By David Moncrief
The Auburn Rubber Company is best known for its toys although it started out as a tire manufacturer. First located in Auburn, Indiana, the company name was changed in 1913 from Double Fabric Tire Company to Auburn Rubber.
In the mid-1930's they began making rubber toys some of which were soldiers, trucks, tractors, and motorcycles. Most of the toys produced were sold in 5-and-10 cent stores across the country. The company was sold in 1959 and eventually went out of business in 1969. However, the fascination with Auburn Rubber toys continues to this day and collectors are willing to pay top dollar for these toys.
IMPORTANT: Before washing or cleaning - Do a small spot clean on the bottom where it can't be seen to be sure the color does not come off or fade.
Word of Caution: When cleaning any old or vintage toy, handle with care.
If your toy is dusty as well as dirty, you should first brush it lightly with a soft bristled toothbrush or small paint brush to removed as much of the dust as possible.
Next wash it using a very mild soap (ie, dish washing soap like Ivory) and a very soft rag to clean the remaining dirt off and then rinse under cool water.
Let the toy AIR DRY completely on a towel. DO NOT use a hair dryer or any other artificial heat method to speed the drying process as this can damage the rubber.
Once the toy is totally dry the best way to preserve the toy is to use Original Armor All (OAA) solution on it. You can use liberal amounts on the car but avoid rubbing as this may remove some of the color. Blot off excess solution gently with soft rag, tissues or paper towels - DO NOT RUB. The integrity of the toy can be maintained by applying OAA once a year.
To keep your Auburn Rubber toy in best condition, it should be kept from direct sunlight and heat.