Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#658 BLUE BOX - TRANSPORT TRUCK and FORK LIFT (Around 1970)


The communist takeover of China in 1949 also brought a lot of refugees travelling to the nearby colonies of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau or Singapore. That meant very cheap labour to work in factories and this fact brought economic growth to all these regions.

One of the goods manufactured was plastic toys. Starting as early as the 1950s, these cheap toys would arrive to Europe and America and would put in serious trouble other traditional toymakers.


Many of these Hongkongese toys were copied from British and American models. In a high percentage, they are not marked other than "Made in Hong-Kong", so identifiying them is quite difficult. The brand name and logo was shown often in the box, but, as we know, very few boxes survive after 10, 20 or 30 years. In addition to this, most manufacturers were rather small, and some didn´t even used a brand name. Instead, they worked for some foreign distributors that would sell these items under their own brand.

This distributors were sometimes the ones that took the toys to Hong-Kong and asked the local manufacturers to copy them. Some british distributors that produced toys in Hong-Kong were: Telsalda, Clifford Series, Fairylite, OK, Emu Series, Laurie Toys... Classic toy manufacturers created second brands for cheap toys, like Cragstan from the US and Woolbro, the cheap brand for Woolworth markets.

Some European makers had to leave out plastic toys, that were not profitable anymore and developped more complex toys. Apparently the paradigmatic example of this is Tri-ang, that started producing slot cars.


Some of these small manufacturers actually progressed to become independent, most notably Lucky Toys and Blue Box.

There are not much details about this brand. Most companies that have survived to the present day try to hide their humble origins. Blue Box was founded in 1952 by Peter Chan Pui. They started making dolls but soon they started producing toy cars, most of them copied from Matchbox, Corgi and the rest of major European manufacturers, only in plastic.

The rest of the story is already known, European and American makers would finally start their own factories and facilities in Asia, to save costs over the years. Now it is not Hong-Kong anymore, but China.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: TRANSPORT TRUCK and FORK LIFT
  • Scale: Around 1:55 and 1:100
  • Year: Around 1970
  • Company: Blue Box (Hong Kong)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

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