Buddy l Museum – Visit NOW 2023

The Buddy L Museum is a testament to the enduring legacy of the Buddy L toy line, named after the son of Fred A. Lundahl, the founder of the Moline Pressed Steel Company. Established as a dedication to the history and preservation of these iconic toys, the museum showcases a variety of Buddy L toys that were manufactured during the company’s heyday in the early to mid-20th century.

Throughout the 1920s, Buddy L toys grew exponentially, with their rugged, larger-than-life construction toys becoming a staple in the homes of many children. Made from the same materials and using the same manufacturing techniques as the International Harvester, a manufacturer of farming equipment, these toys were built to last. Their durability is evident as many vintage Buddy L trucks from this period are still in good working order today​1​.

Unfortunately, the golden era of Buddy L was relatively short-lived. The Great Depression devastated sales, and the death of Lundahl in 1933 at the age of 41 put immense pressure on the company, which inevitably led to its sale. The new owners began to cut corners on materials and construction techniques, a move that marked the end of the company’s reputation for high-quality, durable toys​1​.

Despite this, Buddy “L” trucks from the 1930s are often in greater demand than those from the 1920s. This is likely because fewer of them were made, making them rarer and more sought after by collectors​1​. In terms of quality, the Buddy L trucks from the 1930s were still well-made with many features that made them stand out. For instance, the dump trucks from that decade had functioning features like a carefully hinged tailgate, rubber-covered wheels, opening and closing cab doors, and a working steering wheel. The secret to the toy’s endurance was its baked-enamel finish, which helped prevent the pressed steel from rusting​1​.

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Buddy L Toys were robust, strong enough for an adult to sit on, making play that much more realistic. The line was also diverse, featuring a range of vehicles such as dump trucks, lumber trucks, wreckers with working pulleys and cranks, and even detailed models like a pile driver with a corrugated pressed steel roof. More elaborate designs included a trench digger on caterpillar tracks and a steam shovel with a crank that allowed children to dig trenches​1​.

Today, the Buddy L Museum serves as a crucial hub for collectors and enthusiasts of these enduring toys. As the world’s largest buyer of pressed steel toys, the museum offers services like free Buddy L Toy Appraisals and tips on dating a Buddy L truck. Additionally, they provide identification services for Buddy L trucks​1​.

The museum also collaborates with popular TV shows like History Channel’s American Pickers, offering consulting services and appraising vintage toy collections. The museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Buddy L toys, and they frequently buy vintage toy collections, offering some of the highest prices for these valuable pieces of history​1​.

Proudly bearing the title of America’s most prestigious name in vintage transportation toys, the Buddy L Museum is more than a collection of old toys. It is a piece of American history, a testament to an era of quality craftsmanship, and a celebration of childhood memories that have stood the test of time​1​.



Buddy L is a historic American toy brand that was founded in 1920 by Fred Lundahl. The Buddy L Toy Company started in East Moline, Illinois. The toys were originally manufactured by the Moline Pressed Steel Company, which was also started by Fred A. Lundahl in 1910. The company became well-known for its line of pressed-steel trucks and construction equipment.

  1. “When did Buddy L Toys go out of business?”
    • It’s important to note that while there have been changes in ownership and periods of inactivity, Buddy L as a brand has not completely gone out of business. In fact, it was purchased by Empire Industries in the 1970s and later by other companies. As of my last training data in September 2021, Buddy L toys were still being produced under the ownership of Empire of Carolina, Inc. For the most recent information, it would be best to look up the current status of the company.
  2. “Where were Buddy L toys made?”
    • Buddy L toys were initially made in East Moline, Illinois, by the Moline Pressed Steel Company. The company was created by Fred A. Lundahl, who intended to manufacture fenders and other parts for the full-sized automobile industry, but shifted to producing toys. Buddy L became known for its durable, realistic pressed steel toys including trucks, cars, and construction equipment.
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