Tonka Toys began in the basement of a Minnesota schoollhouse in 1946. Six employees turned out just two models, a steam shovel and a crane. By the early 1970s, Tonka had grown to a huge operation with 1300 employees producing 400,000 vehicles per week. Hardly a boy born since mid-century grew up without a Tonka toy--or several. Toys of this kind, detailed and durable models of trucks, construction equipment, and other vehicles have fueled the fantasies of young boys (and girls, more recently) for generations.