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Johnny Lightning Factory

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  • Johnny Lightning Factory

    Click image for larger version  Name:	topper factory.jpg Views:	0 Size:	18.9 KB ID:	464
    [The photo above is the building which once housed Crown Fasteners. It was here that Topper Johnny Lightnings were produced, assembled, and packaged between 1969-70. The photo (below) shows some discarded wheels in an area in back of the plant that was used for "dumping" many items when the plant closed it's doors in 1971.]

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    When Henry Orenstein (the president of Topper Toys) was looking for a place to assemble their new line of toy cars in 1969, he found it in my backyard. Traveling 5 hours north from Topper's home base in Elizabeth, N.J., Henry and the boys agreed to sub-contract the production of their "fastest cars in the world" to Crown Fasteners, a mere 5 minutes from my home. Crown was a division of Coats & Clark Inc. and was located in Warren, Rhode Island. The local workers there were content in manufacturing items such as metal zippers which were a staple in their operation for many years. That all changed in 1969 when "Johnny" came to town.

    My friend, Ray Falcoa and I have had the pleasure of speaking to many of the people who manufactured Johnnies and look forward to hearing from anyone who has a question or is in the market to buy or sell Topper Johnny Lightnings.


    Used with permission from the author


    Tom Brown and Ray Falcoa were able to acquire a small stash of vintage Topper era pieces from a former employee, enough to make about 500 copies...except for wheels. These were then made available to Tom Lowe of Playing Mantis, who then issued a very special edition of real, genuine, authentic "brand new" Topper Deuces with Playing Mantis era wheels. This special edition was not available in stores, and sold for a healthy premium through the online Collector Club.

    Here's Tom Brown's (Brown/Falcoa) personal kit:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	tom brown jl topper kit.jpg Views:	0 Size:	79.4 KB ID:	466Click image for larger version  Name:	tom brown jl topper kit1.jpg Views:	0 Size:	98.7 KB ID:	467
    The image file limits have been reset. We have over-limit warnings for the past 3 months and I've had to lower the image file limits. Upper limits now are 100,000 when we have some images that exceed 5,000,000. I know I've mentioned many times before, but it is very important to downsize images - doesn't matter if they are hosted elsewhere or here. I've set the pixels for no more than 1000 across the longest side, so if you resize to that all should be well. (The new limits are larger than what I typically use, and my images turn out just fine, so I know it shouldn't be a problem)

    Thank you for your understanding.