December 21, 2009

Seasons Greetings with Grace Gabler

Happy Holidays to one & all!
Heres my festive post taken from Grace Gablers 1945 book for Puffin " A childs alphabet". Born Grace W. Evans, she resided in Kegworth, Derby. To view the rest of the stunning book, you should hop over to

December 16, 2009

Ardizzone pantomime theatre

In 1947 Edward Ardizzone created a charming model theatre, to cut out and keep. It was for the December issue of The Strand Magazine. He also illustrated the cover, which is shown above.

As a special Christmas treat, Ive uploaded the 8 pages and instructions, as a pdf. So now you too can create his Pantomime Cinderella at home. The file is 7.9Mb, and can be downloaded here.

Below is one of the pages.

December 14, 2009

1970s Playskool Lock-up Zoo animals

More lovely animals, this time from Playskool. The set went under the title Tykeworld Lock up zoo. These fabulous pre school chunky wooden toys came with hinged plastic heads. The series also included a play board, train wagon, a Gorilla and several curious plastic family figures, which Ill try and post another time.

December 11, 2009

Lucky Cat Mascot

According to where you reside black cats are viewed very differently! Theres no doubting this little fella is pretty Lucky! Made in Japan this magnetic pin cushion measures 9cm.

December 08, 2009

Perpetual School Calendar

I couldnt have put it better myself! These wooden school flashcards are part of a much bigger set, that allowed the teacher to display the date and the days climatic conditions. How very British! It reminds me of the hymn number display in a church. Each ply wood board is 4mm deep, and 43mm high. I do hope tomorrows a bit brighter!

November 27, 2009

Ladybird Initial Teaching Alphabet ITA book

Last week we went to my wifes parents, and helped clear out the loft.
Amongst all the great old photos were a number of books from her childhood, of which this was one. Ive listed a couple of Ladybird books in the "eezy-reeding" scheme before. I still cant believe anyone learnt to read with this scheme, but there you go!

This little gem, first printed in 1964, is illustrated by the prolific Harry Woolley. Theres a short article about Woolley over at Bear Alley.

November 25, 2009

Lead dogs

Ever since I used to visit Jims Emporium in Liverpool, Ive always been on the look out for lead figures, and these dogs certainly hit the spot!

If memory serves me right they were from Jims stall when he was at Quiggins. Jim would study old Victorian maps looking for old rubbish tips. He'd find the sites, take a spade and dig for old bottles, but of course other things turned up, including broken dolls head, and sometimes lead figures.

The more worn an item, the more I like them. Its as if the scars give the item a sense of history. They certainly have more character that way.

But watch out! It looks as if one of the dogs has broken out of the back of the kennel!

November 20, 2009

John Broadleys books

Heres a small collection of books by the very talented John Broadley. Each book, made by hand is an absolute treasure! Im hoping 2010 is going to be a really big year for him with the publication of his book with Jonathan Cape due to be published in March. He deserves massive success! You can sneak a preview over at his blog.

November 13, 2009

Airline Souvenir banners

When I recently found these I was reminded of the Caravan Club banners I listed earlier. They look like they should have hung in a travel agent in the 1960s. Each flag is printed on felt and measures 12". I still havent found a good place to display them. So for now here will have to do!

November 11, 2009

Childrens Easter Egg Mugs

Three mugs that at one time may have held chocolate Easter eggs.
All stamped Made in England

November 03, 2009

Its my party!

Six delightful, childrens' party hats made from compressed cardboard. I was shocked by the waves of Nostalgia, I felt, when these turned up over the Summer. I do believe I use to wear these things! A few still have the original elastic cord attached. Stamped Made in England, they date from late 60s.

From Left to Right, the hats are; (Top row) Cowboy, Robin Hood, Fireman,
(Bottom Row) Jockey hat, Top Hat, and (Im guessing here) A French Postal Worker?

October 21, 2009

Pez sweet dispensers

I remember having Pez dispensers as a child, but it wasnt until we planned a trip to The States that I was aware there was a Pez museum!

Sadly we never made it to the museum, but my interest in these strange sweet dispensers was revived, and ever since Ive always picked them up along our travels.

Theres a very good Pez flickr group , with nearly 900 pictures and over 158 members

The name Pez came from German word for peppermint.(PfeffErminZ). While the sweets were invented in 1927. It wasnt untill around 1950 that the first dispenser appeared. There have since been over 550 different dispensers.

Curiously the Austrian manufacturer of Pez are suing the museum in Burlingame, seeking all profits from the museum's 14 years of operation. Makes no sense to me!

October 20, 2009

Peribi Mouse Pencil sharpener

This fabulous little mouse pencil sharpener was made in Spain by Peribi. He has a flip top lid and wheels and may have once dispensed sellotape too! Sadly I couldnt find out anymore about him or the Peribi company. He looks to me like he dates from the late seventies. The hole to sharpen your pencil is strategically placed in the poor mouses rear end! Ouch!

While you cant buy these anymore, it looks like the guys at Sharp End have taken the idea a stage further.

October 09, 2009

Wooden zoo animals

More joy ! this time from a Jumble sale in South Wales! Under the table, amongst some Fisher Price Little People, these fantastic wooden zoo animals. Its been a while since Ive been to a jumble sale, and I have to say it was all a bit frantic!

There are no stamps or markings, on the animals so I cant tell you much more about them. Although the Hippo reminds me of Roger Duvoisins character, Veronica.

They all looked very pleased about something. I hope its about finding a new home!

September 30, 2009

September 29, 2009

Cadburys chocolate box lid

Got really lucky at the car boot last weekend, when a couple were clearing out there loft.

There was a stack of stunning chocolate packaging from the sixties. This was the best of the lot! It seems odd today, that the actual chocolates dont feature on the pack, just a fantastic Wild West board game. And what about the colour palette?

September 18, 2009

Optical toy discs

These six optical toy discs, came to me recently as part of an old collection of toys. They're stunning! The discs measure 4.5" across and came with spindles, that should drive, and spin the cards, but I cant see a way how you can insert the card on to the spindle without ruining the images.

Ive seen Phenakistiscope images online that look similar, but they appear to have slits on the outer edge, that look to fit some kind of contraption. The ones posted here, just have a central hole.

Hopefully, theres a clever soul out there that can tell us all about it. It would be good to shed more light on them.

Until next time........................

September 10, 2009

Marching Mexican Mariachi band

Recent purchase that turned up on our summer travels . I thought they were a Mariachi band , but it turns out they may be Jarochos! They dress and play in the Veracruz style. The big difference being their traditional white shirts, trousers and hats!

September 02, 2009

Wooden GALT transport puzzle

I think I promised more by Galt, a while back. So here you go.

Galt made loads of beautifully designed toys, that won many a Design Council award. This very tasteful wooden puzzle is worthy of a mention! On removing the vehicle from the scene, you can see the interior, inside. Plain, simple and also very charming!

August 27, 2009

Remember Remember Kenneth Townsend

On recently posting "Marble Fun" up here, I was amazed to find out we had more by Kenneth Townsend. Here for todays post is Remember, Remember. A great game of pairs by Galt Toys.
It appears Galt released this game in two guises. Im not sure which was released first, the one here or Snap, which can be viewed over at kenneth townsend

Above are are a few close ups of the cards and the reverse!

August 19, 2009

Football Snowdomes

The new football season is now well under way, so excuse another football related post. Its true theyve seen better days, but like much that Ive uploaded here, they have a special place on the mantlepiece. There was another I had in the series, but that fell behind a radiator, and sadly was never able to retrieve!

If you like snowdomes, (and theres no doubt a lot of people do!) Theres a superb book in the Abbeville collection series that features a great selection of these plastic domes in stunning technicolour, and details their humble origins.

I did wonder though, shouldn't 1970s footballers play with orange balls in the snow?

August 01, 2009

Flags of the World tin badges

Ten lovely tin badges that are still on their original display card.
Theres something very attractive about printing on tin. The little feet at the bottom of each flag are to bend round and attach to your lapel. They remind me of the paper World War One, Flag day pins you used to be able to get quite cheaply at the Ephemera society.

I couldnt find many images on line but theres a nice page in Robert Opies Great War Scrapbook.

July 26, 2009

Marble Fun with Kenneth Townsend

I have long treasured this fantastic game by Merit with its bold graphic illustrations. It may well be wishful thinking but I think I had this game as a child. The idea was, to shoot marbles down the wooden ramp aiming for the holes, under each animal. If the marble goes in the hole you score those points. Simple, beautiful and hours of fun.

As with most of the posts on here, I try and do a little bit of research before listing to see whats been posted before. Amazingly I found out the illustrator was Kenneth Townsend, who was born in 1931. Kenneth lived in Hastings and worked for Galt toys (more of which another time), Hornsea Pottery and Chance Glass, amongst others.

You must pop across to The humorous world of Kenneth Townsend where you can see even more of Kenneths work. Its an absolute delight!

July 22, 2009

metal chewing gum advertising signage

Thought you might like these? Seven Small tin advertising signs that clipped onto advertising stands that stood next to the shop till. The signs are just a bit bigger than the original chewing gum packets and judging by the prices date from the mid to late seventies.

Those were the days when you could still buy a Bubbly for a penny, and before Bubalicious and Space Dust swept the nation!

July 12, 2009

Monkey Business

Three CHIMP CARDS Printed by GRAVO, in Holland.

July 11, 2009

1960s Babys changing mat

I couldnt resist purchasing this item back in North London, sometime in the Nineties. Its a vinyl changing mat for babys, from the 1960s. Theres an eeriness to the muted colours, that seem a far cry from the bright colours we associate with todays childrens toys and as if that wasnt enough, they even managed to mis register the printing. Fantastic!

July 08, 2009

Information Wheel charts

I was delighted to find this rather nice paper wheel chart just the other day. Made in 1989 by the Wheel Ease corporation in Canada. Its a reference guide for programming the Lotus 1.2.3. Computer.

Paper wheels charts are a way of relaying information in a concise and articulate form. There are many different types, but like the Lotus one here, there is a rotating inner wheel, which has a cut out window. Through the window specific information is retrieved.

The first one I remember, was the one the bookmakers William Hill brought out for a European Championship. Im sure I still have it somewhere.

Theres a stupendous book by Jessica Helfland, Reinventing the Wheel, that documents over a hundred information wheels. All beautifully photographed with a concise overview. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, its now available in paperback. Its well worth a look!

Above are two more larger format wheels that I found some time ago. They were given away with The Book of Knowledge in the 1960s. The Historical chart on the left, documents the reign of each British monarch, while the Geographical Wheel gives population, principal rivers, natural resources and mountains of 90 countries. Below is a detail of the cut out window.

Bertram Mills Circus programmes

A small collection of Circus programmes from 1949- 1963.

June 19, 2009

Sandwich flags 2

More sandwich flags, I just found hiding in some old tins.

June 05, 2009

Vintage Fisher Price Circus Animals

These two lovely chaps should come with a train and carriages an elephant, giraffe and a circus master. To see the whole set and other, older fisher price toys hop over to this old toy.

June 01, 2009

Sandwich flags

Heres a bit of fun. These have long been some of my favourites.

Remember all those dreaded functions when along came the sandwich tray and although you were starving, you never dared take a sandwich , for fear of what was inside? Well here was the solution! Sadly I cant remember where these beautiful sandwich flags came from, but I do like them very much and happy to be sharing them with the rest of the world.

They all make sense; egg, pork, beef, chicken, but Ive got to admit by being a bit thrown by the first one on the row below. Fruit !!!

Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

May 27, 2009


I thought id post this little gem from 1975, seeing as tonight is the Champions League Final and on Saturday its the FA Cup Final. The poster comes from Tiger & Scorcher magazine, dated Monday May 3rd. The original price was 5p.

Ive kept the file quite large so that if you feel the urge you can download, print and fill in the teams and goalscorers. Enjoy the game!

May 22, 2009

Allibert nappy clips

Three plastic nappy clips form Allibert from 1970. The French plastics company that gave the world jellies and plastic bathroom cabinets .

May 20, 2009

Miroslav Sasek

As I hinted in the Jill Mcdonald post,the other day. Miroslav Sasek was one of my favourite Illustrators as a child. I was delighted to see that the This is Miroslav Sasek site has been redesigned and looks better than ever! I was really excited to see the link to the film of This is Israel on You Tube. Many thanks to oldlibraryfilms for uploading it.

Ive long collected anything to do with Sasek, and in fact probably my first purchase on ebay was for a signed Sasek book. Since then a few strange things have turned up, there were postcards from France and a poster from Hong Kong. But most excitingly, a tea towel of This is London. The tea towel came from America where the sellers aunt had collected "dish cloths" on her travels around the world. Screen printed on Irish Linen, its a lovely thing, but its lost some of the warmth of the book.

This tea towel is different from the one on the Sasek site, so who knows perhaps there are more gems out there waiting to be found. In 1996 I did attempt to find Sasek only to learn he had died in 1980. Virgin owned the rights to the books back then, and in a brief telephone conversation , I suggested it would be great to reprint. At the time I was told the world had changed a lot since the original books release and there would be too many inaccuracies if they were reissued.

Funny How times change!

Luckily I did manage to track down some original art work, more of which another time. Till then just a little detail from the above tea towel.

May 13, 2009

Performing dolphins

I stumbled across these rather lovely postcards today, amongst my collection of animal postcards. I was looking for a donkey, but was surprised to see all these on the same theme. All look to date from the late sixties.

I was kind of intrigued what the fascination was? Theres no doubt some of the attraction must date back to 1982 and the release of Orange Juices seminal first album, You Cant hide your Love Forever

Looking online for a few more performing dolphins I found a rather nice site featuring Brian Wyants amazing collection of amusement park postcards. Its all worth exploring but the highlights were the fairy tale theme park sections!

May 04, 2009

composite cowboy

Found at a flea market in Paris in the early Nineties. I have no information about this fantastic cowboy, only that hes a composite toy soldier. The material is very brittle and unfortunately he has quite a bit of damage to him, but in a sense, that just adds to his charm.