The toy car in Tagalog is called “kotse-kotsehan” or “laruang kotse.” Also called model cars, toy cars are among the favorite toys of young boys and wonderful collectibles for car enthusiasts. On the other hand, toy trucks are called “trak-trakan.” But regardless of the type of vehicle, most Filipino young boys love to play with these small wonders.
Like dolls, toy cars are said to have existed since the late Stone Age, or about 7,500 years ago. This is after a tiny stone car with two axles and four wheels was uncovered in an excavation site in Kiziltepe district, in Mardin, Turkey. The ancient toy, which is now on display at Mardin Museum, is now believed to be the world’s oldest toy car.
Meanwhile, the origin of toy car manufacturing goes back to the late 1800s, shortly after cars were invented. One of the first companies to create toy cars is Meccano in Liverpool, England, established by Frank Hornby in 1898. It was originally known for creating model construction systems, which Hornby later called Mechanics Made Easy.
In 1933, the then- Meccano Ltd. released its first toy cars called Modelled Miniatures, which were renamed Dinky Toys the following year. Eventually, Dinky Toys included miniatures of aircraft, ships, and trucks. By 1938, there were already more than 300 different Dinky Toys and most of them were exported to Australia and sold in packs.
But before Meccano, a toy company in Paris, France named Toys Rossignol has been creating toy trains and trolleys. Founded by Charles Rossignol in 1868, the toy company marked them as CR trains. In 1905, Rossignol released the first clockwork-powered toy trains that ran on tracks. The company produced the iconic toys until it closed in 1962.
In the US, the TootsieToy brand by brothers, Charles O. and Samuel Dowst, is a pioneer in making toy cars. Dubbed as America’s Oldest Toy Company, the brand Tootsietoy was trademarked in 1924 but the Dowst brothers have been producing die-cast cars since 1906. The company is now owned by J. Lloyd International, Inc., and still makes toy cars.
Also in the US, Mattel co-founder Elliot Handler invented Hot Wheels and released them in 1968. Mattel is the same company that invented Barbie dolls and bought the Matchbox brand in 1997. Matchbox toy cars were introduced in 1953 by Lesney Products in the UK and competed against Corgi Toys, which Mattel also bought in 1989.
In the Philippines, toy cars are also very popular among young boys. But while most commercial toy cars are tempting, many fathers can easily make toy cars. Even young boys can make DIY (Do-it-yourself) toy cars out of empty cans and scrap wood. All they need are some basic tools, a piece of string, a wild imagination, and Filipino ingenuity.
Use kotse-kotsehan in a sentence.
Nasa akin pa ang unang kotse-kotsehan ko. Ginawa namin yun ng tatay ko nung sampung taong gulang ako.
I still have my first toy car. My father and I made it when I was 10 years old.