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A&E Tool and Gauge Co.


The A&E Tool and Gauge Co. was founded by Alvin and Earl Herdklotz in 1943. At first, the company made measuring tools, but by the end of WWII orders from the department of defense dryed up and the brothers decided to start manufacturing die-cast toys. 

They decided to call their new line of toys Midgetoy and during the 1950s and 60s, which were prosperous times for die-cast toy makers, Midgetoy established itself as the number two US die-cast toy manufacturer. By the late 1960s the price of zinc alloys had increased sharply because zinc was needed for military purposes (Vietnam war) and Midgetoy was forced to cease production of much of the lines of toys they had been making sofar. 

It was during this period that the 'Mini' line, which is of interest to 87th scale collectors, was introduced. The 'Mini' line consisted of smaller, simple die-cast toys in which less metal was used and these could thus be sold at a lower price. During the 1970s the company completely concentrated on the Mini line, the models were packaged on blister cards and were also available in a variety of sets. In 1981, the company was sold to a group of investors but since no new products were introduced at the time the company rapidly lost it's marketshare. In 1983 the Herdklotz brothers bought back the company but found that the machinery was in such a bad state that it would be difficult to restart production and decided that it would be best to sell off the remaining inventory. Midgetoy models are regularly up for auction on Ebay US, and many of the mint models offered there by die-cast dealers originally came from the sale of this remaining inventory.

These are the models from the 'Mini' series we have found sofar:

Cadillac ambulance
Cadillac convertible
Chevrolet Corvette
Chevrolet wrecker
Ford GT40
Ford Ranchero
Ford Torino
Jaguar XKE
MG Midget
Volkswagen Beetle
Willys Jeep 
(pictured above)
(pictured below)

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