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T H E H I S T O R Y O F D I E C A S T T O Y S Diecasts are made from a metal alloy called Mazac which comprises approximately 94% zinc, 4% aluminium and 2% copper with a trace of magnesium although the exact mixture varied from time to time. A few early Dinkies were made of lead and later models could be of aluminium or plastic. The molten material was injected into a mould or die and when the metal had cooled, it was trimmed, cleaned and enamelled. The cast body was fitted onto a pressed metal chassis. Many companies throughout the world have made diecast toys. The idea was pioneered by Tootsietoys in the USA in 1906 but the best known are Dinky and Corgi Toys. Meccano Ltd: Head office and factory, opened 1914, Binns Road, Liverpool 13, England. In 1933, Frank Hornby, who founded Meccano in 1905, decided to introduce some miniature diecast models which he called “Pocket Toys”. The name changed to Modelled Miniatures and in 1934 became Dinky. Frank Hornby died in 1936 aged 73. Dinky toys were produced in the UK from 1934 until 1979 at the Binns Road factory in Liverpool. French Dinkies were produced at the factory at Bobigny near Paris. Well over 1000 different Dinky models were produced, not counting the vast number of colour variations. They included cars, trucks, buses, planes, trains, ships and civilian figures. Dinky’s great rivals were Corgi Toys which were started in 1956 and continued until 1983. Corgi was established by the Mettoy Company. Mettoy had previously manufactured several toy cars and commercial vehicles from pressed metal and some cast models under the name of “Castoys”. The name Corgi was suggested by Henry Ullman, son of Philip Ullman Mettoy’s founder, Philip Ullman. Corgi knew they had to distinguish their toys from those of Dinky and their first feature was that all of their toys would have plastic windows. The second feature was to introduce a mechanism to all their models which could propel them, such as a flywheel. These mechanical Corgi versions were discontinued in 1959. Corgi Toys were made at their factory in Swansea, although some operations were based in Nottingham. There were well over 700 basic Corgi model types excluding the various special series which were produced.
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