For a humble steam model company, Mamod has had to overcome some pretty difficult challenges since its establishment in the 1930s. From a world war to a World Cup to two recessions, the firm has persisted and still stands strong to this very day. In this three part series, we look back at the trials and tribulations Mamod has been through over the years.
The second in our series looks at Mamod's experiences during the war efforts and how it progressed once the guns fell silent.
The late 1930s and early 1940s were a time of great struggle and uncertainty as war raged across Europe. The Nazis had continued their push across countries sweeping all before them and as Poland fell, it was time for the Allies to act. As men young and old prepared to tackle Hitler's army on foreign soil, the war effort at home was just as intense.
For Mamod, it ceased all model production in 1940 to concentrate on the war effort where it would put its expertise to use helping Britain and her allies win the war. By 1946, the conflict had ended and people all over Europe were slowly putting their lives back together. Mamod revived operations and fired up the factory to start producing models once again.
The first post-war models to come off the production line were the SE1, SE2 and Minor 1, complemented with a range of tools. All of these models featured base-mounted chimneys but could only be made in this format for a few months.
Rationing following the war put a major strain on Mamod's ability to replace the appropriate material forcing the SE1 and SE2 to become locomotive style chimneys.
Following the war there had been a major swing in public opinion. The use of German-made models had unsuprisingly become hugely unpopular and the demise of Bowman Models, which had closed in 1936, had left a void in the market. Mamod grasped the opportunity and by 1948 it was going from strength to strength and was now able to introduce brass flywheels for the SE2 and the new MM2.
The 1960s brought with it a much more laid back and free thinking way of life across Britain. The Swinging Sixties gave birth to iconic fashion trends and a much different ethos. For Mamod, it was a time where it thrived. The decade allowed the company to branch out and make modifications to its range.
As astronaut Neil Armstrong made that "one small step for mankind" on the surface of the Moon in 1961, Mamod was also enjoying another milestone. It rolled out the SR1 steam roller, the company's first real mobile model. It has a huge success and proved to be sign of things to come.
A year later and Malins Engineers had moved out of its Camden Street premises and relocated to Brierley Hill, in a building known as Thorns Works. This move allowed Mamod to start work on its next model – the TE1 Steam Tractor. Launched in 1963, the model has managed to stand the test of time and celebrated its 50th anniversary two years ago.
The move to the Thorns Works allowed Mamod and chairman Geoffrey Malins develop new models for a growing customer base. The Steam Tractor became the company's best selling engine with the Steam Roller also proving hugely popular and helped Mamod to usher in the new age of modelling.
Mamod's success reflected the mood of the nation, it was a much more positive time than the previous two decades and with England set to host a World Cup things really did seem on the up. Malins evolved once again and teamed up with Meccano to create the MEC1 and also reverted to use pop rivets as opposed to screws to save on production costs and maintain manufacturing economics.
By the time Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup for England in front of 98,000 people at Wembley Stadium, Mamod was preparing for the next year. The TE1a, SR1a, SE1a and SE2a were all set to be released as Mamod headed into the 1970s on the crest of a wave and boasting soaring sales.
It was a golden period for the steam model industry.