Category:Kleeware

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Toy Brands and Manufacturers

Kleeware Product logo bw.jpg

Kleeware

1938 - 1959


O and M Kleeman Limited was a plastics and plastic toy company founded in 1938 that is mainly remembered for their cheap and popular "pocket-money" Kleeware dollhouse furniture (sold through outlets like Woolworths). Manufacturing took place in Welwyn Garden City, and, when expansion later caused them to require larger premises, in Aycliff, County Durham.

Plastics raw materials manufacturing

Kleeman also sold "Kabroloid moulding powder" direct to other manufacturers, and after they also took over the "Erinoid" business, decided to concentrate on just supplying raw materials to industry (which eliminated the awkwardness of supplying raw plastics to toy companies, and then competing with those same companies as a toymaker themselves).

In the history of British toymaking, brands tend to disappear when their owning companies go bust or are bought out – Kleeman's exit from toymaking is an unusual example of a toy brand disappearing becuase the company was too successful (in other areas). Kleeman disposed of their toymaking business by selling the "product manufacturing" side to their competitor toymaker Rosedale (owner of the "Tudor Rose" brand) in 1959.

Kleeware Plastics Limited posted notices for the winding up of the company in the London Gazette in early-to-mid 1965.

Range

Kleeware (like Airfix and Palitoy) were a plastics company that originally used the new materials to produce all manner of small household and personal goods. After a diversion to war work during World War Two (1939-45), Kleeware's inventory of small plastic items grew to include small dolls (as did Palitoy), plastic kits (as did Airfix) and other miscellaneous toys, and ... unlike the other two mentioned companies ... plastic dollhouse furniture.

The kits (such as the aeroplane kits and the "Model Cars of All Nations" series) seem to have been licenced from small US kit manufacturers, who, while not able to finance selling into the UK market themselves, were prepared to hire out their moulds to a "local" manufacturer.

Dollhouse furniture

The obvious advantage of using plastic moulding for dollhouse items was that many pieces (like tables and chairs) were simple single-colour pieces with no moving parts, that could be considered to be "finished" as soon as they plopped out of the injection moulding machine. However, some of their pieces were multipart (such as a plastic kitchen chair with a different-coloured plastic cushion).

Quality-wise, Kleeware's output ranged from well-sculpted brown wood-look furniture with a hard, opaque, almost Bakelite-like glossy finish, to cheaper, designed-to-cost "penny toys set" -style pieces with no stamped brand name, moulded in softer, cheaper-looking plastic. Their cheapest items are (perhaps unfortunately) the easiest to recognise, typically one-piece "shell" items with no moving components and hollow bases, moulded in white, red, yellow or pink.

Addresses

  • O & M Kleeman Limited – Mappin House, 156-162 Oxford Street, London, W1
  • O & M Kleeman Limited – West Halkin House, West Hlkin Street, London W1 -- 1952

External links

museum collections:
misc ranges:


Subcategories

This category has the following 4 subcategories, out of 4 total.

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Media in category ‘Kleeware’

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