Toy steam locomotive, Hornby No.3C Locomotive 'LMS 6100 Royal Scot', type 4-4-2, clockwork-operated, 0-gauge, metal, made by Meccano Ltd, Liverpool, England, 1935-1941
This toy steam locomotive 'Royal Scot', made between 1935 and 1941, was built by Meccano Ltd for their 0-gauge range of Hornby toy trains. The Hornby toy trains and accessories are a microcosm of railway social and technological history in Britain during the first half of the twentieth century.
Trains were the first form of modern transport to be reproduced as toys. Wooden pull-along trains were available in Britain from the 1840s, not long after the commercial introduction of full-size railways. By the 1870s the wooden toy train was replaced with tin-plate locomotives, hauling carriages, which were often powered by clockwork or steam. The German toy manufacturers dominated the world market at this time. The First World War broke this monopoly and the rise of patriotism in Britain saw an emphasis on local toy production there.
The scene was set for the English inventor of Meccano, Frank Hornby, to market his 0-gauge trains in 1920. Hornby trains became the most comprehensive ever produced. The series developed into finely-detailed locomotives, as well as commercial vans, wagons and tankers together with a range of accessories including stations, goods sheds, signals, crossings, water tanks and signal boxes. They were exported from the Liverpool factory to many countries including Australia, Canada, Egypt, New Zealand, Rhodesia and South Africa. In Australia, Hornby trains of the four major British railway companies became as familiar to boys as Australian rolling stock.
Two years after Frank Hornby's death in 1936 Meccano Ltd introduced the smaller Hornby Dublo (00-gauge) table top trains which were more affordable and convenient than the 0-gauge. This gauge became the most popular type of toy trains for the next 50 years. From the late 1950s no further effort was devoted to 0-gauge trains and by the 1960s their popularity had diminished. Today model railway production is aimed at adult collectors and is increasingly removed from the traditional children's toy trains. Many of the original collectors have kept and added to their interwar childhood 0-gauge toy train layouts with stations, tunnels, landscapes and rolling stock forming a historical diorama of twentieth century land transport.
Marsh, Hugo, "Miller's Toys & Games Antiques Checklist", Reed International Books Limited, London, 1995
Margaret Simpson, 5 November, 2007
The No.3 locomotives became available from 1927 and were named after the most famous engines of the major railway companies, the LMS 'Royal Scot', LNER 'Flying Scotsman', and GW 'Caerphilly Castle'. They were each finished in the passenger colours of the appropriate British railway company. The engines were far from scale models, and were criticised for this at the time. Early versions of the LNER and LMS engines had the railway company crests on the cab sides but the GW version had the locomotive number '4073' instead. An electric 4-volt and a Control System clockwork model were made from 1927. From 1928 diecast wheels were fitted and the smoke box was finished in black, the number of painted boiler bands reduced from three to two and steam domes were the same colour as the boiler. Also in 1928, an SR version called 'Lord Nelson' was released with five, white boiler bands.
From 1929 all the electric models came with new, 6-volt mechanisms and clockwork versions had their wheel spokes finished to match their boilers (the electric ones remained with black wheels). The chimneys changed from the stovepipe version to a shorter 'Yorkshire' type and the boiler and smoke box bands were embossed as well as painted. Also in 1929, the cab side company crests were replaced with locomotive numbers. In 1930 the fixed lamps above the front buffer beams were replaced with just lamp brackets and in the following year the buffers were lowered on the buffer beams and cranked couplings were added to electric locomotives as well as clockwork ones.
From 1933 both 6-volt (for the E3/6 Locomotive) and 20-volt (for the E3/20 Locomotive) motors were available and bulb holders were fitted to the smoke box doors. New cab side company number transfers were also introduced with shadowed lettering. In 1934 the E3/20 and E3/6 versions were replaced with the E36 manual reverse and the E320 automatic reverse locomotives which continued to be available until 1936 and 1941 respectively.
Graebe, Chris and Julie, "The Hornby Gauge 0 System", New Cavendish Books, London, 2002
This toy steam locomotive is part of a large collection purchased by the Museum in 1985 from the tin toy collector, Ken Finlayson. As a boy, Finlayson admired steam trains but never owned a train set. As an adult he began collecting Hornby model trains, and his interest spread to other toy trains and tin toys. He increased his collection at auctions, swap meets and market stalls, and through his connections with toy dealers and other serious collectors. Some toys were simply found sitting neglected on the shelves of remote country newsagencies, brand new and never opened.
Finlayson's knowledge and love of toys brought him a collection of nearly 2000 items, including highly collectable tin-plate toys manufactured by respected names such as Carette, Bing, Marklin and Lehmann, as well as a variety of other German, English and Japanese makers. The Finlayson collection contains every type of transport toy - cars, trucks, tractors, fire engines, buses, motorcycles, aeroplanes, ships and trains, as well as novelty toys, robots, kitchen toys and Meccano sets. It represents the type of toys that were available in Australia throughout most of the twentieth century, including ones made here by Boomaroo, Wyn-toy, Cyclops, Ferris and Robilt. These Australian toys were usually built from heavy-gauge pressed steel rather than thin tin plate, making them sturdy enough for rough treatment in Australian backyards and sandpits.