#2006 Adams Road Grader. The year was probably 1948. At the
same time, I received a bright yellow Wooldridge Dump Truck
#2000. Together, we spent many happy hours making roads
and ditches in the garden with these great Doepke toys.
Company, Inc. of Rossmoyne, Ohio. The name is correctly
pronounced “Dep-key.” When they first appeared on the market
in 1946 they simply stunned the toy industry. There were no
other toys on the market that came even close to the quality,
scale, size, and realism of these “Model Masterpieces” of the
Of course that quality came with a price. Dad had to shell out at
least $11.95 for one of these babies. In those days that was a
steep price, but Doepke ads countered that criticism with the
claim that their toys would “outlast others by 3 to 1.” And,
judging by the number of Doepke toys still in existence some 60
years later, they were probably right.
The Doepke story is told in the Doepke Collector’s Guide
published by Neil and Lois McElwee in 1995. Reprints of these
can still be purchased on E-bay. Other historical information
can be found in the Literature section link.
(now deceased) when he was 81 years old, but he was unable
to provide much specific information on any of the toys due to
the fact that his role was primarily in sales, whereas his brother,
Charles, was responsible for the manufacturing end of things.
Charles died in 1987 at the age of 75.
I also corresponded with Doepke Publicity Director, Mr. Wade
Atkinson (Wade’s son is pictured in several Doepke ads). He
recalled many successful sales campaigns. Competitors were
offering cheaper (and lighter weight) toys which led Charles and
Fritz to close their doors and pursue other interests. Some of
Mr. Atkinson’s Doepke recollections can be found in the book
he authored entitled, Two Feet From The Third Rail, published
Perhaps because a Model Toy was an early favorite of mine, or
maybe it’s due to the fact that I admire the outstanding quality,
realism and just plain magnificence, of these big toys, that I
place the Doepke product line among the best construction toys
ever made in America!