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dinkyfan's picture
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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Bruce--
Thanks for both your earlier photos of the real Commer, and also your recent post showing that wonderful repair that your father did on yours. Our childhood tous are always special memories, for many reasons, but to have one that your dad had repaired with his own hands for you is beyond special.....it is extraordinary! Thanks so much for sharing that with us....
Regards,
Terry


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Nice account, Bruce! Still, I wonder how it is possible that the front axle and wheels just 'wear out'. I have neither ever seen that with this sturdy toy, nor can I imagine how that happens. Quite some deliberate pressure/force must have been used for the result as shown. My father - a chemist technical school teacher - had a very handy laboratory attendant, who fixed quite some toys for us (like soldering broken stanchions of the Foden chain lorry, repairing bent axles etc.).
Kind regards, Jan


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Jan

I can well understand the confusion with my terminology of "wear out".

What actually happened is that the axle head that had been "turned" was of insufficient size that in time, the turned axle head either wore into the hub or the turned part became less with normal play-wear.

This play-wear can be seen with the following image of my 513 Guy Flat Truck with Tailboard (that is actually now a 512 Guy Flat Truck with the tailboard having been removed (by me!!) when it became cracked from being used to grade my "road" network in the absence of a Dinky road grader!) You will also have seen my Guy being pressed into service as a tank transporter, and no doubt the additional weight factory caused undue strain on the front axle! :laugh: I guess we can all laugh at the sacrilegious actions I did in the 1950s - but then, it WAS a TOY!! (Wait until I relate what I used to do with my 923 Big Bedford "Heinz" van!!)

A view of the driver's side of the Guy showing the other rounded end of the axle:

The picture of the Guy with its Centurion Tank load actually shows something stuck on the hub in question which is no longer present - chewing gum??!! In any case, the hub on the Guy is still held by the axle but is in danger of becoming dislodged.

Anyway, that is what happened to my Fire Engine, but for Dad to have made a new axle means that this young idiot lost the original axle!!

Incidentally, I never subjected any of my Dinky Toys to deliberate force that would result in bent axles - just normal play-wear that increased following the laying of a tarred surface to my road system as discussed in another Thread that allowed for all-weather "driving"! Of course, one can also say that I subjected the Guy to deliberate semi-destruction with the removal of its tailboard and everyone would be quite correct with that analysis, and I do hang my head in utter shame. Why didn't I hold my toys in such high regard like others, Jan and Terry coming immediately to mind!

Kind regards

Bruce (150)
#618
11 June 2015


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Ah, now I understand, Bruce. I have seen the same wear on my Mighty Antar Tank Transporter's front axle. But that was only after many years of very intensive play-war duty. And still it did not result in the wheel coming off. But I can imagine that sometimes the axle head may have been produced too tiny, as you showed, which is in fact a factory flaw.
Please, do not think I have been careful with my childhood Dinky Toys. Many deliberate play-disasters have decimated our early Dinky 'Toys'. The survivors which are included in the present collection were almost 'collectors items' at later age (say 12-14 years of age). Earlier toys have 'evaporated', some lucky examples excepted.
Kind regards, Jan


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Thanks Jan - my vision of you carefully looking after your Dinky Toys when you were a wee lad has now been shattered!! You were just like the rest of us!

One thing that saddens me with my collection, is that a large percentage were still mint and boxed, or maybe very near mint, before I left home in 1964. I collected them from my Mother in 1983 while still working in Papua New Guinea and I was "devastated" when I saw what 19 years had done to them. Here I had been thinking that they were safe and Mum knew how much they meant to me, and yet my dear Mum had allowed some snotty nose urchin to "play" with them! Not only that, but this urchin or urchins took it on themselves to steal at least nine of my Dinky Toys - DH Comet Airlines, Supermarine Swift, Tempest fighter, Centurion Tank (yes, The one on the back of my Guy!), Rover, Bedford Tipper in red, plastic wheels windows, silver grille, Bedford 3-ton Army Truck, Universal Jeep, Land-Rover, to name but a few.

Kind regards

Bruce (150)
#629
12 June 2015


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Seemingly the same Fire Engine models and boxes, but both do differ from each other, see pictures below. 

I wonder if there is any chronology attached to the different hubs, smooth and more intricate.

And so for the boxes, the blue (under)box belonging to the more intricate hubs version, the all yellow one with the 'smoother hubbed' example ... (neither prices nor stamps present).

Kind regards, Jan 


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Dinkinius
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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Hello Jan

Here are some pictures of my 955 which is identical to yours with the black tyres having the same type of wheel hubs. However, the box does have something of interest - a price.

The price is 8/11 which was current from at least January 1964 through to at least September 1965.

Now all that is required is to seek out any similar boxes and check their prices and see what time frame they fit into and hope the model therein has never been switched.

As for the transfer on this model, I thought at first it was of recent manufacture, but comparing it with those on the 259 Fire Engine, I am of the opinion that it is an authentic 1960s manufacture.  So what is it doing on this 955 when normally the model carries no transfers. Was it an experiment by Meccano?  If so, then there should be others out there. Or did the previous owner have access to a small quantity of transfers for the 259 procured from either Meccano itself or elsewhere - who knows!

Warmest regards

Bruce   (150)

28 February 2016           #805


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Thanks, Bruce, for this useful comment! Let's hope more price/stamp/model/box relations for the mid-1960s period will be supplied by others in order to solve this chronology problem (if there is ANY logic at all in this). 

Your Fire Engine is lovely. The crest adds so much to the attractiveness and realism of the model! Apparently sometimes extra transfers were 'wandering around' in or near the factory. An example of the 443 National Benzole Studebaker Tanker below, as shown in DT&MM page 161 and auctioned as part of the Ashley Collection by Christie's South Kensington 19 May 1992. And another (less convincing) example of the Austin Shell-BP Van.

Kind regards, Jan 

 


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Hello Jan

Continuing this fascinating subject, I went in search of what I could locate through our friends Vectis, and two models turned up, one with a price of 9/11 and the other with a price of 10/1 and each having the same type of wheel hub as shown in both my model and yours with the black tyres. This then pushes the time frame from September 1965 to at least October 1966. This means that this type of hub was in use between at least January 1964 and October 1966, based entirely on prices found on the half pictorial lidded box.

With these pictures below, one thing is noticeable immediately - the tyres.  Each have the grey type as shown with your other model, almost as if someone in Meccano who was very attached to the grey tyres still wanted to see them being used!

Perhaps we should widen our search by including every other Supertoy that was shod with plastic hubs and see if there is a relationship with all the types of plastic hubs used by Meccano and when they were used!

Oh by the way, many thanks for your kind words on my 955 - more than appreciated!  

Kind regards

Bruce   (150)

28 February 2016

#806


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Hello Bruce, my e-mails to you keep being returned as 'undeliverable' so I am trying to contact you via the forum. We recently discussed about me sending you an item from SAS, is this happening, I have heard nothing.

Dave


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Dave

I went you an email at 12.04am (it's now 4.03am here) with a read/receipt and nothing as yet. I will send you a message from another address tomorrow.

Cheers

Bruce


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Just a nice snapshot I made not too long ago of the 555/955 collection in my ceiling displays. Glass window temporarily removed.


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Being one of my favourite subjects I cannot help having included this spread in my new private Dinky photobook.

(colours also slightly too harsh in this presentation, compared with the original). Kind regards, Jan 


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Jan, I have seen your beautiful collection of these fire engines in a beautiful setup in your "display room". A beautiful collection and an eye-catcher. A pleasure to look at all these variations. Also your fotographing for your book of all these beauties is splendid. Nice to have such a book and to show such a book.

Kind regards, Jan Oldenhuis


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Thanks, Jan, Dinky Toys are made to play with, aren't they? Kind regards Jan 


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

I recently received this beautiful model 555 with brown extending ladder that I not yet have in my collection. While looking for this model I found something very special that I will explain below.

Dinky Toys 555 Fire Engine with brown extending ladder – 1st version

Dinky Toys 555 Fire Engine with brown extending ladder – 1st version with price 9/4 on box.

Dinky Toys 555 Fire Engine with brown extending ladder – 1st version

Dinky Toys 555 Fire Engine with brown extending ladder – 1st version – baseplate with number 555.

Dinky Toys 555 Fire Engine with brown extending ladder – 1st version with stamp Mk 10 2 in box.

Thanks to Jan Werner's extensive and very valuable contributions I know that model 555 with a brown ladder and blue box with orange/white label is the first version. There is no doubt about that, but during my search for this model I also encountered a 555 model with a silver ladder with the same blue box and with the same price 9/4 on the box. That requires research, I thought. See pictures below.

Dinky Toys 555 Fire Engine with silver extending ladder – 2nd version - same blue box with same price 9/4 on box.

Dinky Toys 555 Fire Engine with silver extending ladder – 2nd version - same blue box with same price 9/4 on box.

Dinky Toys 555 Fire Engine with silver extending ladder – 2nd version with same blue box and same price 9/4 on box.

Dinky Toys 555 Fire Engine with silver extending ladder – 2nd version - baseplate with number 555.

Dinky Toys 555 Fire Engine with silver extending ladder – 2nd version with same blue box but stamp WKil 2 in box. 

I wondered during which period this first model with brown ladder exactly was released, but I could not find information about the production period of the first model with brown ladder. Through the pencil price of 9/4 on both identical boxes, I assumed that the model 555 with the silver ladder must be the 2nd model of release, replaced after the release of the brown ladder. I went looking for the price lists of that time, but could not find the price 9/4 in any regular catalogue or price list, which I found very strange. When I went to search in the Meccano Magazines, I found this model announced for the first time in MM of November 1952 with the price of 9/4.

First introduction of model 555 with the price 9/4 in MM November 1952.

When I continued searching I found the price 9/4 also in MM December 1952 and January 1953. In MM of February 1953, the price for model 555 was changed in 8/3. The first catalogue price I found was 7/3 in the October 1953 UK catalogue and 6/3 in the October 1953 Export Sterling catalogue. 

Model 555 still with the price 9/4 in MM of January 1953.

Model 555 now with the price 8/3 changed in MM of February 1953.

Model 555 on the front page of Dinky Toys catalogue UK October 1953.

Model 555 on the front page of Dinky Toys catalogue Export Sterling October 1953. Note the shop stamp Frankfurt am Main !!!

Model 555 with the price 7/3 in Dinky Toys catalogue UK of October 1953. 

Model 555 with the price 6/3 in Dinky Toys Export Sterling catalogue of October 1953. 

Now I was sure that model 555 with the silver ladder with the same price 9/4 on a same box must be the 2nd model version. In view of the excellent condition of both boxes, I assume that they are absolutely genuine and belongs to the models.

According my research about the price of 9/4 can be concluded that model 555 with the brown ladder has been issued for only a period of maximum 3 months (November 1952 – January 1953) and probably still shorter, because in that short period a change of the ladder has taken place from brown to silver. I could not find further information about the exactly date of changing the ladder from brown to silver. Through this very short time of release the conclusion may be drawn that model 555 with brown ladder will be scarce.

In this case I found the pencil price of 9/4 on both identical boxes but with different model versions in it, for the proof of my research so important that I decided to purchase both models and I am very happy that I did so. Sometimes you have to make such a decision to prevent later regrets. In this forum we have already discussed the presence of a price indication or something like that on the box or the model itself. I have now experienced the usefulness of such a price indication.

Now I come to the other question I asked myself when I could not find the price 9/4 for model 555 in any regular catalogue or price list: How do DT retailers know what price they should ask for their received new DT products when there is no recent price list?

I think that I found the answer to that question in an example of a Dutch Dinky Toys invoice of 1957, from the Dutch agent / distributor Hausemann & Hötte N.V. in Amsterdam to the Toy store Ooievaar in Schiedam. The sales price per DT model is stated in the invoice and the total amount of the order is deducted by 30 % for Dinky Toys and 32 % for Jumbo games. A retailer of Dinky Toys in the Netherlands deserved thus 30 % of the sales price per model. I found it very valuable to establish this.

I show these Dutch invoice 1957 and the Dutch Dinky Toys catalogue 1957 with Dutch retail prices and still some pictures of my purchase in Full size.

Best wishes to all members,

Jan Oldenhuis, 26 September 2017


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

A wonderful treatise, Jan, and congratulations with these fine acquisitions. I understand that you are a topical collector, preferably collecting models that belong together or somehow add to each other's explanation in a short time span. Very special!

I consulted my catalogue in order to see what specifications belong to my first and second issues (at this moment it's rather hard to get them out of the cabinet, together with their boxes). Surprise: the boxes of both examples bear the stamp MK10.2 inside! I have no reason to have doubts about the boxes and models belonging together because no characteristics of models and boxes contradict each other. My first issue's box bears no price (and if it would it might be rather unuseful, because its provenance is Italian), but the second issue also bears the price of 9/4 in pencil, like yours. So these same date stamps could mean that even within the very month of October 1952 the ladder colour change may have taken place. I think we should have some more confirming evidence supplied by fellow collectors. Kind regards, Jan  

P.S.: many years ago a wrote a short article on the version with brown ladder: WERNER, Jan, Dinky Toys Fire Engine with Extending (Brown!) Ladder. In: Auto in Miniatuur 2003:3 pp. 38-41.


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

A very wonderful find and write up on this Fire Engine. It is amazing what you can deduce and find out by referring to the boxes, date stamps, price lists, and catalogs. Our friend Bruce has put a lot of effort into accumulating and identifying these critical pieces of information. With many of the original drawings wanting, this is great detective work.....congrats on obtaining two very early and special pieces!
Best regards, Terry


john45
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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Hello Jan,

Again a very detailed article and research on these two Fire engines. It proves how important it is to study catalogues and other written information from Meccano Ltd. It would be even better if we had all the original drawings, dieline and assembly, available. Still many questions have to be solved but piece by piece information comes to light. Please continue as we need this kind of research.

I try to do the same with my articles on pre-war Dinky Toys for The Journal and know how much fun it is. Thanks John.


binnsboy650
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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Hello Jan O. and Jan W.

This aspect of collecting fascinates me. To see the evidence from experienced collectors being gathered and collated and to have a conclusion that adds to the total knowledge of their subject is very enjoyable. 

A question that the discussion raised in my mind was whether the change of ladder colour reflected an actual change in the real fire engines. Did Fire Brigades change over from wooden to aluminium ladders at the same time?  I'll see whether I can discover anything but perhaps another member will know.

Regards to all

John P.


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Dear Dinky friends thank you for your stimulating response. Sometimes a subject seems to be completely out of discussion. But, although a subject may be still so old, fortunately, new additional information always can be added. It's also fun to make seemingly sleeping subjects alive again. Every member is free to contribute to it. I take the opportunity to add some photos: A close up picture of the difference between the internal rivet attachment of the turn ladder of 555 version 1 and 2, a close up picture of the rear of 555 version 2 and a picture of the rear of a real Commer fire engine.

I am very impressed about the beautifully detailed back of this model. I think that few DT models are as natural detailed as this model: the beautiful rounding line to the back, the frames and handles of the cabinets and doors, the beautiful silver bells and silver grille on the round front, the ladder and the hose reels on either side and not to forget the shiny detailed rear with the pumps and so on. I think that the Commer fire engine was already very modern for that time.

Best wishes to all Dinky friends,

Jan Oldenhuis 27 september 2017.


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Thanks Jan, for your enthusiasm for this model, which I certainly share with you.

If you like I add some photos below of a sequence of base plate finishes and turning ladder attachments, followed by some other 'look for the differences' pictures. Kind regards, Jan W


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Jan thanks for the pictures of differences. Its always handy to know the differences when you are looking for a special model.

Kind regards, Jan O


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

I have been able to acquire Auto in miniature number 3 - 2003 and readed your excellent article about model 555 with brown ladder. Its content is still very enlightening and you could now, in view of all the DTCA contributions, easely write a part 2.

Recently, I experienced a disappointment. I recently bought model 955 latest version with plastic hubs via Ebay in the USA. The model and the box were in excellent condition, but when I unpacked, I was shocked, because the upper ladder was missing. I thought it was complete, but I did not notice that on the photo of the advertisement and the missing ladder was not stated in the advertisement, so I sent it back. I did not dare to search for a replacement ladder if that would be possible. This way you see that you have to look carefully at the pictures to avoid disappointment.

Kind regards,

Jan Oldenhuis 3-10-2017


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

After the disappointment of an incomplete 955 without upper ladder, which I sent back, I found another 955, which is complete. It's a late issue with plastic hubs and with the latest box. I add some pictures of the most important features.

I have found a special example because the plastic hubs from the rear axle are different from those of the front axle. The front hubs are the more common smooth ones and the rear hubs are the more special with notches along the edge of the hubs. Jan W calls them the more intricate hubs. The box shows the smooth hubs. Were these so called intricate hubs before the smooth ones or after? Does anyone have such a version? Does someone know which Dinky Toys does also have these intricate hubs?

The baseplate is the most late version, matt with the tow hook between the baseplate and chassis.

Jan Oldenhuis 12-10-2017


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Re : -555 and 955 Commer Fire Engine (1952-70)

Good catch Jan! My example with matt base plate came in the last but one box, so it's not a definite fact that it's the absolute final finish, the others of mine in the last box both have glossy base plates. It may have been an intermediary stage or they were just mixed up batches in the course of production. Remarkable, those mixed plastic wheels on your splendid Fire Engine (which also underlines that it's hard to determine any chronology). Anyway, my McLean truck, for example, is an early one and it has the more complicated hubs. Please, note the double hubs variaton on the rear wheels too. Kind regards, Jan  


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