I was born in 1949 and brought up in the north west London suburb of Harrow, most famous for its school, the school to which Winston Churchill went in the last decade of the nineteenth century. But to young boys in England in those early post war years, one of our greatest delights was to be found in collecting Dinky Toys. They were scale replicas of real vehicles – trucks and automobiles – to be seen on the roads at the time. With their bright colors and robust metal construction, we could take them through the pretend territory of our garden paths and lawns, filling them with little loads of twigs and stones. Or, if it was raining we could maneuver them around the carpet in our sitting rooms, all the time making the sounds of the real vehicles (or so we imagined) until, in my case, my mother said: “Enough, it’s time for bed.” But boys grow up (or do they?) and the memories of those early years dim, but never completely fade. And, as we reach our later years those childhood memories return.
Now at sixty-four, I have been a collector of Dinky Toys for over thirty years. Of course I no longer push them across the carpet or down the garden path, but place them lovingly into a series of beautifully made glass cabinets. A couple of years ago I had reached a point with my collection where I thought I had acquired all the Dinky Toys I really wanted and started to think about models that Dinky didn’t make. That was when the idea for Ruby Toys came about. I wondered whether it would be possible to make Dinky style models in England for collectors, like myself, who remember the originals and would like to collect a group of similar toys. So with that in mind, I started to think about the models themselves and soon came up with a list of ten prototypes that I thought would appeal to collectors and then set about finding a little group of people with the various skills to carry out my vision. Within a few weeks I found them.
And so began Ruby Toys. As of the beginning of 2014 I have released two models: an Albion van dating from 1946 and a Dennis Brewer’s Dray dating from 1952. From the moment the first model appeared in the collector’s magazines, Model Collector and Die-cast Collector, I received orders from all over the world. Now I don’t want to exaggerate – I am talking about a few hundred pieces, but that is whole point; I am not seeking to turn this into a multi million-dollar business. One of the reasons I called them Ruby Toys was because I thought of them as little gems that would be treasured by the collectors who acquired them. The enthusiastic response has of course been most gratifying and delightful, as has the small loyal following which has developed almost overnight.
When children’s minds wander in the classroom teachers are apt to label them “dreamers”, but all creativity begins in the imagination and we humans all possess some creative potential. My Ruby Toys are just a small expression of my own creative spark put to work and developed with others who have brought their own particular talents and skills to bear in the project, and I could not have made it a reality without them!
You can check out Ruby Toys here.
Photo Credit: Ruby Toys