Main Page

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Jump to navigationJump to search

Revision information,
13 June 2024

Publisher: Brighton Toy and Model Museum, UK

Editor: Eric Baird

ISSN 2399-1798

9,821 Pages

11,811 Images and other files

69,442 edits since 2011-02

Latest pages - Latest images
Blue Marble banner 02.jpg

The Brighton Toy and Model Index

The Brighton Toy and Model Index is a regularly-updated knowledgebase for toys and models, and the general and social history of modelmaking and toymaking across the UK and Europe, from the industrial revolution to the middle of the Twentieth Century.

As of January 2024, the Index currently holds over nine thousand pages and over eleven thousand photographs and archive scans.

The rate of accumulation of new material has slowed a bit recently as the Museum directs more resources into refreshing its inventory. Recent changes in the museum itself have included rebuilding the aviation cabinet to include Skybirds and Britains Aircraft collections, and the new pre-War Dinky display includes an incredible collection of rare pre-war Dinky Aircraft from the 1930s. To reflect this, we've been acquiring contemporary material on early aviation to put onto the Index to support these collections. We're also starting to tentatively accumulate some material on the 1960s Apollo space programme, to be ready for Humankind's expected return to the Moon in 2025.

We've also now gotten an expanded collection of Budgie Toys and earlier Morestone diecast vehicles (Morestone rebranded and redistributed pieces from a range of little companies in North London before inventing the Budgie brand). So that's another subject area that we are expanding.

Although this encyclopaedia is powered by the same software that runs Wikipedia and (like Wikipedia), is a continually-growing "work in progress", editing is reserved for authorised Museum personnel.

The Early Toy Record

The early history of toys provides a unique historical record of not only social and technological progress, but also of the collective psyche. Long before modern precision injection moulding and computer-generated tooling, early toys, made using comparatively crude processes, were by necessity highly impressionistic and somewhat abstract.
The early "tinplate wranglers" were not just craftsman and engineers, but artists, striving to distil out the essential feel, identity and character of the originals in objects that might sometimes only have had a passing resemblance to their true proportions and shape. Early toy design was to some extent a form of three-dimensional cartooning or caricature, focussing on and emphasising a thing’s key identifying elements and discarding “unimportant” detail, the result being a slightly surreal and "dreamlike" record not of a thing’s physical shape, but of how it was understood and remembered.
The result is a very human record of how humans saw, perceived and felt towards their surroundings through the period.

The Model Record

In contrast, the history of models provides a more technical and exact record of buildings, styles and (in the case of model engineering) machinery and vehicles from other times. With past modelmakers having acted as "curators" in deciding what was and wasn’t worth recording in model form, old models provide a contemporary record of real life in miniature, allowing us to assemble, for instance, a tiny transport museum showing the breadth of designs across the early British car industry, within the volume of a small room. Static and working models capture details that might not be present in plans or photographs, such as the look of an oiled piston-rod, or actual colours that cannot be reliably determined from early colour photography or black-and-white images.

Significant Updates and Additions, to 2019:

Dec 2019

Nov 2019

Oct 2019

  • Cox – US-built model petrol engines, cars and planes, and electric slotcars (1940s-)

Sept 2019

  • Circuit 24 – Meccano Ltd's French-made slotcar system, big in France (1962-)

August 2019

  • AMT – AMT of Troy, Michigan, plastic model car kits and slotcars (~1948-)

June 2019

  • Lego – The early products of the Lego company, Denmark, including the company's original wooden toys (1932-)

May 2019

  • ScalextricBritain's most famous slotcar system (1957-)

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

  • Site software updates and improvementsthe site may be intermittently offline or odd-looking, as we tinker with it

June 2018

  • Pullman – a "push" on expanding our information on everything Pullman-related – trains, cars, Brighton Belle, etc

May 2018

March 2018

February 2018

  • Bowman Modelsa significant amount of new material added. Section on boats to be added later.

January 2018

December 2017

September 2017

June 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

November 2016:

September 2016:

Some major manufacturers:

Bassett-Lowke    Bing    Britains    Lines Brothers (Tri-ang)    Märklin    Meccano Ltd (Hornby Trains, Dinky Toys)    Steiff
Other manufacturers and brands

Sections recently or currently being expanded...

Some popular pages

Visiting Brighton and Hove

Brighton - More pages about relevant Brighton-related subjects. The museum is an official Brighton Tourist Information Point, and supplies free maps to visitors, courtesy of VisitBrighton

For authorised editors, the style guidelines are laid out on an example page.