Posts Tagged ‘England’

English magnetic building toy

Saturday, June 5th, 2010
Magnetic Constructional Toys box lid

Magnetic Constructional Toys box lid

Here is a rather splendid looking but not terribly user friendly Magnetic Constructional Toys set.  It comprises a variety of painted / printed / enamelled (I’m not too sure how best to describe the method) metal panels, painted rectangular magnets, two metal support beams plus some decorative parts which are essentially ball bearings and washers. The box is metal so that it can be used as a building base and despite how it looks in my photograph, is dark green.

Magnetic Constructional Toys box contents

Magnetic Constructional Toys box contents

The panels depict an interesting range of both exterior and interior designs, ranging from the straightforward brick house and contemporary domestic interiors, through a chronologically confused stone terrace house with castellations and Georgian-meets-Elizabethan details to a collection of Moorish arches.  The panels with what look like coach lining seem to be intended primarily for bridges although the accompanying leaflet shows them in other uses too.

Magnetic Constructional Toys leaflet

Magnetic Constructional Toys leaflet

The toy was made by Goodtoy Products Ltd of Kentish Town Road, London and shows a provisional patent number of 3926.  I’ve not had a chance to check this out in the library, but the set appears to date from the 1930s. One thing I particularly like is the company slogan: “A Goodtoy product ‘makes’ a good child”!

English construction set Buildo

Saturday, May 15th, 2010
Buildo box lid

Buildo box lid

As a counterpoint to my first featured set from down under, this splendid building set exudes that kind of rural Englishness that is still the subject of misty-eyed yearning but was, I suspect, mostly a myth. Whereas Arkitekt was proud of being made in Australia, Buildo here is proud of the native architecture it depicts, proclaiming on the box lid that:
 
 ’These models … provide amusement and instruction in the design and form of our unrivalled English homes.’
 The set comprises printed, and in some cases textured, card parts held to each other and to metal stiffening pieces with metal pins. These are tiny versions of the sort used to hold paper together – pushing through the hole and opening out at the back.  There are a few wooden parts too – a chimney pot and porch roof  support in this set.  Also in common with Arkitekt, the set includes a tool – in this case an awl, presumably for easing the holes in the card parts or to help with the alignment of holes when building.

 

Buildo parts

Buildo parts

I have a number 1 set which of course will only build the more simple models, but this page from the manual shows what was possible with larger sets. 

 Buildo manual page

Buildo manual page

The set was made by Alldays of Birmingham, who according to a quick internet search seem to have been primarily printers of postcards, posters and souvenir brochures, active from at least 1900 to the 1950s. 

My only basis for dating this set (as with so many in my collection) is the image on the box cover as there are no hints in the box or manual text.  The dress worn by the lady at the porch suggests Victorian or Edwardian, but if the designer is going for nostalgia then there’s no guarantee it is meant to be contemporary, in which case the set might well be ’20s or ’30s. 

If anyone has more information I’ll be delighted to be corrected.