The Erie Toys: A brief History
by Jose Heraud

The Parker White Metal Co. was established in the early 1900's in Erie, PA, by William Allen Parker, who invented an aluminum-zinc alloy of the highest purity to produce accurate castings for various related industries.

After the depression years, under new leadership of the Parker family, Fred Ziesenheim was hired to start a small factory for diecast toys, to compete in the ever expanding toy market, dominated by the Dowst brothers. He had worked for the Girard Co. and had the necessary experience. So, in 1936, Erie Metal Specialties, Inc. was created as a spinoff of PWMC. The first toys were done after the automobiles of the Parker family: a Lincoln Zephyr and a Packard convertible. These were done in two sizes: 3 1/2" and 6" long. Then, 5 pick-up trucks were produced, all based on Fords of the time. all 6" long.


Finally, 5 types of aircraft resulted, drawn by Mr. Ziesenheim himself. These were in two sizes too, small and large. These were: 3 Northrop(Beta, Gamma and Delta) and 2 Boeing(B-247D and B-17). The finishes were dipped-painted in vibrant colors, or chrome/copper-plated.

A small set(3 1/2" long) of 4 streamlined vehicles were also made and a cabover truck. These were supposed to have mudguards, but due to patent infringements with Tootsietoys, had to be deleted.

The factory only produced toys until 1939, probably due to legal problems with the Dowst Co. It closed operations before the start of WWII and did not reopened after the war.

Erie Boeing 247D without registration
Erie Boeing 247D without registration
Boeing 247D
Erie Boeing 247D
Erie Boeing set with B-17 Flying Fortresses and piggy-back with B-247D transport aircraft
Erie Chrome plated set
Erie Chrome plated set
Erie Chrome plated set N-1134
Erie Chrome plated set N-1134
Chrome plated set N-1134
Erie Beoing B-17 Flying Fortress
Erie Beoing B-17 Flying Fortress
Northrop Beta
Erie Northrop Beta
Erie Northrop Gamma
Erie Promotional truck

PWMC continued to produce metal alloy parts for various industries until the mid-sixties, when they moved to Georgia. In the mid-eighties, it changed name to PHB Diecasting and returned to Fairview, PA., where it operates until now.

EMSI is now a different company in Akron, NY. There are no records of the toy production that remain, and very little information.

Toys were sold in general stores in a limited way. Mostly individually wrapped or in boxed assorted sets with nice art deco designs, which are extremely hard to find.



All Erie models on diecastplus.info.

From an article originaly published in Antique Toy World in 2003