of toys into the 1950s when the company switched to making its toys from a softer plastic, its earlier toys having been a hard plastic.

I have located information that suggests the company was still in operation in the 1960s producing plastic home and kitchen wares. I have yet to find out if they were still producing toys at that time.