Category:Nuways dollhouse furniture (Bassett-Lowke)

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Toy Brands and Manufacturers

NUWAYS dollhouse furniture logo, mono.jpg

Nuways dollhouse furniture (Bassett-Lowke)

1931 - 1932


NUWAYS was an (apparently quite brief) range of Bassett-Lowke-branded 1:12-scale dollhouse furniture that had its own catalogues in 1931 and 1932, and was quite heavily promoted during this period, but outside the usual channels used by B-L to reach model engineering enthusiasts. We're not aware of there being a 1933 catalogue.

The museum has some of this range in its collection, and is creating a listing as part of its new 2016 "25th anniversary" dollhouse furniture display.

Theme

The 1931 NUWAYS range was an initial range that was intended to be expanded later, and seemed to be based on W.J. Bassett-Lowke's own tastes in modern furniture design, to the extent that the name of the range – Nuways – was named after WJ's own 1926 house New Ways, designed by Peter Behrens with 1916 furniture by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (which had originally been produced for 78 Derngate).

The extent to which this may have been a personal project of W.J. Bassett-Lowke is suggested by the Nuways logo. The very small version printed on the catalogue (apparently in two variations) is slightly crude, with the chair-detailing oddly asymmetrical, and while the person who drew the logo seems to have been happy with the first five "angular" letters, the "S" seemed to give them more trouble (although we've redrawn the logo and fixed some of the geometrical "kludges", we've deliberately kept some of the awkwardness of the original S").

Since the printed artwork seems a little sub-par in execution for a professional graphic designer, It's our current best guess that the logo might have been designed and drawn by WJ himself.

Introduction to the 1931 catalogue

THE furniture illustrated in this catalogue represents the first attempt to provide scale models for the doll's house for although we have brought the working models of ships and railways to perfection and so provided the boys with the best of toys we have hitherto sadly neglected the interests of girls.

The average doll's house is a crude affair and the furniture is not only often ugly, but ridiculously out of scale. Every girl will know the house where the sewing machine is as big as the sideboard. It has been difficult to decide what scale would be best to use – if too large a one, the doll's house would be unwieldy, if too small, the smaller articles such as knives and forks would be reduced to minute sizes and would soon be lost and would also be expensive to make. After much experiment and thought, we decided upon the scale of one inch to the foot. Furniture to this scale fits in admirably with the average rooms of the doll's house which measures eight or nine inches high and about 18 by 12 inches in floor area. This was, incidentally, the scale used for the Queen's Doll's House, which is the finest work of its kind in existence.

The articles illustrated in this catalogue are only the first of a series and provide for the furnishing of the dining and living rooms, the kitchen and the scullery. They represent however, over twelve months' work. All the articles are of continental manufacture, but it is hoped that the demand will be such as to enable us to undertake the manufacture of them at our Works in Northampton.

It has been our aim, not only to make scale model furniture, but to make sound and well designed furniture. A glance at the illustrations will show that we have succeeded in our aim.

— Foreword , Nuways: Scale Model Furniture, Bassett-Lowke Ltd., June 1931

Manufacture

As with many Bassett-Lowke product ranges, the Nuways range seems to have been manufactured by outside sources for the company, and B-L were pretty clear that most of the manufacturing for Nuways was foreign, but with production expected to be moved to the UK if the range took off.

  • Our example of the rather nice fireplace is stamped "foreign" on the back in purple ink, and we're currently pretty sure that it's a piece manufactured by Kibri of Germany.
  • The 1931 catalogue image of Vacuum Cleaner 8124 has its black dust bag emblazoned with what one might assume was the name of a vacuum cleaner manufacturer, but is actually ANFOE, Andreas Fortner's German toymaking company that was then bought by Stefan Bing and became the original German Trix company.

Bassett-Lowke had strong links with Stefan Bing, they collaborated with Bing on the Bing Table Railway system in the mid-1920s (with Henry Greenly), and the team then collaborated again on the Trix Twin Railway system in the mid-1930s. Stefan and his partners appear to have bought Andreas Fortner's company in 1929, so it's entirely logical that if WJ was looking to have some dollhouse furniture manufactured in the early 1930s, he'd have gone to ANFOE and his friend Stefan.

We'll continue to research further.

1931 listing

  • 8119 – Fireside Companion
  • 8124 – Vacuum Cleaner
  • 8125 – O'Cedar Mop
  • 8126 – Carpet Sweeper
  • 8127 – Polishing Brush
  • 8158 – Tea Wagon
  • 8159 – Dinner Gong
  • 8169 – Smoker's Set
  • 8190 – Desk Set
  • 8300/1 – Standard Lamp
  • 8300/2 – Table Lamp
  • 8300/3 – Hanging Lamp
  • 8301/1 – Electric Radiator
  • 8302 – Fireplace and Mantelpiece
  • 8383 – Model Clock for Overmantel: as illustrated, price 6d
  • 8350 – Kitchen Sink
  • 8357 – Gas Cooker
  • 8400/1 – Picture
  • 8400/2 – Picture
  • 8401/2 – Picture
  • 8450/1 – Carpets
  • 8450/2 – Hearth Rugs
  • 8500/1 – Sideboard
  • 8500/2 – Dining Table
  • 8500/3 – Bureau Book Case
  • 8500/4 – Book Table
  • 8500/5 – Dining Chair
  • 8500/6 – Elbow Chair
  • 8501/1 – Kitchenette
  • 8501/2 – Kitchenette Unit
  • 8501/3 – Kitchenette Unit with drawers
  • 8501/4 – Kitchen Side Table
  • 8501/5 – Kitchen Chair
  • 8501/6 – Kitchen Table
  • 8510/1 – Flower Stand
  • 8510/2 – Plant Stand
    • Box of 10 model cacti plants in pots suitable for window sills, etc.
  • 8520/1 – Armchair
  • 8520/2 – Settee
  • 8521 – Cushion
  • Table Glassware
  • Curtain Rod
  • Material for Curtains, Etc.

Acknowledgements

We're indebted to our friends at 78 Derngate, W.J. Bassett-Lowke's Charles Rennie Mackintosh-furnished house in Northampton, for sending us a colour photocopy of the 1931 "Nuways" catalogue from their files. This has been invaluable for research and identification of the B-L dollhouse furniture pieces in our collections.

See also:

External sources


Media in category ‘Nuways dollhouse furniture (Bassett-Lowke)’

The following 41 files are in this category, out of 41 total.