Electric Dairy Van (Dinky Toys 490)
Electric Dairy Van (Dinky Toys 490)180px Dinky 490, Express Fairy milk float (i)
|Arch Two , Area 21|
Classic Dinky Toys (John Durrant Collection)
| Shelf 3
A model of one of Northern Coachbuilders’s milk floats (Dinky Toys number 490), made between 1949-60.
The model is cream coloured, with "Express Dairy" printed on the front of the cab, with a red cab interior, wheel hubs, and a red wooden compartment to store milk.
The model was previously numbered 30v - it was probably unhelpful to have the same letter as the abbreviation for voltage on a model labelled as "electric".
Northern Coachbuilders were founded in Newcastle in 1920, beginning as a tram and trolley manufacturer before hugely expanding into the commercial vehicles industry, which they now dominate. The company, now known as Smith Electric Vehicles, are the world’s largest producer of electric commercial vehicles.
In 2011 an American subsidiary of the company bought out the European arm, so now it is an American company based in Missouri.
Express Dairy, founded in 1864 by dairy tycoon George Barnham, still survive today in a severely reduced form from their heyday as one of the UK's biggest milk suppliers. The name, rather than being a typically dashing sounding product name, was a genuinely accurate reference to the company’s insistence on using express trains to get their milk to London.
They also developed the successful Premier supermarkets, before selling them to Tesco.
George Barnham was a prominent figure in improving hygiene standards in milk production, not just in England but across the British Empire from India to the West Indies.