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I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Selcol Products Limited - Selmer Company - Selmer Musical Instruments Ltd. - 'Vogue'

Selmer (Plastics Division), 114-16 Charing Cross Road, London, WC1, UK
Selcol, 114 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2, UK
Selmer Company, 1st floor, 126, Charing Cross Road, London, WC 2, UK
Selmer Musical Instruments Ltd., Selmar House, Charing Cross Road, London WC2, UK (Gala, MPI, Selmer-Selcol head office, showroom)
Theobalds Road, Holborn, London, UK (Selmer - amplifiers and organ manufacture)
Clerkenwell Road, London, UK (group warehouse)
Swanfield (?), Woolpack Lane, Braintree, Essex, UK (Selcol plastics factory / record press)

Tel: Temple-0444
Cables / Telegrams: SELMATONE.LONDON

1928-1980/82 (Selmer/MPI/CMI)
1953-1968 (Selcol, continuing as Selcol-Fairchild until 1978)

See also: Best, Bonux, Fairchild (for '2nd life' of Selcol), Gala Goldentone (for Selcol records) and Strombecker

Ben Davis - Founder of UK arm, Brian Jones - managing director (Braintree Plant), Mr John Cochrane - Chairman & MD (1965-1972),

Timeline
1919 - Selmer factory opened at Mantes, near Paris
1928 - Ben Davis establishes the Selmer Company in London,
1932 - UK business moves to larger premises
Post War - Lew Davis; Ben's brother, joins the company
1953 - MPI formed as a public company holding company for Selmer and the new Selcol
1964 - MPI sold to PLC (?) in the Midlands
1968 - Selcol plastics close and Selcol-Fairchild replaces Fairchild
1968-1969 - Selmer move all manufacturing and distribution to Braintree plant
1969- Move completed
1972 - John Cockrane (Managing Director) retires
Approximately 1974 - Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) take-over Selmer
1980/82 - Production ceases

History
Selcol and Selmer, of guitar, organ and amplifier fame, were both 'owned' by Musical & Plastics Industries (MPI), Selmer being originally formed under license from its Henri Selmer owned French parent - also called Selmer.

Selcol as an offshoot; was set up in 1953 at the same time as MPI and seems to have been the plastics division and 'Toy' arm, although they were also involved in producing children's records - to be listed under Gala-Goldentone elsewhere. As Selcol were behind several brands of Children's 78 and 45rpm record ranges (and floppy discs; some attached to the covers of comics/children's periodicals as premiums), it would seem that the whole facility at Braintree's 'Selmer' was Selcol?

They used various hard plastics and disc 'vinyl' including their own in-house branded Styron. Selcol also made plastic garden furniture along with the ranges of kits and toys. J. G. Garratt dates them 1955-1960, but we know vinyl record production only ceased in [late?] 1968, when Selmer moved its electronic instrument production to the Braintree factory from the plant in Holborn, London.

Best known for their Airfix-style 6" figure kits of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I - among others, they also carried a range of automotive model kit, these seem to have been Strombecker kits and might have been licensed, produced under a mould-share or simply re-packs? Garrett also talks of oval (?) 54mm medieval figures on plastic horses, I wonder if he's thinking of Mallable Mouldings or one of the French imports like Acedo? Presumably this was all coming out of the Braintree works too?

Selcol also manufactured plastic instruments including the much sought after Beatles and Elvis Presley licensed toy guitars and drum kits at that Essex factory. Plastic production ceased in late 1968, the story then moves to Fairchild (see their entry) and soft polyethylene, although the exact nature of the relationship, or the place of either Selcol or Fairchild in it are currently unknown.

Selmer continued production of electronics and 'grown-ups' musical instruments from Essex.
They (probably as Selmer) supplied their musical movements to other toy companies, Mettoy being one recipient for their (Mettoy's) musical tin jack-in-a-box.

Marks
Made in England
Made in England - A Selcol Product
S
Selcol
Selcol - Made in England
Vogue - Made in England
Vogue - Made in England - A Selcol Product

Listings
General Toys
- Space Man with Hand-held Bazooka (ex-Best, also copied/licensed (or just heat-stamped) by someone in/to Europe supplying Bonux with premiums)
- Dan Dare Vision Master Telescope
- Dice Cup (polyethylene, various colours)
No. 1052 - Dr. Who and the Daleks Nursery Toy (blow-moulded Dalek)
- Sit 'N' Ride Scooter (pedal cycle with outrider-wheels)
-Speed Cop Motorcycle & Rider (self balancing motion toy motorcycle, black rubber wheels, 5" long)
- Western 6-Shooter Rifle
- Slot-racing Car (red body, driver, approximately 1:24th scale?)

Flintstone Money Banks (bagged with header-card)
- Barney
- Betty
- Fred
- Wilma

Model Village (O-gauge or G-Scale garden railway accessories, blow-moulded polyethylene with expanded-PS foam filling, approximately 1:32nd Scale)
- Church Hall
- Church Steeple/Spire
- Cottages (design 1)
- Cottages (design 2)
- Farm House 
- Hexagonal Barn Structure (rotunda/market cross/corn exchange)
- Public House ('The Railway Arms'?)

Selcol De-Luxe Hobby Kits (styrene 6" figure kits, designed by E. Meister)
- Elizabeth I
- Henry VIII 1509-1547
- Richard I

Musical Instruments (various plastics, 'the' ignored in all entries)
- Beatles Big Six Guitar (six-string)
- Beatles New Beat Guitar
- Beatles New Beat Ringo Starr Drum & Stand
- Beatles New Sound Guitar (four-string)
- Beatles Red Jet Electric Guitar (six-string)
- Beatles Junior Guitar (four-string)
- Bird Whistle
Crackerjack Rhythm Band (boxed set of cymbals, maracas, tambourine, tri-angle, wrist/ankle bells)
No.443 - Elvis Presley Guitar (four-string)
No.451- Jazz Guitar (four-string)
- Kazoo
- Melody Maker Banjo
- Official Elvis Presley Ukette
- Original Elvis Presley Rock n' Roll Guitar (four-string)
- Penny Whistle
- Recorder
- Red Jet Electric Guitar (1963, six-string)
- Silvertone Trumpet (plastic with metal plungers)
- Siren Whistle
- Slide Whistle
- Swanee Whistle
- Trad Jazz Special (four-string guitar)
- Trumpet
No. 734 - Yogi Bear Guitar (four-string)

As Vogue
- Combination Lock 'Pillar-box' Post-box Money Box (this author had one!)
- Tubby Trex Combination Lock 'Seaside' Pillar Money Box (Trex lard premium)
Vogue Range (by Selcol)
- Buddha Ashtray
- 'Merry Drunk' Ashtray ("Oh What a Beautiful Evenin'!!" decorated Ivorene on Bakelite base)
- 'Merry Drunk' Ashtray ("But Smoking is Harmless" undecorated Ivorene on Bakelite base)
- 'Three Monkeys' Ashtray ("And Don't Flick Your Ash" die-cast monkeys)

Other Items (listed alphabetically)
549 - Ballerina Roundelay (musical cigarette box/dispenser, decorated)
- Barrel-organ Music Toy (with soft-toy monkey, card and tin-plate with movement)
- Collapsible/Telescoping Picnic Cup
- Melody Maker Basket (card and tin-plate with movement)
- Oriental Roundelay (musical cigarette box/dispenser, white/decorated)
- Powerful Microscope
- Santa Music Box (card and tin-plate with movement)
543 - Standard Roundelay (musical cigarette box/dispenser, dark, undecorated Bakelite)

They Say
"The new people in plastics with new ideas"

Thanks to 
Graham Smith (Model village info.)

Links
Selmer History

See Also
Farming in Miniature (FIM) Volume 2

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