We've had a question from a blog reader about the manufacturer of the promotional Tucker ashtrays (see a photo of a maroon example to the left). Does anyone know the name of the company that made them? If so, please contact us and we'll pass along the information.
UPDATE 5/19/11 10:31 AM: TACA Historian Martyn Donaldson offers the following results of his research into the issue of the Tucker ashtrays:
I have no solid evidence, but I believe they were produced by National Products, a division of Banthrico Industries, Chicago, Illinois. Banthrico spent much of the 1930s producing cast metal piggy-banks in the shapes of buildings or animals.
After World War II, Banthrico focused on the production of promotional model cars or "dealer promos" for the major auto companies. Most of the early models were made using the slush-mold method of casting (as is the case with the Tucker ashtrays), but some of their later offerings also doubled as coin-banks.
The earliest Tucker models, whether finished in gold plating or painted maroon, are easily distinguished by having no fender skirt outline cast into the rear fenders. This was a very short run before the mold was modified to have the outline cast in place, hence ashtrays with these early models mounted on them are very rare. Even with a higher selling price of $12.00 when new, the gold-plated ones easily outsold the maroon items, which sold for $10.00. This fact alone makes the maroon ones a little harder to come by today.
(Post credit: Kit Fox and Martyn Donaldson; photo credit: http://www.worthpoint.com)