Muscatine Art Center Peter Mar Toys PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Lynn Bartenhagen   
Friday, 08 June 2012 11:22
JUNE 1, 2012


The public is invited to join the Muscatine Art Center in welcoming local historians Bill Lindsay and Tom Meerdink as they present a talk on the history of the Peter Products Company and the Peter-Mar Toys. The program will take place Sunday, June 10 at 2:00 pm in the Muscatine Art Center’s Music Room. Admission is free.


In 1941 Ralph Lohr and his partner C.C. Hakes opened the Peter Products Company in Muscatine and began manufacturing wooden household items for retailers like Sears Roebuck. Their venture was successful but World War II caused lumber to be in short supply, most of it going to government contracts or other manufacturing priorities related to the war effort.  The Peter Products company was faced with the choice of closing or starting other product lines.  Under the new name of Peter-Mar Toys, they began purchasing scrap lumber to manufacture toys of their own design. They first produced military style Jeeps and guns and over time expanded to include farm equipment such as tractors, hay racks and wagons. The company's assembly lines were later re-tooled and new designs including a Ferris wheel, Noah's Ark and a trolley made. Peter-Mar Toys closed at the end of the war.


A display of original Peter-Mar toys is currently on view in the Musser Museum, gifts of Jim Burr, Mary Gaeta, Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Paul, Jan Ransom, Jerry Schreurs and Ev & Howard Hammann, in memory of Francis & James Tomasson.


Talk: “Muscatine’s Toy Story”

Who: Bill Lindsay and Tom Meerdink

When: Sunday, June 10 2012

Time: 2:00 PM

Where: The Muscatine Art Center’s Music Room

Admission to this program is FREE.

Please contact Katy Doherty, Program Coordinator, with any questions or concerns at

563-263-8282 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


The Muscatine Art Center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from

10 AM to 5 PM, Thursday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM Admission is FREE.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Joyce, February 05, 2014
I have a set of an orange tractor, green wagon, and hayrack in excellent condition--gift to my younger brother from our parents during WW2. Always thought they were very special. Very interesting to read the company history and to learn that they were made in Iowa as we live in NW Iowa.

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