The Mamod company was a British toy manufacturer specializing in building live steam model toys. It was founded by Geoffrey Malinsin 1935 in Birmingham (British Midlands).
The first live steam model engines produced by Mamod were stationary steam engine toys. Later, the company also created models of traction engines, road rollers and steam cars. Because these models were aimed at the steam toy market, they were simple to operate and ran at low boiler pressures for safety. However, they were not accurate scale models. Two common characteristics of Mamod models were the simple -but effective- oscillating cylinders and the Hexamine (like Esbit) solid fuel which came in tablet form and provided low heat and a safe form of firing.
In 1981 Mamod introduced its first model railway, the O gauge live steam SL-1 locomotive, along with a small range of rolling stock and track. The model was of a narrow gauge railway and although it was not based on a specific prototype it was to approximately 16mm, thus representing approximately a 2 ft. (610 mm) gauge railway.
The Mamod Steam Railway, as it was known, was the first cheap, mass produced live steam set in Britain and sold well. Mamod quickly added to the range with further locomotives the SL-2 and SL-3 available in ready-to-run and kit form and in both O (32 mm) and 1 (45 mm) gauge. Special edition locomotives, further rolling stock and points were also made.
Mamod initially released the railway range as RS1 sets with a SL1 locomotive closely followed by the RS2 set with a SL2 locomotive. Both sets came with a RW1 open wagon and a RW2 log wagon. The sets came in a bright eye catching red framed window box with a card face insert carrying the motif. Each box had a polystyrene base that accommodated the loco and wagons, 4 x straight and 16 x curved pieces of track, a solid fuel burner tray and box of solid fuel blocks, a funnel, a coupling hook, and a small tube of steam oil. Instructions and a brochure were also included. Some original Mamod locomotives are quite rare such as the SL4 'Princess of Wales' and SL5 'Prince of Wales' or the SL6 'Mamod Golden Jubilee' special editions.
In all over 18,000 model locomotives were produced by the Mamod company as well as thousands of non-rail models.
The company went into receivership in 1980, but survived. Eric Malins, the Managing Director, and Steve Malins, his son, gave up control of the company, thus effectively ending the Malins family's relationship with Mamod. Since then the company has had several owners and manufacturing bases. It is currently (2006) in the ownership of the Terry family and is now based near its original home at Smethwick in the West Midlands. The company now produces a wide range of mobile engines, as well as some stationary models and machine tools.
An excellent book has been written by Steve Malins (Malins Models, pub 1996) which details the company's existence from the beginning with Geoffrey Malins, right up to 1996 when the Terry family took over the firm.
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