Time moves on nowadays at a seemingly exponential rate with technology changing all the time. Companies all over the world have to move with the times or risk being left behind as the next big thing takes its place. Mamod is no exception and has had to adapt to the developing digital world we live in today.
Starting out as a humble family-run company, Mamod has blossomed into a name known right around the world. There has obviously been challenges, as there always is with a brand which has been running for over 80 years, but Mamod has been able to overcome these obstacles.
In the second part of our chat with the curator and head of Winterbourne House and Garden, Lee Hale, we look at the changing face of Mamod and how it has adapted to new markets and appeals to the next generation.
"In years past they were intended solely as a child’s toy, but there are now many more adult collectors as people realise their recreational value," Lee explains. The company has helped to evolve far beyond its original campaign of being the ideal toy for children to understand the concept of steam.
Mamod has been creating models for educational purposes for years. Long-standing partnerships with schools has seen the company specifically develop the models to allow youngsters to have a grasp of how engines work. As it core target market has grown older, Mamod has had to alter its approach and cater for a customer base wanting much more than a toy.
Steam has become a hobby for many adults for a number of reasons. For some it is the desire to develop a new skill, others want to take a trip down memory lane and recreate some of the engines they saw during their skills while some just like having projects to work on. However, for Lee it was something completely different.
The Winterbourne curator explains: "The hobby provides me with a distraction from a busy work life and has helped through times of great personal difficulties by focusing my mind elsewhere. The steam shows and rallies are full of wonderful people that really enjoy imparting their knowledge; you can’t beat seeing a vast array of engines gathered in one place!"
Another key selling point for many getting involved with steam collecting is the community aspect. There are a multitude of steam clubs and groups across the UK and Mamod is heavily involved in this. Lee is a member of the Unofficial Mamod Forum and says that it is great place to expand your knowledge about model steam engines.
"There are a myriad of steam events and rallies throughout the year; I run the Winterbourne Toy steam event in Birmingham and we are now looking forward to our third year following a very successful event in 2014," he adds.
Over the years, Mamod has built a large and loyal customer base and while it is now building towards an older demographic it still regards itself as being able to create some perfect steam engine toys for the younger generation. Whatever age you are, it shows that you can neither be too young or too old to enjoy steam.