Friday, 5 February 2010

Model Ponies

I blogged a while back about model ponies in the mid 1960s, but have since bought a load of Pony and Riding magazines from the early 1960s, which are wonderful source material for so much that I would like to write about but have not had time. The magazines have adverts for a whole range of model horses most of whom were defunct by the mid 1960s. As I was born in 1962, none of these ever swum across my ken, none were dandled over my pram to amuse or even bought in by an enterprising parent for Jane to have later. Ah well.

There was certainly a wider range of materials and styles than later on in the decade. Not all of the horses were made of rubber: Rowe Horses were made of silks. I wonder how many of them have survived. I guess very few, as the silk must surely have decayed. The horses were also pretty expensive: 60 shillings was £3 (around £50 in today's money), and Pegasus and Isis rubber models were around the £1.50 mark (around £26), which also included tack or a rider. 




There were also these rather ritzy Edith Reynolds horses, made of real calf skin. They were presumably very expensive, as they were stocked by Harrods and Hamleys, and don't actually mention such vulgar things as price.



There were rubber horses too: here is one from Pegasus. The photograph is alas little better in the original, which is perhaps a reason why Pegasus didn't survive. Just a bit more attention to the quality of the photograph would have helped, but their Thoroughbred is shrouded in dark murk. It's an intriguing looking model though, with plenty of vim:



I also found these real oddities: bendy people. Quite what you did with them without the equivalent bendy horse, I do not know. Presumably the company weren't quite sure either, as the advertising pushes the figures as useful prizes for hunt balls.



The main competitor to Julip, certainly in terms of number of advertisements, was Isis, a Berkshire company whose advertising was rather more clued up. They also managed to get their products in editorial. The picture below is from Pony December 1966, and shows the Isis yearling money box. Isis had a wider range of products than just model horses: they also produced Tack, a card game. The other adverts are from 1962 and 1961. Isis' prices were noticeably more reasonable than its competitors: 8/6, which is around £7.50 in today's money.







The major company in the early 1960s was still Julip. I found this intriguing mention of specially commissioned Pony models in Pony Magazine, December 1962. Percy was a Przewalski horse, and Allsorts was a donkey. It certainly sounds from the copy below as if Percy and his friends were freely available .



Julip in the early 1960s didn't seem to stoop to the level of their competitors by providing photographs, like the one below, which is from December 1966.



They preferred to take a sideswipe at the opposition in pure text, simply telling customers to BEWARE OF IMITATIONS. As none of the other companies still exist, it appears customers took this to heart.


9 comments:

Val said...

Fascinating..I was born in 1960 and missed them too..if I had but known I'dve wished for them!

My pocket money was fervently saved for Britains model animals. I collected the farm animals,zoo animals and the horses and ponies. Great fun.

Other than that it was plasticine and balsa wood ...making snazzy ponies and their stables...

and joy upon Joy... Sindy's little sister Patch's pony arrived one Christmas or Birthday..bliss

SusannaF said...

Lovely!

I think Julip's slogan used to be, "A stable for your kitchen table" or similar.

Jane Badger said...

Val - my sister had Patch's pony! I had Sindy's horse but alas he soon suffered a broken leg. Very impressed with the stable making! Do they still exist?

Susanna - yes, that does sound familiar. I'm sure I must have some Pony magazines of the right vintage to have a check.

Val said...

No...'fraid not... but Patch's pony is still going strong! (well as strong as he can...he still has his saddle and stirrups (with a string girth and leathers)

his tail does have a tendency to escape but that's because his body needs a bit of strong glue on the join...

He's still being played with by my two...so wish him luck!

lyzzybee said...

I had the Sindy pony which had jointed limbs, so much better than Barbie's. And, oh, the memories of going to Beauchamp Place with my hard-saved pennies to get Julips. I am glad however that I sold my Julips to a proper collector as the latex does tend to perish - I have photos of them in a decent condition and know they are being looked after...

Susan in Boston said...

Jane...very cool to see all those pics! I had no idea there was such a variety of companies making model horses...the only one in the US I was ever aware of was Beyer...I had (still have, actually) their Misty of Chincoteague, and a few china horses from Goebel, but that was it....I feel so deprived now! :-)

Re the Bendy riders....I wonder if they were scaled to fit popular pony models from other companies? You know, like Apple makes Ipods, but there are a dozen companies that make accessories to fit Ipods?

Jane Badger said...

Val - I wish Patch's pony luck!

Lyzzybee - I'm glad your Julips found a good home. I wonder if any of the Pegasus and Isis models still exist? You don't tend to see them on ebay.

Susan - this probably isn't a popular point of view, but I'm not hugely keen on the Breyers. They just look plastic to me.... I wondered too about the Bendy toys. I've been trying to find out some more info on the company, or even examples of other Bendy toys, but nothing so far. I wonder if they did bendy horses too, though I guess you'd have to just about tie the rider's legs round the horse to get them to stay on!

Anonymous said...

I too am 1960 vintage, and remember Julip models..''A riding stable on a table'' I think the Pony Magazine adverts said, but the ponies were quite expensive. I never had one, sadly, but my friend Shirley did, and I was so jealous!
Britain's horses, and yes, ''Patches Pony''! I had him, but wished he was more finely built, more like the plastic Arab ponies one could buy at Woolworths that were very 'snortish' and prancing, and had a thin gold chain for a rein. I made stables out of shoe boxes, and wished desperately for a rocking horse, a large Victorian one, but was told that ''big girls of seven don't have rocking horses''...
When my son was born, I did buy him a Julip latex model from Tridias in Bath, and sadly after years of hard play, making the horse 'gallop' the bay hunter's legs showed their inner wire :(. I wish that I had kept the horse as an ornament, but as others have said,
latex rubber is very perishable.
The 'Sixties and Seventies I look back on with a certain nostalgia, of saturday rides, and pony books -Diana Pullein Thompson was my favourite.
I cut up the straps of my school satchel to make a ''bridle'', and used to make jumps in the back garden to leap , my legs were the ''horse'', and my upper body the 'rider'..one wonders if 11yr old would do such innocent things in this era, where children grow up so fast.
I did visit Beauchamp Place as a young adult, and it was magical, the walls covered in children's drawings of horses, presided over by an elderly lady.
Quite wonderful.
The 'Julip' ponies I see nowadays are a far cry from the latex models of the 60's and 70's.
Thanks for the nostalgia, the old typsetting of the adverts whisks me back to a more innocent time of yearning for all things horse.
Catherine M

Jane Badger said...

I bought my son a Julip model too! I have to say he had to wait until my daughter came along before he was played with, as the poor old family cob was sadly devoid of any weaponry capability.

And I do so empathise with the yearning for all things horse. Have you read Susanna Forrest's excellent book on just that subject? If Wishes Were Horses?