Toy railway truck, Hornby No.2 cattle truck 'LMS', 0-gauge, metal, Meccano Ltd, Liverpool, England, 1936-1939
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 propulsion. 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.
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 in Britain. 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 towers and signal boxes. They were exported from the Liverpool factory to all corners of the British Empire 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 distant from the traditional children's toy railways. Many of the original collectors have kept and added to their interwar childhood 0-gauge toy railway layouts with stations, tunnels, landscapes and rolling stock forming an historical diorama of twentieth century land transport.
The No.2 cattle truck is one of the items of freight rolling stock made by Meccano Ltd from 1923 for their 0-gauge range of Hornby toy railways. 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.
Marsh, Hugo, "Miller's Toys & Games Antiques Checklist", Reed International Books Limited, London, 1995
Margaret Simpson, 13 August, 2007
The first No.2 cattle trucks appeared in 1923 and had olive green bases, grey sides and white roofs with 'No.2 Cattle Truck' in white transfer lettering on one side of the base. The following year white railway company lettering, 'LMS' or 'LNER' were added to the sides, and the roofs changed to dark grey. Another change occurred in 1925 when the 'No.2 Cattle Truck' wording was removed from the base. A Great Western (GW) railway version was introduced in 1926 and a white lettered 'NE' version replaced the 'LNER' one.
The livery changed again in 1927 to a blue roof, base and bogies on a light blue body with large gold company letters (LMS, NE or GW) shadowed in red and lined in black which replaced the white letters. The following year Southern Railway (SR) trucks were added to the range with black bases, dark brown bodies and white roofs. The bogie height on all versions was lowered in 1930 and smaller gold letters were introduced. Green roofs and bases on a light grey body were introduced in 1933 and SR versions appeared for a short time with green bogies, black bases and white roofs on brown bodies.
Another change of livery occurred in 1935 to grey bodies and bases and green bogies with white roofs but from 1936 all had black bogies. White company letters returned in 1938 with black bogies, grey bases and bodies and white roofs. This changed to black bases in early 1939 and grey bases in late 1939. The last pre-War No. 2 cattle trucks were made in 1941 and post-War production lasted from 1949 to 1950.
This No.2 cattle truck appeared in about 1936 as it features the grey body and base, black bogies and white roof. The gold lettering LMS on the side refers to the London Midland and Scottish Railway, a British railway company formed on 1 January 1923 as part of the forced grouping of over 300 private separate railway companies into four. LMS operated 6,870 route miles (11,056 km) of lines, and along with other British railway companies was nationalised in 1948.
Graebe, Chris and Julie, "The Hornby Gauge 0 System", New Cavendish Books, London, 2002
This toy railway cattle truck 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.