Category:Astra Pharos Ltd

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Toy Brands and Manufacturers

Astra Pharos Limited, box lid label, detail.jpg
Astra Pharos Ltd, logo, 1947.jpg

Astra Pharos Ltd

1930s - 1950s

Astra Pharos Ltd manufactured metal toys from the 1930s to the 1950s, and had a rather specialised niche market in model searchlights and artillery.

The Astra searchlights

Quarter-page adverts for the Astra toy searchlights were a regular fixture in Meccano Magazine, and one might have been forgiven for thinking that these were all that the company made. Astra produced fixed searchlights, wheeled searchlights, highly directional "quarter mile" searchlights, and eve a searchlight mounted on a gauge 0 model railway flatbed truck, with a central pickup roller that allowed the light to be powered directly from the track's third rail.

Astra artillery

The demand for model field guns increased with the advent of World War Two, and Astra produced a range of model of contemporary mobile gun emplacements - including at least one with a searchlight! The Astra gun and rocket artillery models typically included the ability to fire small projectiles, and worked with or without caps – Astra had some serious competition here with Britains Ltd. and other manufacturers.

Other Astra models

Although Astra seems to have tried to break out of the confines of functional army-related models, their other products seem to have been less successful. There was a range of traffic lights and railways light-signals, but they were rather "chunky"-looking, and while a "heavy" look was ideal for large guns and heavy equipment, it didn't always translate well to other models.


  • Astra-Pharos Ltd., Landor Works: Askew Road, London W12
  • Astra Pharos Ltd., 239 Earls Court Road, London SW5 – 1947 advert

Links and References

  • David J Booth, The Toys of Astra-Pharos (DJ Booth, 2007) ISBN 0955636108