Archive for April, 2013

British Toy Companies : Shackleton Toys

April 25th, 2013 74 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.



 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


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.


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.


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 !


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.


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.

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