AGASEE, EEBEE, AIRCAST and L.BROOKS
Click on the thumbnail images to enlarge.
This is a photographic catalogue of models that I have been able to attribute either definitely or probably to one of these small North London manufacturers. It is a work-in-progress, so please e-mail me with any new information.
Agasee & Brooks Ltd.
Samuel Aaron Agasee was listed in the street directories as a "metal moulds manufacturer" at 7 Stradbroke Road, Highbury, London N5 from 1947 to 1952.
His family told me that his workshop was a corrugated metal shed in the back garden of the house! Around 1947 he formed the company Agasee & Brooks Ltd. with Alfred and Lottie Brooks, to manufacture diecast toys, and they were based in a shop at 12 Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, N16 (although presumably they were not open to retail customers).
They advertised in Games & Toys in March and April 1948, allowing identification of many of their products. Some of them were marketed in the "Salco Series" - Salco was the brand name of A.Saalheimer Ltd., 45 Wilson Street, EC2, who were toy wholesalers and distributors.
Small fire engine with ladder. A&B LTD. was faintly cast underneath (at the top in the second photo), later with lettering deleted (after the break-up of the partnership with Alfred Brooks?).
Tipper Lorry (advertised March and April 1948). Later version with open wheel arches on the right.
Builder's Truck (advertised March and April 1948). "Salco Series" box. The man is by Crescent, not original to the set.
Large fire engine with double ladders and three firemen (advertised March, April and November 1948). Note the small ladder wheels on the earliest version (same wheels as on the small fire engine), and the late version with open wheel arches. The white hose is original, the black hose is not. The Morestone fire engine with bell (and sometimes a clockwork motor) is a similar design but slightly larger. Sam Morris (of Morris & Stone) told me that his fire engine was made in a factory at Waltham Cross, but perhaps Samuel Agasee made the dies?
Solo motorcycle (advertised March and April 1948). Note the moveable kick stand.
Motorcycle with sidecar (advertised April 1948). This is the "pointy-front" sidecar. Salco box. See the different Eebee motorcycles (below).
Dolls' Pram, advertised March and April 1948. Quite a large scale model, length 95mm. The handle is missing from this example.
Later in 1948, the company name was changed to S.A.Agasee Ltd., and it appears that the Brooks had left to set up on their own. S.A.Agasee Ltd. advertised once in Games & Toys in November 1948, and continued at Stamford Hill till 1952. Samuel Agasee died in 1955 after a long illness.
The large Fire Engine and possibly others from the Agasee & Brooks range continued in production.
Schoolboy on Tricycle (advertised November 1948)
Walking Santa Claus with barrow. He actually walks down a sloping surface. This model comes in a box marked THE WIZARD WALKER and THE AGASS (sic) SERIES*.
The following models have features in common with the above items, so are possibly by Agasee.
Window cleaner's bicycle - comes in a box marked TOYLAND WINDOW CLEANER*.
Penny Farthing with clown and performing dog - comes in a Salco box.
Station truck* (green example is missing the steering wheel). Has the same wheels as the large fire engine and the tipper lorry.
Breakdown Lorry - has similar wheels (but slightly smaller) to the station truck etc.
Double Decker Bus - the buses in the first four pictures have the same wheels as the breakdown lorry. The bus at the right has a different type of wheel with a representation of wheel nuts around the hub. Some buses had KUMFY BUS SERVICE adverts and the destination TOY TOWN A.1. on paper labels.
Compressor with man and drill. Same wheels as the later bus. I was told this set came in a Morestone box, but have never seen an example. Morestone was the trade mark of Morris & Stone (London) Ltd. of 95 Stoke Newington Church Street N16, who were toy wholesalers, and it is quite possible that Agasee made this item for Morestone. It was not till a few years later that Morestone set up their own diecasting operaton to make their exclusive lines.
This Road Sweeper certainly did come in a Morestone box, and it was advertised by Morestone in July 1950. It came with or without a clockwork motor. The items pictured have rubber wheels, but the model also exists with the same wheels as the compressor, so again could have been made by Agasee.
Racing Car - same wheels as the compressor etc.
Brockhouse Corgi Scooter with rider.
Trotting Cart or Sulky (missing the pony) - the wheels have an eccentric cam on the inside which was probably linked to the pony by a bar (missing), causing him to move up and down as the model was pushed along.
Monkey Hand Cart - the rear axle (diecast) is cranked so that the bar linked to it moves backwards and forwards, causing the monkey to do the same when the model is pushed along (bar broken on this example).
Bulldozer - comes with or without a clockwork motor. The mechanical version has nothing cast on the model and the SALCO name on the box. The non-mechanical version has "SALCO" BULLDOZER added to the blade, and just BULLDOZER on the box. The similarity of the green and red box to other items above suggests that Agasee was the maker.
Everson Mouldings Ltd. was incorporated in 1947, and in August 1948 Games & Toys mentioned a new company L.Brooks(Toys) Ltd. "to acquire the business of L.Brooks & Co. carried on by Alfred & Lottie Brooks at 85 Holmleigh Road N16, manufacturers, importers, exporters of toys, etc." In the street directories for 1949 and 1950, both companies were listed at 14C Vartry Road, South Tottenham, N15, and there seems little doubt that "Eebee Toys" were made by Everson & Brooks working together. In the 1951 street directory, Everson Mouldings Ltd. were at 187 Hackney Road, E2, while L.Brooks (Toys) Ltd. were at 169 Hackney Road, but by December 1952, Everson Mouldings was in receivership, probably due to the ban on the use of zinc for toy production (March 1951 to May 1952).
Several Eebee items have their own "Eebee" branded boxes, while others were again sold by Salco.
The Eebee "Old Village Pump" has a round or square base.
Eebee Tower Bridge with two paddle steamers.
These three horse-drawn items use the same casting for the horse, shafts and wheels. The TOYTOWN CIRCUS Wagon (with two lions) comes in an Eebee box.
The Gipsy Caravan comes in a Salco box.
I have never seen a box for the TOYTOWN BREWERS Dray. This had a driver, six barrels (each with XX cast on one end), a ladder and a removable tailboard.
The Eebee motorcycle and sidecar looked very similar to the Agasee version, but all the components were from new dies. The sidecar had a more rounded front and the rider had notches in his hands to hold the handlebars. The second photo shows clockwork versions of the model, with a motor inside the body of the sidecar. This was wound by turning the brass knob at the front of the sidecar (missing on the red painted model).
The following models have features in common with the above items, so are possibly by Eebee or Agasee.
Butcher's bike with separate tray of meat.
Tandem with sidecar.
Four wheel cycle (known as a "sociable") with two bears*.
Ice Cream tricycle.
This company was incorporated on 18 June 1955, and they were located at 169 & 187 Hackney Road, E2. It seems likely that in some way they were successors to Everson Mouldings. They were sub-contractors to Morris & Stone, and in particular they made the motorbikes in the Morestone and Budgie ranges. In the 1960s they were listed as manufacturers of "button and buckle moulds", and the firm survived into the 1980s.
RAC Motorcycle with sidecar containing an oversize wrench and screwdriver. Note the colours are identical to the tandem pictured above. In normal RAC colours, this was sold by Morestone in a Morestone box (there was also an AA version).
Solo Racing Motorcycle - this model, and the version with a sidecar, were issued in the Budgie range from 1962 to 1964 as numbers 262 and 264 respectively. They can also be found in AIRCAST boxes, possibly as an attempt by Aircast to sell a few more after they had been dropped from the Budgie range.
The plain box for the version with a sidecar may have been used before the printed boxes were available. It uses the same name - "T.T.Sidecar". The plain box is marked "No.5", which could be a catalogue number, or perhaps refers to the racing number 5 on the model within.
L.Brooks (Toys) Ltd.
This company survived the receivership of Everson Mouldings (or was re-started), because an advert in Games & Toys November 1958 stated:- "Mr.A.Brooks has re-started producing model diecast toys as L.Brooks(Toys) Ltd., 'Knoll', Fountayne Road N16." Two models resulted from this venture, a stage coach and covered wagon.
London to Dover Stage Coach - an English mail coach, in contrast to the many models of American Western stage coaches produced by other companies. It had LONDON and DOVER cast on the sides. I do not know what the horses were like, and have never found any that fitted. The box carried the name "Treasure Chest Series", which of course is familiar from the Moko "Farmette" series of miniature horse-drawn models. The Farmette Treasure Chest models date from 1955, and it seems likely they were made for Moko (J.Kohnstam Ltd.) by Brooks in the intervening years since the demise of Eebee. Full details of the Moko Farmette models are in the book Farming in Miniature.
Wild West Bullock Wagon - the wagon was pulled by four diecast bullocks. The first type of box shown is actually a box for the London to Dover coach with a paper label applied showing the bullock wagon. The second photo shows another box with the same illustration but printed in two colours. Strangely, the Brooks name is absent, and there is a logo with the words A 'CASTLE' PRODUCTION. The die for the Wild West Wagon was sold to Benbros, who first produced it with hollow-cast lead bullocks, which looked rather better than the heavy Brooks diecastings. Later, Benbros issued the model with diecast horses, and it was still listed when they ended toy production in 1965.
* Several pictures are taken from Hollow Cast Civilian Toy Figures by Norman Joplin & Philip Dean, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2005.