Category:Leeds Model Company

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Leeds Model Co (LMC) manufacturer sticker.jpg

Leeds Model Company

1912 -     

The Leeds Model Company (also known as Leeds, or LMC) was started in 1912 by Rex Stedman.

It produced good quality gauge 0 model railway stock, targeted at two markets: Mass-produced models that could be produced cheaply, and more expensive models that were made to order.

Lithographed paper and wood rolling stock

For the cheaper range, Leeds produced rolling stock with wooden bodies, and lithographed paper decals. As well as being cheaper to produce, the paper decals meant that Leeds could offer customers the chance to give their existing wooden rolling stock a new identity just by buying and applying a fresh set of decals, and also let Leeds advertise at the "constructor" market.

"Bakelite" rolling stock

Leeds also produced a range of rolling-stock using the then-new "Bakelite" plastic material. as an unexpected side-effect of the combination of weight, shape and sound-transmission properties of the new material was that the moulded Bakelite models turned out to have an uncanny ability to sound like real railway carriages when they crossed a model railway layout's point.

As a result, these Leeds models have the slightly odd distinction of getting rave reviews from enthusiasts for the noise they make.

Locomotives

Leeds also made a range of nice locomotives. However, the metal alloy used in some of the castings turned out to be unstable, and over a period of years, some of the components of some of these metal models deteriorated badly and needed to be replaced with new parts.

Collectability

Since Leeds weren't one of the very biggest manufacturers, later collectors tended to spurn their pieces, and a couple of decades ago, anyone trying to sell locomotives or rolling stock made by the company might have had trouble shifting them. Many people with stock of Leeds pieces in their stockrooms or attics may have been advised at the time that the pieces weren't worth anything, and may have simply thrown them away.

However, nowadays there's more appreciation for Leeds items, especially some of the more beautiful "made to order" items from the more expensive end of the range, and the fact that so much of the company's production now seems to have been "lost" now gives some pieces an unexpected rarity value.

Other company names

Leeds stayed a family-based business, and had later incarnations as R.F. Stedman (When Stedman started a new company), and as Ellemsee Accessories.

1929 promotional text:

R.F. Stedman & Co. Ltd.

New Litho. Rolling Stock, 1929-30 Series

...
The method of construction of these models is well worthy of consideration. The bodywork is of seasoned wood, all corners being lock jointed and floors grooved so that the resulting article is as strong as can possibly be made. On covered vehicles, the roofs are metal, fitting securely into grooves in the top of the body work.

The Lithography has been exceedingly well carried out, and the details found on the actual vehicles have been very faithfully reproduced. These lithographed sides and ends are securely fastened on the wooden bodies, and where there are corner plates, these are actually carried round on to the ends, giving additional strength of fixing.

The underframes are equipped in the four wheeled models, with our unbreakable axleguards, having the springs, hangers and axle-boxes die cast in a special white metal, giving a frictionless bearing for the journals.

Eight wheeled vehicles have our famous tinplate bogies, the detail of which is reproduced in a similar way to the axleguards.

All models are fitted with our new " NEWALLOY " wheels which have created so much interest in the model world this year. These wheels are equal in every way to cast iron, and they run dead true on their axles.

There is yet another great advance. Our whole set of litho models are now fitted with NON-LOCKING BUFFERS and SCALE 3 LINK COUPLINGS, the latter having springs fitted, this easing the strain on locomotives when starting off with a heavy train.

The Goods stock is finished with matt celluloid varnish and the Coaching stock with a glossy celluloid varnish.

What better rolling stock could anyone want? – and just look at the prices! We are offering REAL SCALE MODELS in Coaching Stock, and 24 DIFFERENT MODELS in Goods Stock, and we can supply them ready to run or in Finished Parts for you to erect yourselves.

— , -, , R.F. Stedman Model Railway Engineers catalogue, , 1929

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