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janwerner's picture
janwerner
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DTCA MemberNetherlands
Joined: Tue, 07/15/2014 - 06:56
--13a and 013 Cook's Man (1952-57)

There has always been very little attention to this single Cook's Man. Most catalogues fail to show this figure, there is merely a reference in a text block on Dinky Toys accessories pages.

Even though this accessory seems to fit the group of pre-war figurines (some of which were reissued post-war), this model was introduced as late as 1952 for the first time. Also the attributed catalogue number is somewhat singular, number 13a, in a section 13 that was originally merely used by the Hall's Distemper painters before the war. There were no additional numbers subsequent to 13a after its introduction. This reference number is not to be found on the figure's casting itself, but ‘Meccano Dinky Toys’ is very vaguely readable on top of the base. Sold from trade boxes of half-a-dozen the Cook's Man was renumbered to 013 in 1954. The Cook's Man is considerably larger and more robust than the postal workers 12d and 12e, whereas all three of them were designed for use with gauge O railways according to the catalogue of 1952. The beige colour of the base corresponds to the same colour shade of the Hornby railway platforms. With a size of 40 mm high, the equivalent scale of 1/43 seems correct indeed, but the smaller-size Royal Mail men are traditionally found in combination with the 1/48 postal vehicles, both No. 34b and 260.

The Cook's Man, or 'Cook's Agent', as he is referred to on factory drawing 10987 of the 2nd October 1951, acted in reality as a helpful representative of the well-known travel agency Thomas Cook, who could show the way to the well-to-do travellers in those days. Just like for both postal workers 12d and 12e, the design drawing of the Cook's Man has been preserved indeed. The face of the figure has more realistic proportions on the drawing than the model itself, the crudity of which shows some similarity with the head of the 'elephant man'.

This is just a new, translated draught text for my Dinky catalogue. Any more information from others is very much appreciated, as always. Kind regards, Jan

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dinkyfan
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Joined: Tue, 07/07/2015 - 05:27

Jan—-I obtained one of these many years ago, and also at the time questioned the overall size and scale.....it just doesn’t fit in with the other figures, so one has to wonder why Meccano chose to go that route....
Best regards, Terry

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johnnyangel
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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 20:04

Yes, an odd model. I obtained my sample in the 1970 by mail from a dealer who had Dinky Toys old and new, and -- as a Californian child -- wanted all the figures I could get, but had no idea what a Cook's Man was. I thought perhaps it was somebody culinary. I was amused when I eventually found out the facts, and now Jan's image makes the history even more clear.

It still seems an oddly specialized figure to have modelled, and yes, the shape of his face is unfortunate.