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British Toy Companies : Burnett Toys – Burnett Ltd.

December 5th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to 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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  1. Philip Pertoldi
    January 22nd, 2014 at 17:38 | #1

    Interesting article on Burnett Toys and I am being offered by a reliable source a 1939 tin van at 11.5 inches long with name Express Road Transport in yellow and 2 tones of blue licence plate nbr 325534. The asking price is £650 delivered. Would you have a view on this as a value please. Many thanks

  2. dave
    January 25th, 2014 at 17:04 | #2

    Hi Phil, I think I know where you have seen this truck for sale and from your address I can well understand why it may be of some interest to you ! As to whether the £650 asking price is realistic …. ?
    Please bear in mind the opinion expressed is just my own personal opinion and I’m working with little info re condition of the model and its motor. To be honest I am reluctant to comment on what another site is asking for their toys as I have no idea on what price they bought it in at, their overheads etc. etc. However, what I will say is that the Burnett model vehicles are not a common item in themselves, the 16cm model vans would normally command a price of between £100 – £200 at auction depending on rarity and condition. I cannot recall seeing one of these larger ‘Road Transport’ box vans up for sale in the last couple of years and looking back through my past auction catalogues I am also unable to find it. From that I am assuming that this vehicle may well be a relatively hard to find Burnett model and as such may well demand a premium price. Please don’t loose sight of the fact that a dealer has to source his items, he does not have them given to him ! If he paid a high price at the end of the day his asking price will come down to what margin he is willing to work on. Don’t forget the general saying ‘Its worth what someone is willing to pay !’ applies. My advice is if you really want it .. contact the seller with an offer … the genuine dealer won’t be offended and you may be able to strike a deal that suits you both.
    May not really be an answer in terms of value but hope it helps, David.

  3. April 4th, 2015 at 15:49 | #3

    Hi,
    I operate a website for collectors of LSR models, toys etc. I’m trying to trace the manufacturer of a tin 1935 Bluebird LSR car. It is large at about 16 inches long and apparently came in both red and blue. The only reference I have found is that it was made by Burnett, but I haven’t been able to find any list of Burnett toys that include it. Any thoughts?

  4. dave
    April 6th, 2015 at 11:07 | #4

    Hi Carl,
    Identifying tinplate models from 1930′s as you will know is tricky at the best of times. Burnett and Chad Valley racers are very similar, throw in the likes of Wells & Brimtoy etc into the mix and without any logos etc to help it becomes even harder to identify the manufacurer of a specific model.
    Any chance of a picture to help with this one ? will send my e-mail address to you for this purpose.
    Cheers for now, David

  5. Alwin
    April 11th, 2015 at 13:24 | #5

    Hello,
    I found a blue luxury coach made by Burnett (poor condition unfortunately), do you know what year it was produced? Is it hard to find?
    Thanks in advance.

  6. dave
    April 14th, 2015 at 16:50 | #6

    Alwin, thanks for visiting the site and your question.
    Always difficult to precisely date Burnett toys especially with the Chad Valley connection. Best guess would be to give you a span of around 1920 – 1930. Burnett produced several ‘Coaches’, might be able to do a little better and a bit more precise if you can send in a photo.
    All the best, David.

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