Miniature Barrage Balloon (Johillco)

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Miniature Barrage Balloon (Johillco)

BTMM map 016.gif
Arch Two , Area 16
Aviation (display)
Shelf 2

A complete boxed Miniature Barrage Balloon complete with Winch-Lorry, probably produced by Johillco in the 1920s or 1930s. The design of the lorry cab is ~1920s.

Lorry Identification

The design of the lorry cab is a match to a popular design of open Mack Stake Truck which was produced (in real life) from 1917 through the 1920s. This was the subject of an American Tootsie Toy model, which the Winch-lorry seems to be an authorised copy of -- the base of the lorry has had mounting holes and ID marks changed, which suggests that the makers had access to the original moulds rather than making an unauthorised copy.

Our first impression of the mouldings and packaging was that these were Johillco pieces. Online sources suggest either Johillco or Charbens. However, we now also have a couple of Johillco aircraft, in Johillco-branded boxes, which are Tootsie-Toy clones, so we know that Johillco had some sort of arrangement with TootsieToys regarding hire or use of some of their moulds, which tips the odds further in favour of them being made by Johillco.

Balloon identification

The balloon looks suspiciously similar (identical?) to the smaller (00) version sold by Britains Ltd. (although the Britains winch lorry was a more geographically and historically correct UK-built "Dodge Kew", rather than the older US Mack Stake Truck).

However, the Britains post-war 00 range (Britains Lilliput) wasn't actually made by Britains, but by W. Horton. So it's possible that W.Horton may have made the Britains Ltd. prewar small vehicles and Barrage Balloons (or sourced the balloons from yet another company). So it's not outside the realm of possibility that Johillco might have been able to source some of the lead barrage balloons, and the created their own Barrage Balloon sets by bundling the balloons with a modified (incorrect) Tootsietoy-mould lorry.

We have seen these boxed sets (the barrage balloon set and the gas cylinder lorry) misattributed to Britains, but any Britains product would have had the Britains name on the packaging.