Fun Ho! History

Other New Zealand Tinplate Toys

Preface to Tinplate Toys

Barry Young, 2003


Standard stock sheets of steel were used: C/Q quality was harder, cheaper and okay if there is no 'deep drawing' needed.

DD quality was then used, as it was 'softer 'and stretched better without leaving too many 'wrinkles'.

Sheets were guillotined into appropriate strips, and fed into a machine press, with a set of blanking dies mounted. When the press came down, a special shape was blanked out of the strip from end to end. This blank was later bent, swaged, impressed, curved, or whatever was planned, using a special set of dies for each operation.

Thus for a tinplate truck, there would possibly be three different strip widths, and sets of dies and tooling for, say, the cab, the base, and the tray- maybe other parts as well. Pressed tin plate wheels would be a separate operation. and would usually be made suitable for a number of toys the same scale. Welding, and spot welding superseded the slot and twisted lug system for joining metal parts, and each firm developed a range of techniques peculiar to them selves.

By learning to recognise these techniques , the collector is better able to know the work of a given toy maker, even if there is no name, and also to decide whether the manufacturer was in a small way or mass produced their products.

Tinplate Toy Manufacturers

Compiled by Barry Young, 2003


STAR TOYS
c.1930s.
Known to produce a Tip truck and a Shell Tanker truck, as well as a Saloon car, which were all run by a small wind-up motor. Also purveyors of Cycles.

HERCULES STEEL PROD. LTD.
1945.
Kiawarra Street, Hutt Road, Wellington.
Wide range of well made tinplate wheeled toys. Truck cabs were typically rectangular steel with all four edges folded. Associated Company, same name, Port Kembla, NSW ,Australia. Some tools and dies were used by JOMAX, ( Jones & Max). Hercules is still listed in 1950, in NZ.

JOYPHYLL TOYS
c. 1945.
Whangarei.
Made tinplate rubber wheeled farm machinery toys. Taken over by Lines Bros. in 1946.

LINES BROS NZ LTD (from UK)
1946.
Bought out Joyphyll Toys and moved to Tamaki, Auckland soon afterwards. Must have had access to various tooling from the British Company. So quite early on they were known for well established tinplate toys.

TRI-ANG - PEDIGREE NZ LTD
1950.
Became their new name and a study of their different logos and name signs would be interesting, as there would have been quite an overlapping for a period.

Many different toys were sold under the brands of Lines Bros as well as Tri-ang, and a large range of Nursery furniture, doll's, and doll's furniture came from the Pedigree sections.

During 1971, TUBE INVESTMENTS LTD of UK , having taken over many toy Companies and brands: Lines Bros UK, Lines Bros Montreal, Meccano, Hornby, Raleigh Cycles, Sturmey Archer, Pedigree Dolls, Cyclops Australia, Tri-ang Pedigree, as well as many others, cast an approving eye over their NZ cousins, and took them over with a purpose to 'wind them down', so they could 'wind them up'---which they did. No one in NZ was big enough to take Tri-ang-Pedigree NZ over.

In 1979, UNDERWOOD ENG.CO.LTD purchased the Tri-ang and Pedigree brand names and all of the factory equipment in the Auckland Factory, with a concession to use Cyclops Australia plastic dies, but this last arrangement didn't work out too well and after a few months, Underwoods made new tools for their own use.

LINCOLN MANUFACTURING CO.
1946.
This was formed by Mr Lincoln Laidlaw who took over Messrs Higgins and Clotworthy. They pioneered the making of hand bag frames, and there was a good demand, and though the Australian market was also tapped, the work was seasonal, and to fill in the slack period.

In 1948, the company made its first 'Lincoln Toy'... a Gyroscopic spinning top! In 1954, a property on Great South Road was purchased and added to in 1958, and again in 1959. "Boy! Oh! Boy! -- A Lincoln Toy!" was a well known catch phrase, and their brands of toys, including the ill-fated, die-cast 'Matchbox toys', later called Mini Models, made by BRENTWARE were well known. Die-cast Micro Models of MATAI fame and others from all over the world were in popular demand for many years.

In 1983-4, they joined with SCOTT GROUP LTD AND P.C.HENDERSON NZ LTD.

ABINGDON ENGINEERING
1948.
8 Luxford Street, Wellington.
This firm was the first to import Hiab Hoists and service them. They also made at least two tinplate -wooden toys, a Tractor and a Road Roller. They must have been proud of their NZ heritage , because stamped under neath the wooden base of each toy was the legend:- "Entirely made in New Zealand by ABINGDONS ENGINEERING LTD Wellington." Strangely, the self-same stamp was used on the wooden bases of some 'JOMAX' Toys.

In 1964, STEEL BROS of Christchurch, took over Abingdons, but they have no records of any toys being made at all.

JONES AND MAX LTD
1953.
Queen Street Auckland.
Made Nursery furniture and toys and novelties, using a lot of dowelling. This was purchased from NORTHERN DOWELLING, owned by a brother of Hector Ramsey of 'Buzzy Bee' fame. In 1966, the name became JOMAX, and made a range of tinplate and other toys, including a 'Princess' pram.

The range of tinplate toys was quite extensive, and several were very similar to the older Hercules toys, which strongly suggests that there was a connection of some sort between the two companies. The Abingdon ink-stamp is to be found on some bases of Jomax toys:- "Entirely made in New Zealand by ABINGDONS ENGINEERING LTD WELLINGTON." In 1974, it appears that Jomax was owned by I. YOCK LTD, 41 Veronica St, New Lynn.

BOOMAROO TOYS
1960.
These appeared in New Zealand about this time, and it is known that MAIR AND CO imported toys of this brand in 1961-1963. This brand is found with either 'Made in Australia' or "Made in New Zealand" so it is not clear whether this was a label of convenience or whether they were actually made in this country, maybe under license. The only known address is 200 Hereford Street, Christchurch, but this may be that of the importers, who seem to have 'moved on'!

Another enigma is why so many JUMBO toys have BOOMAROO branded rubber wheels fitted."





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