Archive for February, 2015

Chad Valley Games – Escalado Horse Racing Game

February 21st, 2015 6 comments

Chad Valley – Escalado


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.


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’.




Late 1940’s Edition >

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




< 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.’



Early 1960’s Edition >

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





< 1960’s Edition

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



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.


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 4 comments


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: