Fun Ho! History

Other New Zealand Cast Aluminium Toys

Preface to Cast Aluminium Toys

Barry Young, 2003

New Zealand leads the world in making cast aluminium toys and fancy hardware.

In Europe and USA ,as well as in China, cast iron is used, as it is cheap, available and well understood. In New Zealand, however, cast iron is hard to come by, while aluminium is more readily available. Either metals are generally used with a system called green-sand casting, which though simple in principle, requires great skill in practice.

For a detailed explanation turn to 'Fun Ho! Toys' above in left hand column and click 'Sandcast Aluminium'. Also 'Featured Articles' contains much general manufacturing information that should interest the serious collector.

Cast Aluminium Toy Manufacturers

Compiled by Barry Young, 2003

Although records of these only start in 1940, there is no doubt that cast ali toys were made earlier, along with the Lead toy range of Fun Ho!. Number 76, 77,78, 81, 91, 92, 93, 94, 103, 104, 105, 106, 110, 111, as well as the Doll's Furniture numbers are all in keeping with the lead toys numbers.

It is just unfortunate that a fire in 1941, burned all the previous records of cast ali toys. but there is no doubt that Fun Ho! sand cast toys were the first in New Zealand. 1987 saw the demise of The Underwood Eng Co Ltd, but the re-structured firm of ROUND-A-BOUT DISTRIBUTORS arose and is still producing a very small number of gravity die-cast aluminium toys in 2003.

Older Fun Ho! toys are being made selectively in small numbers for collectors by FUN HO! NATIONAL TOY MUSEUM, in Inglewood, and are marked 'REPRO.'

C. 1949.
Alumcast Products began making a range of wheeled toys, somewhat similar to the Fun Ho! toys. There were several managerial changes, and at one stage the name was changed about 1952 to 'PEAK' TOYS, but it soon reverted back to the Tiger Toys of Timaru. With continuing financial and managerial difficulties, Tiger Toys ceased in the 1960s.

c. 1960.
Made by McKenzie and Bannister, Auckland.
The earliest toys were knuckle-bones, followed by cars trucks and tractors, which are still well known today. Some of the more unusual toys would be a rabbit pulling a trailer, and a money-box clock.

About 1970, a selected range was produced for I. YOCK, and were sold under the 'JOYTIME' brand name. In the early 1970s, production ceased and the firm was bought up by COMPASS LION.

About 1973, Compass Lion sold some of the toy dies to Fun Ho!. These were not used till 1979, the year Underwoods bought out Tri-ang Pedigree, and in 1980 some of the slightly modified Jumbo Toys were added to the existing Fun Ho! Toys and became the Fun Ho! Sandpit Range.

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