|Toy Brands and Manufacturers|
The Wells-Brimtoy brand was created in 1932 from the convergence of two companies specialising in low-priced metal toys, Wells and Brimtoy.
Alfred Wells started his metal toymaking business in 1919, seizing the opportunity that arose after the First World War (1914-1918) broke the dominance that southern German companies had previously had regarding metal toy production.
Wells produced a range of comparatively inexpensive tinplate vehicles that were cheaper to produce than the German pieces had been, and Wells created a Wells o’ London logo that showed two water-wells.
Brimtoy started in 1923, rising from the embers of British Metal and Toy Manufacturers, which had benefited from the boom in the toy industry immediately after WW1, but had then been caught out by the following economic depression in the early Twenties. Brimtoy included personnel from British Metal and Toy Manufacturers, and emphasised the continuity by basing their name on that of the older company.
Brimtoy continued to emphasise the Britishness (and non-Germanness!) of their product with a logo that incorporated Nelson’s Column.
The two companies became one in 1932, and then moved to a new factory site, Progress Works, in Stirling Road, Walthamstow.
Foreword to the 1951 Wells-Brimtoy Distributors Ltd. catalogue
Soon after the first World War in the year 1919 our Chairman, Mr. A.W.J. Wells opened a small toy manufacturing business in Dame Street, Islington, N1. This venture proved to be the nucleus of what is now a progressive and successful organisation.
Weathering the lengthy depression which followed the first World War, Mr. Wells moved his business to larger premises in Shepherdess Walk, Islington, N.1. and then again to an even larger factory in Somers Road, Walthamstow, where the policy enacted during this time made it possible to erect the factory in Stirling Road, Walthamstow, which today is the home of this large organisation.
The year 1932 brought further progress with the acquisition of the toy factory of Brimtoy Ltd., which was even at that time, known throughout Britain and, indeed, in many countries overseas for competitive train sets, accessories, and toy stoves. In 1949 A. Wells & Co. Ltd. And Brimtoy Ltd. Formed the company of Well-Brimtoy Distributors Ltd., which is now the Sales Organisation for both companies.
Thus it can be seen that the spirit of enterprise and progress shown by Mr. Wells has put his organisation in the forefront of toy manufacturers. It may also be interesting to note that our subsidiary Company – The Anglesey Instrument & Clock Co. – are manufacturers of various mechanisms and timepieces.
The Company enjoys renowned reputation for its products, particularly for the reliability of its clockworks. The brightly coloured coachwork of the toys has proved immensely popular, and it is with pride that we offer the merchandise shown in the following pages, knowing them to be, as a direct result of many years of experience in production and ingenuity of design, unsurpassed both for quality and price.
— , Wells-Brimtoy distributors Ltd., , 1951 catalogue, , 1951
Identifying some of the less popular Wells pieces can be unexpectedly difficult, as the company seemed to be strangely averse to putting their name on their products. This is especially odd as the products somehow managed to find room for the words "MADE IN ENGLAND", and often went to great care to replicate authentic tyre-lettering on vehicles with white tyres. As a result, some Wells toys appear in books and auction catalogues marked as "unidentified maker", and others are referred to by the marks that are present.
An exception to the rule is that a few of the vehicles have a small "W" over the radiator grille, where car manufacturers would often put their marque.
Wells pieces can often be identified by their having the same distinctive tyres that have been used on another already-known Wells piece, and the clockwork vehicles often have an easily-recognisable clockwork mechanism with two obvious large-diameter and alarmingly thin gears that look a little like rotary sawblades, driven by an unusual helical spring would around the driveshaft. The helical spring was unusual on other toys, as although it was compact, it tended to be fairly weak in comparison to more conventional "coiled band" springs.
Because the identity of the Wells products (A.J. Wells, Welsotoys) and the Brimtoy produducts (Brimtoy, Pocketoy) continued in parallel after the two companies had supposedly merged, with products listed or marked rather inconsistently as either Wells or Brimtoy, or as Wells-Brimtoy, many collectors simply give up trying to establish which indvidual company to credit for a toy, or finding out whether an example was made pre-1932 or post-1932, and simply refer to all the products of the two companies, even before they merged, collectively, as "Wells-Brimtoy" products.
- Brimtoy -- Somers Road, Walthamstow -- 1924-
- Wells-Brimtoy -- Progress Works, Stirling Road, Walthamstow -- ~1938-~1965
- Wells-Brimtoy (binnsroad.co.uk)
- Working at the Wells Brimtoy Factory, Walthamstow (vam.ac.uk)
- HISTORY: "Walthamstow's toy heritage", by Natalie Glanvill, East London and West Essex Guardian (guardian-series.co.uk) -- 2013
- The Wells-Brimtoy Story (rodgersantiques.co.uk)
- Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop: Toymaking (wforalhistory.org.uk)
- Fun Factory begins in Walthamstow (heritagefund.org.uk)
- British Pathé: Brighton Toy Fair 1968 (youtube.com) – at ~8 seconds in, Wells-Brimtoy stand
This category has the following 2 subcategories, out of 2 total.
Pages in category ‘Wells-Brimtoy’
The following 13 pages are in this category, out of 13 total.
Media in category ‘Wells-Brimtoy’
The following 19 files are in this category, out of 19 total.
- Articulated Petrol Tanker, Wells Brimtoy 712 (BPO 1955-10).jpg 1,724 × 1,364; 634 KB
- Brimtoy Brand logo.jpg 590 × 803; 92 KB
- Clockwork Motor Ambulance 20 (WellsCat 1931).jpg 1,609 × 1,557; 324 KB
- Combination Kitchen Set, Wells Brimtoy 204 (BPO 1955-10).jpg 1,891 × 1,803; 861 KB
- Double-decker NS Omnibus XM 1047 (Wells).jpg 2,000 × 1,334; 490 KB
- Electric Cooker, My Dollys Kitchen Series, box end (Wells-Brimtoy).jpg 1,200 × 924; 225 KB
- Little Mothers Sweepwell, Wells-Brimtoy No116 Large Carpet Sweeper (GaT 1956).jpg 2,093 × 1,885; 895 KB
- My Dollys Kitchen Series, box face (Wells-Brimtoy).jpg 1,200 × 855; 166 KB
- My Dollys Kitchen Series, box side (Wells-Brimtoy).jpg 610 × 1,200; 143 KB
- Playtime Cooker, Wells-Brimtoy No203 (GaT 1956).jpg 1,788 × 1,533; 940 KB
- Sand and Gravel Tip Lorry, Wells Brimtoy 713 (BPO 1955-10).jpg 1,718 × 1,394; 572 KB
- The Prince, Streamlined Train Set, Wells Brimtoy 354 (BPO 1955-10).jpg 1,739 × 1,823; 965 KB
- Tip Truck 61 (WellsBrimtoyCat 1951).jpg 1,600 × 983; 229 KB
- Wells Brimtoy (BPO 1955-10).jpg 1,000 × 1,600; 1.04 MB
- Wells O London logo.jpg 1,021 × 1,192; 270 KB
- Wells-Brimtoy, Golden Eagle 4482 (GaT 1939).jpg 1,145 × 1,492; 263 KB
- Wells-Brimtoy, Modern Toys for the Modern Boy (GaT 1956).jpg 1,056 × 1,600; 346 KB
- Wells-Brimtoy, Modern Toys for the Modern Girl (GaT 1956).jpg 1,042 × 1,600; 239 KB
- Welsotoys logo, Wells-Brimtoy, 1956.jpg 508 × 405; 26 KB