Tyco Toys, Inc. ranks as the third largest toy manufacturer in the United States. Having undertaken a ten-year program of diversification, Tyco grew from a maker of toy trains and electric racing sets into a corporation distributing a broad range of toys throughout the world. In the mid-1990s, Tyco produced over a thousand different toys, making it one of the most diversified toy companies in the world. The company has never relied upon or become identified with one overwhelming hit toy. Rather, it has used good management and a diverse product line to lift it to the top ranks of this extremely lucrative industry.
Tyco was founded in 1926 by John N. Tyler. Tyler named the company Mantua Metal Products, after the town of Mantua, New Jersey, where he ran his small business out of his home. Tyler's company built H-O model trains, track, and other accessories. H-O model trains were half the size of the O standard, hence the name H-O. Tyler initially produced products that would be compatible with existing model train sets built by other companies. Model train building was as old as trains themselves, so Tyler's little company had a guaranteed market if he could produce a good product. In the 1930s he took the first step toward the present-day company when he started producing and marketing his own brand of complete toy train kits.