Modelled Miniatures | Dinky Toys | Supertoys | Dinky Builder | Dublo Dinky |
Army | Boats | Dollhouse | Farm | Planes · 1 · 2 · 3 | Ships |
US FR 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s |
Meccano Ltd.'s Dinky Toys were launched in 1934, with heavy promotion in Meccano Magazine.
The range was a more confident relaunch of the company's more tentative 1932 Hornby Modelled Miniatures range, but now cast in the new MAZAK diecasting material rather than the soft lead used for "HMM".
The "Dinky" name
Dinky is a Scottish work meaning "small and cute" (as in, "Look at the little cottage, isn't it dinky!").
Dinky Toys became a byword for small diescast toys, with the "inky" sound being copied by many of the brand's later competitors.
Years later, a similar situation arose when many internet search engines and environments (such as Google and Yahoo) ended up with an "oo" sound in their name ... this wasn't an attempt to confuse or mislead the customer, but to evoke a brand-leader's name and comunicate to the customer that this was somethimg similar.
Other diecast toy makers with "kee" or "ee" sounds at the ends of their names included.
- Budgie Toys (Morestone)
- Corgi Toys (Mettoy-Playcraft)
- Efsi Toys
- Husky Toys (a smaller-sized offshoot of the Corgi range)
- Impy Toys (Lone Star)
It should be noted that in this list of "soundalikes"", Tootsie Toys (in the US) predated Dinky ... The Tootsie brand was in use for toy cars in the late 1920s, and was being strongly promoted in 1932. Frank Hornby would probably have been aware of their existence during his trips to the US in the 1920s, when he was litigating over unauthorised copies of Meccano, and setting up the Meccano Inc. factory in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
In the mid-1960s, the US distributor was downplaying the "toys" aspect of the name, wanting to emphasise that these were accurate models and not just children's playthings. US branding tended to refer to the range as either just "Dinky", or as "Dinky Models".
- Dinky Builder (1934-) was a simple construction toy aimed at younger children, which wasn't obviously compatible with Meccano.
- Dinky Supertoys (1947-) were the sub-brand for physically larger Dinky Toys (such as models of large lorries amd airliners). The sub-brand ended up being retired, with Dinky Supertoys becoming just Dinky Toys.
- Dublo Dinky Toys, or Dinky Dublo was a physically smaller range designed to work with 00-gauge model railways and layouts (~1:76 scale rather than the 1:43 scale of gauge 0).
After the failure of Meccano Ltd., and then the subsequent failure of Lines Brothers (who'd taken over the business), Dinky Toys stopped being produced at Binns Road in Liverpool and at Bobigny in France, and the Dinky name appeared on some diecast toys produced by unconnected companies under licence. This included a range of smaller-scale Mini-Dinky toys. These seem to have had no real connection to the orignal "Dinky Toys" ranges, either British or French.