Chad Valley Games – Escalado Horse Racing Game

February 21st, 2015 4 comments

Chad Valley – Escalado

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Let me start with an apology : I said I would try to give some guide as to dating the popular Chad Valley  game of Escalado in response to a request from a visitor to the site. However, like lots of things in life, it is never as straight-forward as you might at first imagine. So I have tried to steer a course through the last 80 something odd years of Escalado and attempted to keep this post somewhat simplistic and give just a superficial guide as to the dating of any edition.

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The game has always been sold under the Chad Valley name, although more recently other parent companies or associated companies may have also been printed on the box. ie the Palitoy take over in 1978  / the Chad Valley name acquired by Woolworth in 1988 / and finally the Home Retail Group purchasing the brand in 2009 so that now the Chad Valley name is only available through the Argos catalogue, all these had an impact on the wording to be found on the box.

Many of the editions of the game would also have included a ‘Royal Warrant’ printed on the box which again would give an indication as to date.

Early editions also showed a difference in the horses themselves. Initially having a high lead content meant they were more malleable than their modern day counterparts which resulted in the legs tending to bend as the horse was pressed down in order to ‘seat’ the horse firmly to the course. Horses themselves were heavier due to their composition, initially approx. 100gsm. and cast with finer detail with the jockeys holding whips. Whereas the slightly later editions of the early 1930′s saw the weight of the horses reduced slightly, to around 92gsm., and the jockeys no longer sported their whips. Still with the horses, and early editions had cast into the underside a shortened version of ‘Copyright of the Proprietors’ which reads ‘Copyri of the Propri’. The word ‘England’ could also be found, again in raised letters, to the inside front left leg of the horse. Later editions simply had ‘Chad Valley’ in raised letters to the underside.

By the 1960′s the horses were of a lighter metal alloy manufacture and by the 1990′s were to be found moulded in plastic.

With regards to the Escalado box, before 1938 Chad Valley held no ‘Royal Warrant’ and so boxes pre-1938 carried no ‘By Appointment’ notation or ‘Coats of Arms’ insignia.

1937 saw King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later the Queen Mother) ascend to the throne and in the following year Chad Valley were approved a ‘British Royal Warrant of Appointment’.

From that date, all Chad Valley toys displayed a label stating ’Toy-makers to Her Majesty the Queen’, this was until 1953 when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned.

During the war years 1939-1945 toy production throughout the UK was either suspended completely or drastically reduced.

In 1953-‘By appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’ was a newly named Royal Warrant held by Chad Valley which reflected her new title.

The earliest editions of the game used a coated linen race cloth and tension straps, with wooden studs/obstacles, lead horses, and a wooden vibrator box.

Later editions from the late 1960′s then started using plastic vibrator boxes and straps, synthetic linen cloths with plastic studs/obstacles, and metal alloy horses.

The latest editions, from the 1990′s used all plastic track, vibrator boxes, straps and horses.

 < Early 1940′s Edition

 Box lid carries the Royal Crest with the wording ‘By Appointment Toymakers to Her Majesty the  Queen’.

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Late 1940′s Edition >

Later 1940′s version again with Royal Crest surrounded by the wording ‘By Appointment Toymakers to Her Majesty the Queen’.

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< 1950′s Edition

Same box design as previous but on this the Royal Warrant is by ‘Appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.’

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Early 1960′s Edition >

This red box design would date to around the late 1950′s to the early 1960′s.

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< 1960′s Edition

1960′s pre decimal edition of the game. Graphic illustration to lid with Escalado wording in perspective.

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1960′s – 1970′s Edition >

Barclay Securities edition after their buy out of the company in 1971, this version assumed to date from around 1972 – 1978.

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It should be noted that these are by no means the only boxes produced in which the game of Escalado were sold. Indeed Escalado was marketed for export all over the world and from that point alone there was potential for any number of box colours and labels. Although I have stopped at the 1970′s version the game was produced for many years afterwards, indeed right up to and including todays version, but by the late ’70′s the Chad Valley name would feature alongside another on the box, that of its new owner. So it is at that point that I am limiting this look at one of the most iconic table top games there has been.

Categories: General Discussion Tags:

CORGI TOYS – Corgi Boxes a History 1956 – 1983

February 8th, 2015 No comments

CORGI TOY BOXES – A HISTORY

Corgi Toys from the outset were looking to gain an edge over the competition, in the case of its models it secured that by introducing window glazing, as its advertising boldly stated : Corgi Toys – ‘The Ones with Windows’. Not only did Corgi Toys look to go one better than the competition with its models, but unlike its main competitor Dinky Toys, Corgi made a marketing decision to steal a march on its rivals and supply its models in individual boxes with an illustration of the model inside incorporated into the box design. Dinky Toys initially sold their vehicles in trade packs of six to the retailer, who then in turn sold them on seperately to the customer.

Corgi Toys as we all know, based in Wales, took their name from that breed of Welsh dogs and took the Corgi dog as its logo which was to be found on virtually all of its future packaging.

July 1956Corgi’s original box design, now commonly referred to as the ‘Blue Box’ simply because that’s exactly what it is. An all blue card box with black lettering in the main along with an identifying illustration of the model it contained.

These early ‘blue box’ models also came with a concertina leaflet along with an invitation to join the ‘Corgi Club’ by means of an enrolment form.

The card box had two small end flaps and one large ‘tuck-in’ flap to each end on which was printed both the model and its identifying model number.

January 1959Introduces us to what is now the iconic Corgi Yellow/Blue box design.

This box design was to last right through until 1966 and again kept things simple with the standard card box as before, but now brought bang up to date with a much more eye catching blue and yellow theme, typical of the early sixties. It also kept  with the idea of illustrating the model within by means of a coloured line drawing superimposed over the yellow background yet just pushing into the blue giving the impression of movement. Simple but effective. The artwork was brilliant and was only beaten in my opinion by that of the Airfix models. (No doubt someone will have something to say about that !)

December 1966  - A sad day I have to say as we see the demise of the all card illustrated box as Corgi introduce the first of their ‘Window’ boxes.

The previous blue and yellow box colour scheme was retained but now the model was clearly visible through a plastic ‘window’ incorporated into the box design. Initially limited to just a few models but extended to include the full range by 1968.  These boxes, now often referred to as the ‘slimline’ boxes, still illustrated the model in artwork form to the rear panel of the box.

However in 1970 the blue and yellow window boxes for ‘Whizzwheels’ cars changed to red and yellow.

May 1973Saw a more drastic change to the box design with the introduction of an angled inner card plinth. This had the effect of tilting the model towards the front of the box making the box much taller than its ‘slimline’ predecessor.

The box itself saw a radical change in colour, now a deep blue with three coloured bands around the window which varied from red, orange, yellow, purple or cyan. Sadly gone forever was the glorious Corgi box artwork now replaced on the rear panel with a simple bland photograph of the vehicle contained within.

1981 - Saw yet another revamp with the window box, now changing colour from predominantly blue to yellow, red and black. Black box with broad colour band around the ‘window’, yellow to the front face merging into red to its top face. The box was significantly larger so as to accommodate the model being placed on the skew and mounted on an inner yellow card plinth. For the first time the identifying model number was no longer printed on the outer box, instead the model number and title were printed on the inner plinth. This meant a significant cost saving as the outer box could now be used for several models within the range.

So there you have it … perhaps its my age and I dare say some will disagree with me but to my mind the above represents the gradual decline in the general presentation of the Corgi toy. Not that this is confined just to the Corgi brand in the name of cost saving as most of the major diecast toy companies followed a sad but similar path.

Categories: General Discussion Tags:

Dan Dare

January 25th, 2015 No comments

Dan Dare .. Toys .. Part 3

 

Welcome back to yet another of my listings covering just some of the amazing number of Dan Dare toys.

Since the early days of my original posts detailing Dan Dare toys, see parts 1 and 2, I have been asked on numerous occasions about other toys bearing the name of the ‘Pilot of the Future’ so here are some more to whet your appetite.

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< Dan Dare Magnetic Darts

The Magnetic Darts game, officially licensed by the ‘Eagle’ comic, was produced in England by the Chad Valley toy company in the 1950′s.

Consisted of a full colour tinprinted target on a three legged stand with 3 lightweight magnetic darts.

Dan Dare Atomic Jet Gun >

Produced by Crescent Toys the Atomic Jet Gun (water pistol) was an officially licensed product by ‘Eagle’ comics.

A red and yellow plastic pistol with ‘Dan Dare’ yellow transfer lettering to the top of the barrel and ‘Atomic Jet Gun’ to the sides. Claimed to give 50 shots at one filling of water. Rare item and even harder to find in its illustrated box.

< Dan Dare Spaceship Film Viewer

Fully licensed by the ‘Eagle’ comic this film strip viewer came in the shape of a plastic spaceship. Made in England by J. & L. Randall under their ‘Merit’ toys banner.

Dan Dare Jig-Saw Puzzle >

One of several Dan Dare jigsaw puzzles available. This particular one – ‘Dan Dare and Sondar Capture a Space Ship’ – of unknown manufacture – perhaps by Peter Pan ? measures 13.75″ x 9.75″. Licensed by the ‘Eagle’ comic.


< Dan Dare Space Ship Builder  

Manufactured by A. & M. Bartram this licensed product was a metal construction set which allowed you to build your own space ship.

Metal components came in red, black and silver from which a variety of different space ships could be built.

Another rare item especially boxed.

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Dan Dare’s Race in Space >

This fully licensed product this was a board game produced by Chad Valley in the 1950′s. Nothing complicated about this game just a case of starting from Earth, using your plastic rocket counter, its the first to reach planet Mercury whilst avoiding various obstacles on the way.

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To be continued …………..

Categories: General Discussion Tags:

British Toy Companies : Mettoy Castoys

December 18th, 2014 6 comments

METTOY CASTOYS

The Mettoy company, which went on to launch Corgi Toys, was originally founded in 1933 by Phillip Ullmann who had settled in the UK the year before. Ullmann came to the UK from Germany where he had set up the renowned tinplate toy company Tipp & Co., based in Nuremburg. Ullmann was initially given space to work in a subsidiary company of Bassett-Lowke, a company highly respected in engineering model making. He was joined soon afterwards by Arthur Katz, who also had a background with the German toy makers Tipp & Co. The Mettoy name itself was derived from METal TOY, the company being initially involved in producing tin plate toys, from a factory based in Stimpson Avenue, Northampton, employing a workforce of around 50. By 1937 the company had expanded into larger premises 4 miles away in Harleston Road.

1939 and the Second World War saw an end to toy making and Mettoy, like many other toy makers, saw their tin plate production transferred to shell cases and the like for the war effort. Demand for war materials was now so great that once again larger manufacturing premises was essential and by 1944 the Ministry of Supply had earmarked a factory site of 28,000 sq.ft. for Mettoy to lease at Fforestfach, Swansea, for further production of munitions.

1945 and with the end of WWII Mettoy was able to switch production back to toy making as the defence contracts began to dwindle. By 1948 the company had begun to build a massive new modern factory, some 115,000 sq.ft., at Fforestfach to cater for their expansion plans. The factory was officially opened one year later by King George VI and it was during this phase of the company’s history (1948) that Mettoy produced its first cast metal toys, aptly named ‘Castoys’. The ‘Castoys’ range were produced in zinc alloy with clockwork drive motors retained from the earlier tinplate vehicles and made for the retailer Marks & Spencer who particularly wanted a robust, long lasting toy.

The model number allocated to the ‘Castoys’ range of vehicles usually appeared as the registration number thus the 718 Paxton Observation Coach would bear the registration plate MTY 718.

The majority of models produced at this time were between 15cm. -20cm. in length at roughly 1:35 scale.

The ‘CASTOYS’ name would normally be impressed in capitals on the baseplate of the model. Wheels were usually black rubber tyres on cast metal hubs and models generally were fitted with a clockwork drive & brake.

Production of the ‘Castoys’ range ceased in 1959.

‘CASTOY’ Models Included :

718  PAXTON OBSERVATION COACH.

Model came in blue upper and gold lower bodywork finish. Red plastic door opens to reveal brown plastic passenger. Fitted with perspex windows and part roof. Reg. No. MTY 718.

Model measures 7.5″/19cm in length.

( Having visited Scarborough many times and driven past the well known coach builder at Eastfield I have often wondered whether the ‘Paxton’ name should not in fact be that of the well known coach builder ‘Plaxton’ ? )

                                                                           <  810  LIMOUSINE

Based on the Jowett Javelin the saloon came in cream, red or green bodywork colour finish with contrasting tinplate interior. Clockwork in operation the vehicle came fitted with solid black rubber wheels. Reg. No. MTY 810.

Model measures 17cm. in length.

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    820  STREAMLINE BUS  >

Vehicle came in either cream, red or green colourway finish with red tinplate seating. Fitted with black solid rubber wheels. Reg. No. MTY 820.

Model measures 19cm. in length.

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                                                                     <  830  MECHANICAL RACER

Die-cast body with detailed tinprinted green balloon wheels. Racing car with clockwork drive and brake, came in either cream, red or green bodywork finish with silver grille and steerable front wheels.

Model measures 18cm. in length.

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840  8 WHEEL LORRY

Model comes in metallic blue cab, silver grille with grey rear body colourway finish. Fitted with a clockwork motor and lever brake. Reg. No. MTY 840.

Model measures 18cm. in length.

850  FIRE ENGINE

Red body with silver grille and bumpers. Silver ladders mounted to rear. Model fitted with black solid rubber wheels and clockwork motor drive.

Model measures 19cm. in length.

                                                                       <  860  FARM TRACTOR

Unable to find any information on this item apart from this picture of the box the tractor was issued in along with the plastic driver figure.

Model was fitted with a clockwork motor and brake.

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863  TRACTOR AND TRAILER SET

Tractor in red and blue colourway finish. Tractor based on the Ferguson TE20.

Trailer in yellow colourway finish with red hubs.

Model came with painted plastic driver figure.

870  DELIVERY VAN

The number 870 was designated to several vans in the ‘CASTOYS’ range. Basically the same model but in different colourways and with different logos to side panels.

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< ‘EXPRESS DELIVERY’ VAN

Blue or yellow bodywork colour finish with red interior.

‘Express Delivery’ to sides in red, silver grille, headlights and bumpers. Clockwork drive, black solid wheels.    

Model is 15cm. in length.                                                                   

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< ‘POST OFFICE TELEPHONES’ VAN

Green bodywork colour finish with red interior. White lettering and Royal crest in gold. Silver grille, bumpers and headlights. Two piece extending ladders to roof. Clockwork motor, black solid wheels.

Model is 15cm. in length.

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               ’ROYAL MAIL’ VAN  >

Morris ‘Z’ Royal Mail van in red colourway finish with silver grille, headlights and bumpers. Black ‘Royal Mail’ lettering to side panels with gold Royal crest.

Opening rear doors.

Clockwork motor, black solid wheels.

Model length 15cm.

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                ‘AMBULANCE’ VAN  >

Ambulance in cream bodywork finish, with blue, red and white decals to side panels.

Headlights, grille and bumpers in silver.

Clockwork motor, black solid wheels.

Model is 15cm. in length.

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<  ’BOAC’ VAN

Model in dark blue bodywork finish with blue interior. Silver grille, headlights, bumpers and wheel hubs. ‘Fly by BOAC’ lettering to roof along with ‘BOAC’ logo and lettering to side panels. Black rubber tyres.

15cm. in length.

Categories: General Discussion Tags:

Kemlow Toys

October 26th, 2014 No comments

Kemlow Diecasting Products

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A relatively small die-casting company formed in 1946 by Charles Kempster and William Lowe – a combination of part of each surname producing the ’KEMLOW’ name – with the intention of producing die-cast miniature toys. Kemlow worked out of premises in Westbury Avenue, Wood Green, London producing a relatively small range of models, both civilian and military, and were also involved in producing and distributing die-cast models under the ‘Master-Models’ and Wardie Products’ labels.

some examples of Kemlow vehicles :  

                                                     

< ARMOURED CAR & FIELD GUN  

Kemlow produced both a stand alone armoured car plus a combination of armoured car with field gun.

Both items came in either unpainted bare metal finish or light green and black camouflage finish. The bare metal model was fitted with smooth brass hubs, whilst the camouflaged model had similar painted hubs.

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‘PICKFORDS’ REMOVAL VAN >

Kemlow Guy delivery van in ‘Pickfords’ livery. Model in dark blue colourway finish with white roof. ‘Pickfords’ transfer decals to both sides, cab-over front panel and rear doors. Vehicle fitted with smooth brass hubs with black tyres.

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< FLEETMASTER STREAMLINED SALOON CAR & CARAVAN

The streamlined saloon car and caravan came as either seperate models in their own right or as part of the ‘Fleetmaster Saloon Car Set’.

The saloon car was loosely based on the American Chevrolet saloon and came in either all blue or all green colourway finish, the metal wheels finished in the same colour as the bodywork.

The streamlined caravan came in cream finish, shaped window to both sides and rear, windows cut out to represent tied-back curtained windows. Bare metal wheels are covered by caravan sides.

AVELING-BARFORD ROAD ROLLER >

The road roller came in either predominantly red or green bodywork finish with a gold engine cover. All bare metal front roller, the rear roller sides usually painted in pale blue. A rather crude figure of a driver cast-in.

 

Kemlow also went on to  produce a boxed ‘Dinky Toys’ size range of diecast vehicles under their own Kemlow name or alternatively marketed under the ‘Automec’ brand name. These vehicles were better detailed than previous and were fitted with rubber tyres.

Interestingly some of the Automec vehicles were also produced in kit form for the purchaser to build it themselves.

< Automec Bedford Truck – Road Gritter

 

 

                                       

 

 

 

                           Automec Bedford Truck – Lime Spreader >

   

Initially plain card boxes were used with the model type printed to end flap. The Automec name printed to box sides with ‘Highway Models’ underneath.

The lorries, whether civilian or military, were based on the good old Bedford truck and were for the most part the same vehicle but with different colourways and given different functions ! Alternatively the same cab/chassis arrangement was used but with a different back. (as below)

 

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< Automec Bedford Truck – Flat Back

 

 

 

Later card boxes were coloured and carried basic coloured lorry drawings to the sides with the generic model type it housed being printed in large letters to the box sides. Again this was a case of one box suits all, the actual model enclosed within the box being identified on the box end flaps.                                                                                                

< Automec 3-Ton Open Wagon                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                    

Kemlow – Sentry Box Series. >

A small scale range of military vehicles were produced by Kemlow to compete with the ‘Matchbox’ range, these were marketed under the brand name ‘Sentry Box Series’ although neither the box nor the model actually carried the Kemlow name.

Each model came housed in a card box in the form of a sentry box complete with a picture of guardsman to its side and like the early ‘matchbox’ models the Sentry Box Series models all came with grey metal wheels.

Kemlow as a diecasting company is still trading today but no longer involved in the toy business.

Categories: General Discussion Tags:

British Toy Companies : Burnett Toys – Burnett Ltd.

December 5th, 2013 6 comments

BURNETT LIMITED

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The short lived British toy company of Burnett Ltd. was founded by F. Burnett and E. Satchwell in 1914 and were based at 53a Aldersgate Street, London EC1. Burnett produced a variety of tinplate toys, various motor vehicles – cars, trucks and emergency vehicles as well as aircraft and locomotives. They were probably most famous for their ‘Ubilda’ series of tinplate construction kits.

They were a listed exhibitor at both the 1922 and 1929 British Industries Fairs held at the White City. In 1922 they were given as manufacturers of metal mechanical toys (such as Motor Cars, Lorries, Omnibuses), Metal Money Boxes in fancy designs, Decorated Metalware (Tea Trays, Firescreens) and occupied Stand No. F46. In 1929 Metal Toys (such as Cannons, Pistols), Constructional Toys (Ubilda Car, Aeroplane, Theatre), Toy Cash Boxes, Children’s Paint Boxes were added to the list, the company occupying Stand C24.

Interesting to note that at the Industries Fairs they were listed as ‘Manufacturers’ of toys whereas it is often quoted that they produced nothing themselves and subcontracted manufacturing to Barringer, Wallis and Manners Co. of Mansfield. ‘Barringers’, as they were known locally, were later to become the Metal Box Co. and certainly produced a variety of tin money boxes etc. in their own right.

The company ran into financial difficulties and in 1939 their tooling was acquired by the Chad Valley Co. (see my separate listing) who continued to produce many of the Burnett vehicles as well as the ‘Ubilda’ range of toys.

Other tenuous links to Barringer, Wallis and Manners and the Metal Box Co. was that in 1949 Burnett Ltd. was voluntarily wound up and amalgamated with the Metal Box Company. Also items like the Chad Valley ‘Carrs’ biscuit tin bus were in fact manufactured by Barringer, Wallis and Manners.

some examples of Burnett vehicles :

< ROYAL MAIL VAN

Scarce pre-war tinplate Royal Mail van. Van is predominantly red with black roof and wings. Clockwork in operation, fitted with permanent key, 15cm long.

SINGLE DECK BUS >

Scarce pre-war, c1920, large scale tinplate bus. Clockwork in operation, fitted with a permanent key, motor driving rear wheels. Model came in two colourway finishes, example shown is the harder to find deep yellow version, alternative is the more common red colourway finish. In both cases cream finish to upper bodywork with black chassis and wings. ‘Lands End to John O’Groats’ to side destination boards. Burnett circular logo to both sides. Interior bench seating with steps to the rear for boarding purposes. Fitted with tinplate balloon type wheels. O/all length 36cm.

< MILITARY AMBULANCE

Another scarce Burnett model, this example dating to c1930 is of a tinplate, clockwork driven Military Ambulance. Predominantly grey bodywork colourway finish with green lower ‘plank’ effect. Black cab portion with grey radiator, black wings/running boards edged white. Ambulance roundals to the sides. Tinplate wheels with black hubs. Vehicle is fitted with a permanent key. Length 16cm.

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                                                        SEDAN >

Pre war tinplate clockwork Sedan. Light blue bodywork finish and wings with cream detailing and cream roof. Fitted with balloon wheels and permanent key. Length 18cm. o/all.

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< FORDSON TIPPER

Pre war tinplate Fordson Tipper Truck with clockwork drive mechanism. Cab and bodywork in light green colourway finish with black chassis and large grey radiator to front of cab. Simple lever tipping mechanism to body with hinged tailgate. Grey balloon wheels with light green hubs. Permanent key 18cm.

OPEN TOURER >

Burnett Open Tourer, blue bodywork finish with cream bonnet and detailing, large grey radiator. Black wings, running boards and rear hood. Fitted with maroon interior. Grey tin wheels with black hubs.

 

< DELIVERY VAN

A scarce pre war example of a tinplate Express Delivery Van from Burnett. Grey bodywork finish with cream roof. Grey radiator to front, black wings and running boards. Grey tin wheels with black hubs. Clockwork drive motor fitted with permanent key. 16cm.

 

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British Toy Companies : CHAD VALLEY TOYS

July 23rd, 2013 19 comments

CHAD VALLEY TOYS

This long established British toy company has its roots set in a stationery business set up by Joseph and Alfred Johnson (Johnson Bros.) in 1860 on George Street, in Birminghams’ city centre although its origins date back even further to a printing and book binding business set up by their father Anthony Bunn Johnson sometime around 1820.

In 1897 the company relocates to a new purpose built premises in Rose Road, Harborne, a district of Birmingham, a mere 3 miles from the city centre close to the Chad Brook and adjacent to

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.a branch-line railway. This railway line brought raw materials to the site with most of the toys produced leaving by the same route. The firm now trading as Johnson Bros. (Harborne) Ltd., making stationers’ sundries and cardboard games and their new factory was known as The Chad Valley Works, named after the nearby stream. They later took the name of Chad Valley as their registered trademark and the building was to remain as the company headquarters for over seventy years.

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 toys and games were no longer being imported giving a boost to the British toy industry and Johnson Bros. seized the opportunity, despite wartime restrictions, to expand its range of cardboard games and simple toys. A year later in 1915 the company was producing its first soft toys, a range of traditional plush Teddy Bears with jointed limbs and by 1916 it was to patent a machine for stuffing these soft toys.

In these early days the companys aim was to complement the range of paper and card based products, which had been born out of their printing business, with more ambitious toys using different materials however a strong emphasis on the printed word remained and at a time when it was unusual for most ‘ordinary’ children to be given toys it was little wonder that output was targeted squarely towards affluent families with their well educated children.

Such was the rate of the companys’ expansion since the early war years that in 1919 it was to acquire the nearby Harborne Village Institute which was used as their printing works producing box covers and labels for their toys and games. The companys’ soft toy production was relocated in 1920 to a new factory, the Wrekin Toy Works, at Wellington, Shropshire, where a new range of fabric dolls were introduced and all three factories were merged to become The Chad Valley Co. Ltd. In that same year both the Wellington and Harborne works were extended as business continued to increase.

The soft toy range they produced all carried a sew-in label, well known by collectors of today, with most reading ‘Hygienic Toys / Made in England / Chad Valley Co. or Chad Valley Co. Ltd.’ some simply ‘Hygienic Toys England’.

In 1922 Chad Valley was a Listed Exhibitor at the British Industries Fair (Stand F.35) Indoor Games, Puzzles, Christmas Crackers and Stockings, Toys of all Description including Playing Balls, Teddy Bears, Fabric Dolls and other Soft Toys, Rattles, Mascots etc. Interestingly enough they also featured (Stand Nos. K.35 and K.60) Listed as Manufacturers of Stationers’ Carded Sundries and Fancy Goods, Labels and Tickets, Office Appliances, Motorists’ Trunks, Fur Rugs and Gauntlets, Picnic Cases.

Further expansion took place again in 1928 with a new factory adjoining the main works at Harborne, and again in 1932 with the acquisition of the long established London toy making firm of Peacock & Company which added new capabilities and allowed them to offer tinplate products, including toy cars and clockwork train sets.

During the 1920′s and 1930′s the Wrekin toy works produced a steady stream of new dolls, these dolls were dressed in authentic materials and Chad Valley even brought out several boy dolls suitably attired in tweed sports jackets with felt collars, neck ties and of course the obligatory gun bag as befits the children of the country squire. It was this attention to detail which set them apart from the competition but they were not cheap, typically selling for somewhere between 5/- and 30/- which would equate to around £20 – £100 in todays money.

In 1938 Chad Valley were granted the prestigeous Royal Warrant of Appointment – ‘Toymakers to Her Majesty the Queen’, a relatively rare honour for a toy maker at this time. This may have had something to do with the fact that earlier in a bold move the Palace had been approached by Chad Valley executives for permission to produce dolls of the Royal Princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. It was with some surprise that the company received a note back from the Queen agreeing to the proposal along with suggested dates for the two princesses to sit for the proposed dolls. Fortunately for Chad Valley the dolls proved an instant hit, selling in large numbers not only at home but right across the then British Empire and so for the next fourteen years all Chad Valley toys carried the words ‘Toymakers to H.M. The Queen’. This was later amended to ‘Toymakers to H.M. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’ when Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne in 1952.

Around the 1939-1940 period Chad Valley acquired the tooling of tinplate toymakers Burnett of London who had got into financial difficulties and continued to manufacture many of that companys product lines well after the second world war probably the most well know of which was the ‘Ubilda’ tinplate model kits.

War, sadly again, played a part in the fortunes of the company in the 1940′s. The Second World War resulted in production of toys being dramatically cut as the Chad Valley factories concentrated their output to the war effort with government contracts for the production of such items as wooden instrument cases and cases for use in anti-aircraft guns, hospital tables and tent poles, auto-pilots and charts. However one factory was retained by the government for toy manufacture, specialising in the production of jigsaws, chess sets, draughts and dominoes for use in military hospitals and the Forces generally.

With the ending of the war the Chad Valley factories quickly returned to toy production and the company went from strength to strength adding both metal and rubber toys to their range. In 1950 it stopped being a family business and became a public limited company.

Over the next ten years or so they go on to expand by acquiring several companies including in 1951 the metal toy manufacturers of Hall and Lane, in 1954 the family business of Robert Brothers (Gloucester) Ltd., trading as ‘Glevum’ Toys and in 1958 the metal toy makers Acme Stopper and Box Co. The Glevum range of toys and games were to be produced in Harborne at an additionally factory, the Wee-Kin Works, on the banks of the Chad. By 1960 Chad Valley comprised seven factories and employed over 1,000 people and was considered to be at its peak of manufacturing by this time.

H.G. Stone and Co. Ltd. ( Chiltern Toys ) was the final company to be taken over in 1967 despite Chad Valley beginning to feel the onset of stiff foreign competition and recession.

1971 saw the company sold to John Bentley of Barclay Securities for £600,000 who came with the reputation of streamlining and rationalising companies under his control. Within a year the sales catalogue now lists only 250 products half of which were new lines whilst the remainder had been updated and repackaged. The main Harborne factory closes and was eventually demolished and boxed game production moves to the Hall & Lane factory site in central Birmingham. Three out of the nine factories are to close with the resultant redundancies.

After 1975 only two factories remained whilst the manufacture of soft toys was relocated to Pontypool in South Wales.

In 1978 the company was taken over by Palitoy of Leicester and a year later in 1979 the closure of the Hall & Lane site ended Chad Valley’s long established links with Birmingham.

In 1988 the trade name of Chad Valley was acquired by Woolworths and remained in use until that company’s closure due to insolvency. Home Retail Group, the parent company of retailers Homebase and Argos, purchased the brand for a reputed £5 million in 2009. The Chad Valley brand is now available exclusively through Argos catalogues.

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further examples of Chad Valley toys :

 

 

< THE AERIAL DERBY

An excellently illustrated Chad Valley boxed board game manufactured c1912. The object of the game was to move, by means of a spinning dice, around the board starting at London and finishing at Windsor Castle travelling via such places and cities as Dublin, Montreal, Paris, Japan and New Zealand. Board has lovely illustrations of the sights of London and other cities and counters are in the form of early Bleriot type aircraft.

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                                    RACE TO THE OCEAN COAST >

Dating to around the 1920′s is this Chad Valley GWR railway racing board game. An attractively illustrated board showing a map of Great Western railway tracks covering the West Country and Wales. Various metal locomotive and saloon car counters compete in this race to the coast.

                                                        

 < ESCALADO

Without doubt the table top horse racing game of Escalado was one of those iconic games produced by Chad Valley. Introduced in 1928 the game was a constant best seller well into the 1960′s. Originally consisted of 5 lead race horses with jockeys, a green cloth fabric track with clamps and a mechanical winding mechanism along with a staking sheet on which one placed ones bets. Over the years the illustrated box top changed and reflected the decade, opposite shows a pre-war box lid.

CRICKET AT LORDS >

Originally dating to the late 1940′s this Chad Valley game is a complete miniature table top game of cricket. Contains a bat, ball, pair of stumps, scoreboard and numbers, 9 fielders and a firing action bowler. The bowler figure is used by one player to toss a wooden ball at the wickets whilst the other player attempts to hit the ball into play avoiding the wooden fielders. Shown here is an illustration of the 1950′s version of the game.

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< RAZOR EDGE ROLLS ROYCE SALOON

Chad Valley ‘Wee-Kin’ motorised toy model of a Rolls Royce Razor Edge Saloon car. Diecast vehicle fitted with a key-wound clockwork motor produced between 1949-1953. Model came in various colouways in a card illustrated box at 1:43 scale.

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CABLE LAYER LORRY >

This Chad Valley clockwork driven toy comes as a cable laying vehicle, again produced around 1949 – 1953. Lorry came in red cab and chassis colourway finish with green bed mounted with a cable drum, coloured string acting as the cable.

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< VAN TYPE REFUSE WAGON

Wee-Kin van type refuse wagon, diecast clockwork model in van type configuration has green cab and body and fitted with grey tinplate sliding shutters. Again produced between 1949 – 1953.

Note : The first Wee-Kin diecast toy vehicles were produced around 1949 and had ‘CV 1949′ as the registration number.

 I hope to cover the ‘Wee-Kin’ element of the Chad Valley range in more detail at a later date along with further images.

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British Toy Companies : Shackleton Toys

April 25th, 2013 16 comments

Shackleton Toys

Formed by Maurice Shackleton in 1939 the company originally traded as James Shackleton & Sons Ltd producing a range of wooden toys such as dolls houses and lorries.

The company was based at the ‘Wheatsheaf Works’, Malkins Bank, Sandbach, Cheshire and its original pre-war wooden lorries were of a simple design with a wooden chassis and body. These toys were based on the Foden trucks of the day, its no coincidence as the Foden factory was just down the road and Maurice, prior to embarking on his toy making enterprise, actually worked there. The lorries carried a pressed metal radiator to the front of the cab and were also easily identifiable by means of their green Shackleton name badge which was applied to the rear of the cab.

Although established as a manufacturer of wooden toys, today Shackleton are without doubt best known for their range of diecast models. Each model was manufactured using seperate parts which could in turn be taken apart and then reassembled by means of a basic tool kit. This tool kit simply consisted of a spanner and screwdriver and was included with each model.

It was in 1948 that Shackleton launched this range of ready assembled diecast constructional models based on the Foden FG 6 wheel lorry. Each scale model came housed in a lift-off lidded card box.

No one can doubt that the Foden diecast lorries produced by Shackleton were of high quality. All the components required to build the lorries were made in-house and that included the clockwork motor. The motor was located inside the cab itself and power was transferred through a drive shaft to the vehicles rear wheels. The downside of all this attention to detail and the subsequent labour costs involved meant that the final price of the vehicle was not cheap, on the contrary the first boxed Fodens were retailing at a whopping £2/19s/6d (£2.97 1/2p) well outside the price range of the average schoolboy, at a time when the equivalent Dinky Supertoy Fodens of the day could be picked up at your local toy store for around 10/- (50p) !

No doubt it was these high production costs together with other associated factors that resulted in the production of these high quality toys continuing for just four years before the company was forced to close its doors in 1952.

SHACKLETON MODELS INCLUDED :

    < SHACKLETON FODEN FG6 TIPPER LORRY

 This particular model is finished in orange cab and tipping body colourway with red mudguards and a light grey chassis, lights detailed in silver finish. Various other colourways available included : lime green cab/back with red mudguards, light blue cab/back with red mudguards, light green cab/back with red mudguards, grey cab/back with red mudguards, red cab and mudguards with green back, dark blue cab/back with red mudguards, yellow cab/back with red mudguards, emerald green cab/back with red mudguards, pale blue cab/back with dark blue mudguards, red cab/back with red mudguards

SHACKLETON FODEN FG PLATFORM LORRY > 

Model shown detailed in yellow cab and flatbed colourway on a red chassis with grey mudguards. Lights and radiator grille detailed in silver finish. Other colourway versions included : dark green cab/platform on grey chassis with red mudguards, light blue cab/platform on grey chassis with dark blue mudguards, yellow cab/platform on grey chassis with blue mudguards, dark blue cab/platform on grey chassis with red mudguards, light grey cab/platform on grey chassis with red mudguards, dark blue cab/platform on red chassis with black mudguards, dark blue cab/platform on red chassis with grey mudguards, yellow cab/platform on grey chassis with red mudguards, pale green cab/platform on grey chassis with red mudguards.

< SHACKLETON 8 TON DYSON TRAILER

The Shackleton 8 ton Dyson trailer could be used alongside any of the Shacklton Fodens. As with the Foden lorries the Dyson flatbed trailer came in a variety of colourways, the one shown opposite in dark blue flatbed finish with grey chassis and red mudguards with towing eye to the front. The thick card picture box came with two small end flaps and one large tuck-in flap to both ends.

SHACKLETON ‘DAVID BROWN’ TRACKMASTER 30 > 

Like the Shackleton Foden models this ‘David Brown’ Trackmaster 30 came with a clockwork motor drive. Crawler tractor in red colourway finish ( I have only come across this colourway finish but that does not mean to say it was the only finish available ), with black rubber tracks and chimney. Model came complete within a picture card box with lift off lid.

Above is a typical advertisement of the day for Shackleton Foden models which were placed in publications such as Meccano Mgazine etc. Interesting to note that the retailer must have placed the original advertisement as it is their name that appears with no mention of the manufacturer !

NOT QUITE THE END OF THE STORY !

In 1958 the Foden factory saw the introduction of lightweight glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) used in cab production. The first Foden GRP cab was the distinctly styled S21 model with its large split windscreen and bulbous front wheelarches. The S21 was initially nicknamed the ‘Spaceship’ or ‘Sputnik’ by the commercial press, but it is its other endearing nickname of ‘Mickey Mouse’ which seems to have outlasted them all. Not certain how the ‘Mickey Mouse’ name came about, the names that last tend to stick often come from the drivers of the vehicles themselves. Did they think that the S21 looked nothing like a conventional lorry ? or perhapse some wag though that head on it did resemble the cartoon character ? whatever it was the S21 which re-emerged as a ‘Shackleton’ model sometime in the 1990′s.

 < REPRODUCTION ‘SHACKLETON’ LTD. EDITION S21 PLATFORM LORRY

The S21 Mickey Mouse cabbed platform lorry was produced as a limited edition reproduction ‘Shackleton’ model in the late ’90′s by Frank Hardern using original tooling and dies. Produced in dark green colourway finish the model was produced with a resin cab, pressed steel chassis with a wooden platform body. Unlike the originals which were clockwork driven the S21 was powered by an electric motor turning through universal drive shafts to the rear bogie.

The models came in a brown, lift-off lidded card box, with an applied printed paper label. The limited edition certificate, which came with each model, was in the form of a reproduction log book.

Categories: General Discussion Tags:

British Toy Companies : Gaiety Toys – Castle Art Products Ltd.

March 27th, 2013 14 comments

GAIETY TOYS – CASTLE ART PRODUCTS LTD.

Gaiety Toys was the trading name used on a relatively small range of toys produced by Castle Art Products Ltd., a die-casting company incorporated in March of 1946 with its trading address given as Prospect House, Tyseley Industrial Estate, Seeleys Road, Birmingham, England. As far as I am aware the range of road vehicles simply consisted of three racing cars, a Morgan 3-wheel sports car and a fire engine although at the time of this post I have yet to come across the fire engine model.

The racing car models were a well detailed, one piece casting, with holes drilled through the body to accept the metal axles onto which were fitted the all metal wheels. The racers had no baseplate and had ‘Gaiety Toy – Castle Art Products’ cast into the underside of the body along with a castle image.

The Morgan sports car was produced at 4.75″/12cm in length, no driver within the model and it came in various colourway finishes, red, blue and green as well as an all chrome version. 

The racing cars were produced in 3 different sizes :

  • model 1 – Produced at 5″ / 12.7cm length, head and shoulders single driver cast in.
  • model 2 – Produced at 4″ / 10 cm length, head and shoulders driver and co-driver cast in.
  • model 3 – Produced at 3.25″ / 8.25cm length, head and shoulders single driver cast in.

All racing car models came painted in various single colourway finishes, red, blue and green as well as all chrome finish.

The racing cars, along with the Morgan 3 wheelers, were all produced in either free running or clockwork modes and came in a simple thick cardboard box with a single coloured line drawing lable.

Also produced under the Gaiety banner by Castle Art Products was a range of electric ’OO’ gauge railway locomotive models which came in a plain card box with a simple printed black and white lable. Alternatively one could purchase the loco body shell only, either painted or unpainted, which could be fitted with your own chassis. These body shells had ‘British Railways’ cast into the side tanks and came in a plain, thick cardboard box.

The following pictures of the Gaiety Toys fire engine were kindly sent in by Don Stephens – much appreciated Don !

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Japanese Toy Companies : MASUDAYA TOYS – MODERN TOYS

March 6th, 2013 31 comments

Masudaya Modern Toys 1924 – present

Masudaya was formed in Tokyo in 1924 and is widely regarded as the oldest of Japan’s toy makers. Masudaya was a leading manufacturer of tinplate toys, both mechanical and battery operated, in the post WWII era. Its logo incorporates the letters ‘M’ and ‘T’ within a diamond lozenge and is often referred to as ‘Modern Toys’. Masudaya produced a wide range of tin toys including aircraft, racing cars, military and civilian vehicles, motorcycles and the ever popular space toys which included the classic ‘Radicon Robot’ in 1957 which is regarded as the first remote controlled robot. Masudaya as a company survives to this day.

EXAMPLES OF MASUDAYA TOYS

< Masudaya ‘Fire Dept.’ Motorcycle

Large tinplate motorcycle toy dating to c1962. Battery operated model, tinprinted in ‘Fire Department’ livery, red colourway finish with blue uniformed plastic rider. Fitted with siren to front and stabalising wheels, 30cm.

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   Masudaya American Pontiac >

Tinplate 2-door Pontiac Sedan  friction drive model in black colourway finish with green/yellow detailed tinprinted interior. Plated parts including hub caps, model has steerable front wheels with white wall tyres, 36cm.

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< Masudaya Cement Mixer

GMC tinplate cement mixer c1950, battery operated with ‘mystery action’ to underside. Marked ‘Lucky Mixer’, model has detailed tinprinting to cab and generator, predominantly orange colourway finish with see-through plastic drum, 30cm.

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Masudya Racing Car >

Large scale tinplate racing car, battery operated with ‘mystery action’ to underside. Detailed tinprinted exterior in blue, white and red colourway, racing number ’38′ fitted with tinplate driver. See-through engine compartment, side exhaust, rubber tyres with detailed hubs, 43cm.

< Masudaya Atom Motorcycle.

Large scale tinplate battery operated ‘Atom’ motorcycle, model in black colourway finish with detailed tinprinted engine compartment in predominantly silver finish. Tin rider in yellow and brown with blue helmet has demountable action, Reg.No 65301. Motorised action with engine noise and working head light, 30cm.

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