The story of the All American Toy Co. and the California Ink Company toy tanker truck, as I know it. By Pat Russell

The California Ink Company originated as a business in 1891 in Los Angeles as a subsidiary of Union Oil Company. The company's factory was located in West Berkeley, California, with branches in in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In the early 1950s the All American Toy Co. created a tanker truck. A photo of the toy company’s office taken in May of 1955 shows a red and yellow tanker truck on a display shelf. This Red and Yellow tanker truck never appeared in any of the company’s catalogs and it was thought to be one of a kind prototype.

In recent years a Blue California Ink Co. tanker toy truck showed up in Utah. It had belonged to a young boy whose father worked at the ink company. The man who owned the tanker truck sent me photos to view. The truck definitely was an All American Toy Co. toy with its exclusive air horn steering system.

On April 11, 2011, a second California Ink Co. Blue tanker surfaced on Ebay and sold for $7,600.

In May 2011, Jeff Trnavsky’s mother read the recent newspaper article about the Ebay truck and called her son to ask if he still had his. Luckily Jeff had wrapped his truck in newspaper and stored it, and YES! He still owned it.  Jeff soon called me and related the story of his truck and how his Grandpa Sam had given it to him around 1960.  This particular tanker had belonged to the President of California Ink where it was displayed in the company’s office. Jeff’s Grandfather was assistant general sales manager for the ink company, so when the president was cleaning out his office, he asked if Sam would like the truck for his grandson, Jeff.  Grandpa Sam accepted and young Jeff enjoyed playing with the Blue tanker, especially with its air horn steering system.  .  

On June 3, 2011, Dean McPike and I drove to Coos Bay to see Jeff’s truck. After an enjoyable visit and learning more about the history of the truck, we returned to Salem, truck in hand.  Here are some photos.  The truck has come full circle, and you can visit it in person at the All American Toy Co. in Salem. 

Thanks, Jeff

Truck with everything on display Truck with everything on display
Jeff and the California Ink Company toy tanker truck
Front view
More pictures of the California Ink Company toy truck
Front view Front view