Toy Steam: Mamod through the Decades
Ever since the late nineteenth century, children have been enthralled by the capacity of steam to power engines and boats in toy form, not to mention the world of accessories available to accompany them. Today, nearly every engine owner will recall their time spent playing with toy steam models as a child. For many, it is a stepping stone (or slippery slope!) leading to a lifelong fascination with steam power and industrial and agricultural heritage.
Certainly, when it comes to British steam toys, Mamod is the best known of them all. With a rich history of toy steam manufacture, the company has become the favourite when it comes to entering the world of steam, at any age or background. Throughout the decades, Mamod has developed a range of steam products, though none are as iconic as their classic Traction Engine (T.E.1.a), produced in green and provided with a steering rod and drive band to enable stationary and mobile functionality.
Over the years, subtle changes have been made to the T.E.1(a) design, probably the most obvious being the switch from methylated spirits burner trays to solid fuel tablet holders after a spate of incidents in the 1970s, then there is the more subtle transition from water overflow plug to sight glass, making it easier to fill the boiler with water. Other variants of the traction engine, including the Tractor Wagon Kit, the Centurion (fitted with a double-action piston), and Samson (limited edition model), speak to the popularity of the model type, as well as its timeless capacity to capture the imagination of generations of steam-enthusiasts.
For a company as long standing as Mamod, it goes without saying that a trail of collectible items are left in its wake. Certainly, the more obvious items would be the engines themselves, ranging from the rarest of pre-war stationary engines, to the highly sought-after turn-of-the century Millennium Bus.
For us, however, Mamod’s history is one that is symbolic of a cross-generational fascination with steam. The items below, held in the Berrybrook Archive (part of a collection of over 100 paper-items relating to the Mamod Steam Company), point to that fascination. Scrolling through them provides an avid reminder of the timelessness of Britain’s iconic model steam toy manufacturer.
View the latest models from Mamod for sale on our online shop here.