In some previous posts, I briefly discussed my childhood fascination with 54mm plastic “army men,” including Civil War toys. My collection included Marx, Timpo, Lido, MPC, Britains, and just about any other leading manufacturer of the era (as well as some oddballs that I have no clue now who made them). I occasionally received an allowance for doing my household chores and tasks, and once a week my parents would drive into town for groceries, banking, or shopping. I would spend the money on baseball cards, comic books, or on army men.
The Marx figures were my favorites, and I frequently augmented them with other troops as money and availability allowed. One time, I was at S.S. Kresge’s and bought a bag of Timmee Toys Union soldiers. I took them home and added them to the army as a fresh regiment of recruits. Over time, I came to dislike them, as they were much taller and heftier than the Marx figures and stood out (they also made easier targets for my marble-flicking opponents). I never bought another bag. I finally decided they were from Minnesota and were former lumberjacks.
The company was founded in Aurora, Illinois, in 1948 as a subsidiary of the Anchor Brush Company, which had been founded seven years earlier by a German immigrant named John G. Baumgartner. They made plastic molded hair brushes, combs, and similar products. He wanted to keep his machinery and employees busy, so he established the plastic toy company. It was eventually renamed Processed Plastic/TimMee Company and sold bags of figures at Wal-Mart and K-Mart. TimMee finally went out of business about 2005. The parent company is still around, now known as Anchor Advanced Products.
Timmee Toys’ diverse line included plastic casts from old lead figure molds, which explains the heft and bulk of many of their figures. The Civil War poses are relatively static and not terribly exciting. The good news is, forty-five years later, these figures have stood the test of time very well. The plastic is still soft and pliable, and the figures durable. So many of my Marx figures (particularly my World War II ones) are brittle and breaking apart. The Timmee lads are in fine shape.
A search of eBay will almost always bring up multiple auctions offering vintage Timmee (keep in mind it is sometimes spelled Tim-Mee or TimMee as your search) toys that can be purchased relatively inexpensively. However, despite looking many times, I have yet to pull the trigger and buy any more of these figures.