During the early 1940's following the fire in the premises which destroyed records and no doubt samples and stock as well, some of the product numbers became a bit mixed up!
Some were numbers that were never used in production, while others were used twice for different products, making identification difficult.
Many of the earlier Fun Ho! Toys have been positively identified by matching early price lists with 'plate castings', and rejected 'originals', which were recovered from a 'Heap of Castings' in the loft over the Foundry at Inglewood by the author.
These were experimental and modified original castings, made prior to production plates and were not always complete, but have helped the authenticity of some toys that were doubtful in origin for some years.
Some numbers and/or descriptions were listed for a couple of years then, in the absence of 'tooling up' jigs made for production, they were put aside, and eventually lost track of ...unless they turned up in the 'Heap of Castings' that Barry found, or were given a new number and listed later.
This article is intended to throw more light on the subject of some of these earlier Fun Ho! toys.
The main numbers being examined are Numbers 90, 92, 94, 95, 106, 107, 110, 111, and 112 - all nine of which have been recorded on earliest official Price-Lists.
No. 90 Large Van
This number was listed in 1942 & 1943, but no price was shown, so no estimation of size can be guessed - but it does say "Large Van!"
No castings of a (Large) Van have been found, and No. 90 was recorded no more, so it was either shelved and never produced, or it took about two years to Tool Up and was produced as No.111 Large Van in 1945. My guess is the latter.
No. 92 Tip Truck
Also listed in 1942 and 1943, with no price, after which the number disappeared. However , from the 'Heap of Castings', six Tip Trucks were able to be assembled which had no number to match them.
So it must assumed that for some reason they were not suitable to market. Maybe they were uneconomical, as the castings were unusually thick, and difficult to assemble.
Be that as it may, they never reached production status, and were probably discontinued before reaching production.
Three of the samples are on display in the Fun Ho! National Toy Museum at Inglewood, Taranaki.
No. 94 Stake Truck
Listed only in 1942, and with no other suggestion as to what it was like, its career is similar to No.90.
In 1946 and 1947, No.156 and No.159 Farm Trucks were introduced to the Fun Ho! range.
Maybe No 94 Stake Truck lay around for a few years and in 1946 - 1947 became either No 156 or No 159 Farm Truck, as we call them in New Zealand! That is my deliberation, anyway.
No. 95 Motorbike and Sidecar
This was advised in the 1942 List with no price shown.
Now I have heard that Sidecars have many uses, but this No. 95 'takes the cake' because in 1945 No. 95 became a Bath, and continued as such!
By 1946, No.152 Motorbike and Sidecar was introduced at the princely sum of six shillings and ninepence!
This the only one of its kind in the Fun Ho! Collection, so it seems that it is another case of a Number switch.
No. 106 Large Fire Engine
This really makes one wonder! In 1942 and 1943, No. 106 was listed as Large Fire Engine...
Yet in 1944, 1945 & 1946, No. 106 was clearly listed as a Twin Engined RAF Bomber, priced at 45 shillings, 46/-, and 48/- per dozen respectively!
So once again, we see that No.106 Large Fire Engine was dispensed with, its number to be used the very next year by a totally different Toy.
Two examples of the Fire Engine were found, only one of which was complete ( see picture).
The incomplete part casting was given to a Fire Engine collector.
No.107 Fire Engine
After the fire in the Wellington Factory, it is understandable that there seemed to be a rush to produce Fire Engines, and No. 107 was given a brief listing in 1942 and 1943. We have no idea of size or type.
However, someone must have put a spanner in the works, so to speak, for this one never left the Fire Station, let alone the Factory and the 'Heap of Castings' produced no further evidence.
We 'rest our case.'
No. 107 was given to the Money Box Policeman in 1944, and he kept the number till 1957.
No.110 Bus, listed 1943
This number has caused a little confusion because the Bus was delayed...
There is a set of Bus castings in cast iron, from the mystical 'Heap of Castings,' but your guess is as good as mine as to whether it was intended to be No 110, or whether it became No.181 Railway Bus, with its debut in 1948.
No.110 Caravan, listed 1945 with a suggested price of 4 shillings and eleven pence! Number 110 then disappears entirely!
There is no mention of Caravans again till 1955, when the current Caravan was paired and sold as a combination with No.192 Ford forty-niner Saloon car as No.515 Car and Caravan. Was this the same caravan?
I would think so, as no other caravan has been found, and I believe both Caravan and No. 192, which went together very nicely, were very similar to American cast iron models sold by Hubley!
No.111 Chrysler Airflow, 1942
Nothing to support this one, no castings, no other record, nothing from the "Heap of Castings."
Regrettably, end of story.
No.111 Large Van, started 1945 , and kept the same number for over 30 years (see Number 90 above.)
No. 112 Small Roadster, listed 1942-45
Even though listed three or four years, no castings, no other record, nothing in the 'H of C', nothing to show for it at all. Again, end of story.
No. 112 Large Bus, listed in 1945, and again in 1946, with suggested retail price 12/6d on a list headed up - "Now going into production " - but it never did!
We have no other records that could throw light on this. Compare No. 110 Bus, above.
The above Explorations, Explanations and Extrapolations are the clearest facts known of these Nine Numbered but Unknown Fun Ho! models.
Barry Young E&OE A.R.R. Copyright 2004