Category:Primus Engineering

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Toy Brands and Manufacturers

Primus Engineering

1913 - 1923

Primus Engineering (W. Butcher & Sons, London) produced a range of construction toys between 1913 and 1923 that differed from most of the other "Meccano-like", "metal builder" toys in that they included both wooden and metal parts.

Although the company dates are listed as going up to 1923, part of the range appeared in the 1924 Bassett-Lowke Catalogue "B" for 1924, suggesting that perhaps Bassett-Lowke might have bought up the remaining stock.

Primus surprised the toy industry in 1916 by bringing out a large sophisticated model Primus Tank Outfit almost immediately after the first British military prototypes had been seen in public in ~autumn 1916, made from the No.5 set "and additional parts".

"Wood and metal!"

Although the Primus range included strips and trunions and wheels similar to those found in Meccano sets, the company tried to differentiate itself from Meccano by not slavishly adhering to the principle that everything in our world could be appropriately modelled using thin metal strips and nuts and bolts.

Primus also included chunky wooden "timbers" with unobtrusive end-holes, as well as wooden blank panels, and panels with windows, allowing the user to make wooden-sided wagons, simple buildings and cabs, and even complete wooden-sided gauge 1 railway carriages (Saloon Carriage No.352) without the result being a distracting mass of metal plates, space holes and protruding screwheads.

To drive this differential home, the company used the box slogan,

"Look! It's Wood and Metal!".


Standard sets

  • No.0 – 122 wood and metal parts
  • No.1 – 140 wood and metal parts
  • No.2 – 267 wood and metal parts
  • No.3 – 473 wood and metal parts
  • No.4 – 649 wood and metal parts
  • No.5 – 1131 wood and metal parts
  • No.6 – Presentation Cabinet with 1189 wood and metal parts

Specialist sets and parts

  • Primus Tank Outfit
  • Primus Big Wheel Outfit
  • Primus Locomotive Outfit
  • Primus Motor Chassis Outfit
  • Primus Clockwork Motor

In the Museum

As of August 2016, the "built" Primus models that we have on display consist of a Primus clockwork Locomotive and Goods Truck parked on a length of gauge 1 track in front of a Primus Railway Station. We'd dearly love to expand this with a Primus Passenger Carriage, if anyone out there has one, or has the parts to make one.

External links

Media in category ‘Primus Engineering’

The following 4 files are in this category, out of 4 total.