Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1937-38 Ohio Art Snow White Beach Toys

A trip to the beach in 1938 was made all the more fun with the introduction of Snow White sand toys from the Ohio Art Company. Tin pails, shovels, and sprinkling cans were produced in a wide assortment of sizes and lithographed designs.

This first example shows Snow White sitting upon a tree stump with dwarfs gathered around. The pail measures approximately 5.5" tall (not including handle) and 5.25" across top rim. It also features a lipped-base


Lipped-base pail courtesy of the Michael Filippello Collection.

Standing about the same height and incorporating the same artwork, this second pail differs from the one above only in not having a lipped-base.

Images via Hakes.


The lithograph encircling this next pail has the princess sitting at the forest edge with the dwarfs approaching from both sides. The "Snow White" font at bottom is small. The pail has a normal base and measures approximately 4.25" in height (not including the rounded handle).

Even toys that look the same at first glance, may have interesting variations. A similar, but slightly larger pail shares the same artwork. Yet, the "Snow White" text at base is much more prominent. In addition, Grumpy was hidden under the handle attachment in the above example, but he's quite visible here. Also, the handle on this one is flat, not rounded.

The smaller and larger pails shown side-by-side. Both are imprinted with "Ohio Art Co." and "©1938 Walt Disney Enterprises."

From above.

Image courtesy of Brian at Disneyana Vintage Collectibles 4U.


A couple pails were listed in The Collector's Encyclopedia of Disneyana by Michael Stern and David Longest, p.142-143 (Collector Books, 1992). The smaller of the two is identical to one above. The second is a 10" version with artwork of Snow and the dwarfs running through the forest.

The artwork of Snow White on the tree stump is pictured in a 1938 wholesale catalog from the N. Shure Company of Chicago (page 1024). Three different sized tin pails are offered: 3.25", 5.25", and 6.75". Each comes complete with a sand shovel. The sets were sold to retailers per dozen for just 38¢, 80¢, and $1.95, respectively.

Ad image via gdawg.


Also pictured in the above N. Shure Company catalog is a Snow White watering can, overall size 9" x 11". Wholesale price $1.96 per dozen. The artwork shows Snow placing a flower garland on a deer.

A smaller 6.5" version (below) of the same lithographed can was sold by Hakes in June 2008 for $556.60, and another in July, 2012 for $172.50. On the opposite side, Doc holds a sprinkling can as the dwarfs wash up. Top and bottom are bordered by bunnies.

The 6.5" can (listed as 6") is pictures side-by-side with an 8" in The Collector's Encyclopedia of Disneyana, pages 142-143.


An Ohio Art "Sand Toys" advertisement appeared on page 78 of the April 1938 issue of Playthings, the premier journal of the toy trade industry. An array of sand toys are seen in Cecil Munsey's 1974 Disneyana book.

Image scans via gdawg and the Michael Filippello Collection.

A similar ad from Playthings September 1939.

Image courtesy of the William Stillman Collection.

The Ohio Art Company was nothing if not prolific when it came to the production of high quality tin toys for Disney.


  1. I love vintage tin-litho Disney toys, the color and graphics are so amazing. Considering the fact that these were meant to be used with water, sand, dirt, etc, it is surprising that any have survived. The only vintage litho item I have is an big metal spinning top with Mickey on it.

    1. These beach toys were certainly "built to last." Not somethings most people say about Disney merch today.

      I've seen pics of some vintage Mickey spinning tops. A number of different designs. It's cool that you came across one.