Keystone Company History

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The intent of this site is to research and share the true story of Keystone Manufacturing.  There are many bits and pieces of Keystone history out there, some correct and others not, that tell a very similar story. I will be gathering and reviewing everything out there to remove the inaccuracies and create a cohesive story of Keystone’s history.  The history will be built on confirmed facts, documents and catalogs.  If a bit of information cannot be verified with written proof it will not be added.  As the history of Keystone is fleshed out there will be inaccuracies that will change as more information comes to light.  This will usually pertain to time frames of production, company personal times of service and company movements to new locations.  Included in this history will be information on the Marks Brothers Company, Jacrim Manufacturing, Keystone Manufacturing, Keystone Wood Toys, Keystone Camera Company and Dover Film Company as all of these companies were connected at some point.  Be understanding to the process of finding the true history of a company, or anything for that matter.  If you can add to the Keystone Company history with verified information I would love to hear from you.

1919Keystone Manufacturing Company is founded.  Keystone Manufacturing was incorporated to build machines etc., with $20,000 capital by Edward M. Swartz, J.M. Welsman, Isidore Marks and Benjamin Marks.

1920 Keystone Manufacturing Company moves from 101 Albany street to 53 Wareham street in March.

1920 Marks Brothers Company moves from 40 Winchester street to 615 Albany street in March.

1922Jacrim Manufacturing Company is founded in late summer or fall .  Jacrim Manufacturing was incorporated to make metal products with $10,000 capital by Charles H. Jackson, Arthur L. Jackson and Chester A. Rimmer.

1925 Keystone Manufacturing Company moves from 53 Wareham street to 288 A. street.

1925 Marks Brothers Company moves from 615 Albany street to 288 A. street.

1925 Jacrim Manufacturing Company moves from 3 Cross street Malden, Mass. to 615 Albany street Boston.

1928 Jacrim Manufacturing Company moves from 615 Albany Street Boston to 288 A Street Boston.  The 288 A Street address is now shared by Marks Brothers Company, Jacrim Manufacturing Company and Keystone Manufacturing Company All three companies are producing toys.

1929 Jacrim Manufacturing Company begins producing the “Tom Thumb Toy” and “Flying Yankee Motor Boat” toy lines.

1930’s – Continuing through the 1930’s the address of 288 A Street Boston was shared by the Marks Brothers Company, Jacrim Manufacturing Company and Keystone Manufacturing Company.  There was a great deal of interconnectedness within the three companies at the management level but I have been curious as to how separated the three were outside of that.  A little clue to this question came with my recently acquiring several Marks Brothers invoices.  One invoice, from August 1933, lists the salesman’s name as Kesselman.  The name L.W. Kesselman appears as the salesman on a Jacrim invoice from January 1931.  I also have a Marks Brothers invoice from March 1938 that has K as the salesman and several Keystone invoices through 1938 that have a K, KE or KES in the upper corner. Could this be the same Kesselman?   It would appear that there was a combined sales force that represented all three companies.  Charles Kesselman became the vice president of Keystone Wood Toys in 1954.

1931Keystone Manufacturing Company introduces the “Ride ‘Em” toy line of steel toys.

1932 Keystone Manufacturing Company applies for a patent for the use of the phrase RIDE ‘EM on February 1st.

1934Jacrim Manufacturing Company was legally dissolved by an act that was approved on 04 May 1934 and was effective 31 March of that year.  Jacrim wooden boats appear as one of the products on a piece of Keystone letterhead dated March 26th 1934.  A 1941 Keystone Boat catalog states “Keystone’s Jacrim Boats” in the introduction and each page has “Jacrim Wood Division” at the bottom.  All of the boats are physically labeled as Keystone at this point.  How long the Jacrim name continued to be used by Keystone is still an unknown.

1942 Keystone Manufacturing Company and Marks Brothers Company move to 151 Hallet street Boston.

1944 Keystone Manufacturing Company purchases equipment from Kingsbury Toys.

1946 Keystone Wood Toys First mention of Keystone Wood Toys as a separate, taxable entity different from Keystone Manufacturing Company.

1953Keystone Wood Toys (143 Hallet Street) and Keystone Manufacturing Company (151 Hallet Street) now at separate locations.  Keystone Wood Toys sells all of the wooden and masonite toys while Keystone Manufacturing Company continues to sell the steel toys and camera equipment.

1954Keystone Manufacturing Company splits again with the formation of the Keystone Camera Company.

1958 –  Keystone Wood Toys auctions off all of its manufacturing and office equipment on January 21st of this year.

1960 Final year of production for Keystone Manufacturing Company.

1965 Keystone Camera Company is acquired by Berkey Photo.

1967 – Berkey Photo moves Keystone Camera Manufacturing from Boston to Clifton, New Jersey and it becomes a division of Berkey Photo.

45 Replies to “Keystone Company History”

    1. Hello,
      That I have seen there was never any type of embossed logo. The logo was always a decal on the vehicle. However, the rubber tires were molded with Keystone in the sidewalls.

    2. I have a glass lined ice bucket that resembles the casino on Catalina , it’s numbered 115
      On the bottom , any ideas how old it is?
      Thanks : Patrick

      1. Hello Patrick,
        Not sure ended up on my site with this question. Keystone made toys and projectors only. They made nothing like what you have. Wish I could help.

  1. I have a bottle here that I know nothing about but has you company logo on it and would like for you to contact me with an e mail so I can send you some photos of it and gain some info of it from you. THE BOTTLE IS SMALL AND READS ” FOR WATER KEYSTONE MFG CO. BOSTON. U.S.A. THANKS FOR YOU TIME.

    1. Hello Richard,
      I really don’t know much about Keystone movie equipment. My focus is their wooden toys. There are several camera collecting websites out there that should be able to help you. You will want to provide a photo as Keystone made many variations over 40 plus years. Best of luck.

    2. Richard,

      I sold one of these recently for $125 to a collector in Canada. It was the hand crank model and was in “working” condition.

      If you would like more info about it, I’ll gladly respond.


    1. Did you know my father (?) charlie Kesselman. He worked as a salesman and Vice President of the Wood Toys. Sandy

      1. Hello Sandy,
        As best I could I have tracked your father’s career with Keystone through ephemera that I have collected. Outside of the owners he is the only one I have been able to do that with. I would like to talk to you about him.

  2. Would like to send photos of a product labeled manufactured by keystone manufacturing. Where can I send them

  3. I collect Keystone of Boston dollhouses made from 1936-1955 and currently have 46 different models. I am contemplating producing a book on Keystone dollhouses, and I am wondering if you have any of the catalogs produced by Keystone to correctly date individual dollhouses. I have copies of catalogs 1938-9 and 1942-3 plus dollhouses listed in their 1948 issue. Any information you are willing to share will be greatly appreciated. Cheers!

  4. Derrick,
    It has been brought to my attention that you have purchased item #164226489130 ending 8/20/2020.
    The item is a Very Rare Tom Thumb toy Prairie Schooner that was in my possession for many years. Please contact me to learn what I know about it.

  5. I have a wrecker with Keystone embossed on the doors. It has a removeable tow boom. Also has working headlights and a red working light by the driver’s door. Can’t find any information on this truck, can you help? Thanks

  6. I have a 5 piece miniature dining set that includes a drop leaf table, 2 ladder back chairs and a hutch. It is in its original shipping box and each piece is in its original box. I’d like to find out more and to sell it. It was given to me between 1960 and probably 1962 at the latest.

  7. FWIW, in this video in memory of architectural critique Peter Banham, at time 3:19, there is a snapshot displayed of a boarded up Keystone Manufacturing Co. building:

  8. I have a wooden cradle with a music box given to me as a Christmas gift (1950’s) by a person who worked for Keystone Camera Company. It sits in my Living Room today with a doll in it.

  9. Good luck on your quest.
    One of my earliest and most prized Xmas presents was a model #205 exploding battleship and submarine. It has disappeared over the years, but not the memories.
    I have picked up several Keystone boats at flea markets, etc. over time and wonder about the torpedoes and mechanisms. Do you have any information on this area, especially torpedo size?

    1. Hello Ron,
      Yes, I know a bit. Ask away. As for the torpedoes there were two different sizes and two different types. Let me know which ships and I can tell you which one they need. I have a source for replacements. I get them made in batches so could help you out in the respect as well.

  10. I would like one of each type, if possible.
    Do you have other spare parts available?
    I have been making missing gun barrels out of dowel rods and using my portable lathe (electric drill) to shape them.

  11. I have the base of a Seaworthy Boat Chester A Rimmer and would like to refinish it adding sails etc. would you be able to direct me to where I may have this done? Or acquire the parts for it? Thank you for any assistance you might be able to give me.

  12. Just scored a rusty complete bicycle at a auto show with 80% what appears original paint and everything else rusty. It is identical to the famous 1930’s Hawthorne/Rollfast hatch back Zep bicycle. However the front badge is a Keystone badge. Is this an original Keystone production bike.

    1. Hello Ven,
      By what you describe it is likely a Keystone bike. However, it is another Keystone company out of Pennsylvania that was in business for many years before the Keystone company that my website is about.

  13. Hi, I just purchased a rusty old bike from an auto show.
    It appears to have 80% of its blue paint with everything else rusty. Identical to the famous 1930s Rollfast/Hawthorne hatch back Zep bike. However the it has a Keystone front badge. Was Keystone producing bikes at the time?

    1. Hello Ven,
      I really know nothing about these Keystone bikes out of Pennsylvania other than what I have seen in ads on the internet. Most of what I have seen has dated to the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.

  14. Just wanted to add a Keystone projector model that is missing from your list of projectors. Model K-106 8mm “auto zoom” projector/editor with film viewer. Projector can project still images, and has slow and fast options. I can’t find any information about this projector online, but it definitely exists, as I have one in my hand right now and there a few others for sale on Ebay. (Mine is also for sale!)

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