by: The Family Curator
While cleaning out the family home, we come upon an old wooden toy chest filled with garden gloves, fertilizer and hand trowels. My husband remembers it as a childhood toy chest and takes it to his workshop for restoration.
A label inside the toychest identifies the manufacturer as the Cass Toy Company of Athol, Massachusetts.
Nathan David Cass was born in 1875 to Abram Cass, an English machinist, and Sarah Cass, a native New Yorker, in Amsterdam, Montgomery County, New York.
By 1910, Nathan was living with his wife Grace and her parents in Athol, Massachusetts where he is a paper box maker and toy maker.
Cass Toys in Wartime
During World War II, a major portion of the toy manufacturing facilities were turned over to the war effort, but Cass promised parents "popularly priced, individually boxed military toys and train sets will be as widely and equitably distributed as is humanly possible under existing conditions."
FIRE DESTROYS TOY WAREHOUSE
The Cass Toy warehouse on South Athol Road was destroyed on May 16, 1996 when fire broke out in the building causing nearby homes to be evacuated. The huge fire burned down the warehouse and an adjacent home, and damaged six other homes on the street.
1997 - Cass Toy Company closes its doors.
2010 - Former toy factory now a storage facility.
Fire! Fire! Fire!
FORMER CASS TOY FACTORY IN ATHOL GOES UP IN FLAMES
Firefighters from Athol and surrounding towns are battling a massive blaze in an old mill on Lumber Street. Reports are that the fire started shortly before 8 p.m. at the site of the former Cass Toy Factory.
Fire departments from throughout Franklin County have responded to the scene.
FIRE DESTROYS FORMER ATHOL TOY FACTORY
"fire among the largest in Athol history"
--Worcester Telegram and Gazette
With new safety hinges and several coats of marine varnish, the toy chest is now the first stop when children walk in our door.
It's sad to think that this family business went up in flames shortly after its 100th anniversary. Today, Cass wooden toys have become collectible keepsakes.
I wonder where our toy chest will be 25 or 50 or 100 years from today?
You can read more about our hunt for the story of the Pirate's Toy Chest at The Family Curator http://http//www.thefamilycurator.com/home/2012/11/8/before-the-pirate-toy-chest-became-an-heirloom-treasure-ches.html