Toy Power Shovel

Kentontoys, manufactured by the Kenton Hardware Company of Kenton, Ohio, was born out of the Kenton Lock Manufacturing Company in the 1890s, which produced cast iron locks, doorknobs, and hardware for furniture. In 1894, Kenton ventured into the newly expanding market of toy banks and eventually produced many different types of toys well into the 20th century. This toy steam shovel called the “Marion,” from around 1930, represents a power shovel produced by another important Ohio company, the Marion Steam Shovel Company.
Toys such as this shovel raise questions about the relationship between technological innovation and social impact. The use of steam-powered vehicles to move large amounts of earth and other natural obstacles made it possible to expand into previously remote areas. The Marion Steam Shovel Company provided shovels that helped alter land for the expanding railroads and for the digging of the Panama Canal.
Currently not on view
Object Name
steam shovel
date made
ca 1930
Kenton Hardware Company
Physical Description
green (overall color)
red (overall color)
iron (overall material)
Place Made
United States: Ohio, Kenton
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Family & Social Life
Artifact Walls exhibit
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Sears, Roebuck and Company

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