Kenton Hardware Co. was founded by F.M. Perkins in Kenton, Ohio. This company (1890 - 1952) was first known as the Kenton Lock Manufacturing Co., and incorporated in May, 1890. Perkins was interested in a factory to make his patented refrigerator locks and used temporary quarters at the J. Forbins Scroll Mill in Kenton as his first site.
Toy production began in 1894 because of patent disputes with a line of horse-drawn fire equipment, banks, and toy stoves and the name was changed to the Kenton Hardware Manufacturing Co.
In 1903 Kenton became part of National Novelty Corp. (a big company at the time), and it continued its toy line under the name Wing Mfg. Co.
Involved in several unsuccessful takeovers, it eventually emerged as a separate unit, the Kenton Hardware Co., and again produced toys successfully from 1920-1935. Very early Kenton toys were not marked; only about ten percent of everything they made was marked. Those toys that were marked are plainly imprinted with the company name on the underside of the toy. In 1927 most of the company's toy production was horsedrawn toys, but this was phased out to be replaced by automotive toys. A few large automotive toys first appeared in 1923, but most were produced between 1933 and 1940. Small automotive toys in the 10¢ and 250 category, from 4 to 6 inches long, were made in the 1930s.
Kenton ceased production in 1952 and assets were sold in 1953. The Littlestown Hardware & Foundry acquired many Kenton toy designs and marketed them under the brand "Utexiqual". Littlestown folded in 1982.
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