According to my references, this item was produced pre-war and then reissued after the war, being renumbered in 1954, and then continuing until 1962.
In the March 1956 issue of Meccano Magazine, the Toyman has arranged a scene to show off the delights of the new GPO Telephones van. However, he has made a telephone box out of cardboard (not a bad effort), and even suggests that if readers have "the necessary skill and patience" they could glaze their cardboard kiosk with cellophane. Surely he wouldn't have needed to do this if the Dinky Toys model was available - not to mention the opportunity to plug sales.
Therefore, was this item not available at the time? There is a note in the Great Book of Dinky about the telephone box being available only in the USA and Canada in 1954 - perhaps this stayed the case for a longer period? Quite why a UK phone box would only be for export I don't know!
Does anyone have more information to solve this little puzzle?
The 12c Telephone Call Box was included in a United Kingdom price leaflet printed in September 1948, and again in the April 1949 leaflet, and finally in the October 1949 Meccano catalogue.
Although the 12c Telephone Call Box appeared in the Australia, New Zealand and Canada Meccano catalogues for September and October 1953, it was not included in the similar UK catalogues published for these two months. One can only speculate as to the reason for this.
Its next UK appearance was in the May 1956 price leaflet. With its appearance in this leaflet, one would have imagined that stocks would have been available for the Toyman to have used one for his scene earlier that year. Also, with the model being available in other Commonwealth countries it is hard to understand why it was not also available in the UK.
In Australia the 12c was included in the Meccano catalogue printed in April 1950 and again the following month, May 1950. Then in the April 1951 Dinky Toys catalogue priced at 1/11, then in the March 1952 catalogue, and finally in the September 1953 Meccano catalogue. Then there was a gap when it was not included in a catalogue or price list, although the 760 GPO Pillar Box was included continuously during this period. The 750 next appeared in the July 1956 Meccano catalogue for Australia and then in each year's catalogue until it made its last appearance in the 1959 catalogue.
The reason this model being available in Australia, could be attributed to our PMG (Post-Master General Department) manufactured telephone call boxes in wood and glass, painted red, although not quite of the same style as the UK call boxes.
Many thanks for this detailed information. The gap in UK availability does indeed seem strange.
A discussion on the 42e thread for the police hut turned towards the 12c Telephone box so I am transfering part of this discussion here for better understanfing.
Hello Terry & Jacques,
Our recent correspondence over the Police Telephone Box prompted me to look at my #750 Telephone Boxes to see if there are internally recognisable casting variations. Looking at / photographing the inside was far trickier than with the police phone box because of the narower size. However, a cross beneath the top dome of one box is clearly visible, whereasa on the other, only a single line is detectable - but I think one or two numbers can also be made out. I've attached two photos and wonder if anyone else has found similar inscriptions.
Mark--When I was re-looking at the Talk Model Toys discussion on the Police Box, I remember reading a comment that there also appeared to be a size difference between the pre-war and post-war 750 Phone Box. I only have a post-war version, so could not comment further. Maybe someone with both can confirm.....
Best regards, Terry
There is a size difference between my prewar and postwar telephone boxes that I always ascribed to zinc pest, but now in light of this discussion I'm not so sure. For one thing, the prewar box is heavier than the postwar, and I think I can see small differences in the casting, too. At such time as I have any success in photographing these, I'll post the images in a telephone box topic.
If this box also is different, the question then becomes "why?" Damaged tooling for both just seems too unlikely. Of course we know that the first prewar figures were made to a larger size than the later ones and their postwar equivalents, so while it would be logical that they'd get smaller telephone boxes too, the fact that it's so hard to tell the difference even all these years later really makes one wonder if it would have been worth the effort ...
Hi Jonathan, very interesting comments. I don't have a pre-war phone box (yet!), so look forward to anything you can find out from your own research.
Hello Terry & Mark
All this is very interesting but be carefull, there seems to be a confusion. The blue box is not a "telephone box", it is a "Police hut" and discussions about the red telephone box should not be here but in the 12c thread.
For a better understanding, I am transfering part of this discussion to the 12c thread.
All the best.
Thank you Jacques - yes, it was getting rather confusing. Kind regards, Mark
Regarding the telephone box, I had always assumed that the tooling was the same for both prewar and postwar versions, with the size differences that we encounter being due to zinc pest, but now I am wavering on that conclusion.
In an old thread on the Talk Model Toys website, the late Peter Golden stated that the prewar box is 62mm high, and was offered both in cream or in red with black trim around the windows. Later (but still prewar, Golden wrote) it changed to 58mm high but was still finished in red with black trim. Postwar the 58mm version continued but no longer had the black trim around the windows.
On page 70 of his History of British Dinky Toys Cecil Gibson notes the height difference and writes that the phone boxes are "almost certainly different castings."
Here is Peter's picture of all four, from the TMT website. (I have linked to the image of it directly rather than copying it here.) I think this is a very valuable image since, in my experience at least, the two versions with black trim around the windows are pretty rare. Below that are pictures of the only two I have, a cream prewar example and a postwar sample. The postwar box weighs 45g and the prewar box weighs 48g.
Although I found the differences in the castings difficult to discern, it does seem that the crown and "telephone" engraving is somewhat finer on the prewar version, and the "Dinky Toys" and other lettering on the side are sharper on the prewar one. Also, it seems there is a horizontal line across the middle of the top on the prewar version, which can be just discerned and also felt with a finger; this does not appear to be present on the later casting.
Yes, these are excellent reference images. Using them as a guide, both my earlier images of the inside came from the "Type 4" box on the right of the first photo. Thank you for drawing together so much earlier research.
Johnny's photo shows that the marking is different on both models. It is longer and bolder on the cream model.
I am trying to find out the scale of the 12c phone box.
For this, I need some accurate measurements in metric system.
I need the two measurements for each of the two sizes of cabins : overal width and hight of the black window frame. The hight can not be used as one can not measure the hight of a real cabin.
Perhaps Johnny can help ?
Thank you for your help.
Yes, these are Peter Golden's phone boxes which I have restaured. I hope that he will not mind.
All the best.
Given my eyesight and lack of a good pair of calipers, I am not certain how accurate my measurements would be. Fortunately, the height of this type of telephone box, which appears to be a K6, is a known quantity.
According to the http://www.the-telephone-box.co.uk website, a K6 is exactly eight feet high. Therefore it appears Dinky's first version was approximately 1/40 scale, and the second version was reduced to 1/42.
Incidentally the same website has useful measurements of the prototype AA and RAC boxes as well as the police box.