Mantua Metal Products was a Woodbury Heights, New Jersey metalworks business founded by John Tyler and family. In the 1930s Mantua began to manufacture HO scale model trains of die-cast metal, and became a leading hobbyist brand. In the 1950s Mantua pioneered "ready-to-run" HO-scale model railroad kits under the TYCO (for Tyler Company) brand. Many TYCO and Mantua die-cast products such as steam engines are collector's items today.
Eventually the name changed to TYCO Industries, under which name the company was sold in 1970 to Consolidated Foods during an era of corporate conglomerates. As a division of what became the Sara Lee Corporation, Tyco continued to grow. In the 1990s, the company branched out with other toys such as airplanes, clones of Lego brand building elements (after the basic patent ran out in 1983), and Sesame Street items. It purchased Matchbox, a maker of model cars, in 1993. When Tyco was purchased by Mattel in 1998, it was the third largest toy company in the United States. The brand survives as the Mattel Tyco R/C division.
One of TYCO's oldest brand of RC cars is the Tyco Rebound.
The Tyco model railroad business was purchased back by the Tyler family in 1977, who revived them under the Mantua Industries brand. Tyco exited the model railroad business after the 1993 catalog. Many of the Tyco model train products were then produced by Mantua and by International Hobby Corporation (IHC). In 2001, Mantua ceased production of its model railroad lines, and sold the model railroad business to the Model Power company, which continues to sell a few items such as steam engines as its Mantua Classics brand.
- Tyco Trains Resource
- shabbir.com History of Tyco
- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation transcript of story about LEGO/Ritvik legal issues contains Tyco reference