Vectis will be offering the R.A.H Steward Collection of early Scalextric (including tinplate) pieces on the 16th February. The sale includes over 30 Scalex models including keyless, clockwork examples which work in a similar way to friction drive toys. A number of early Startex, tinplate and plastic examples are to be found with track and accessories. The collection includes rare examples in excellent condition plus those of Austin Healey, Jaguar 2.4 Saloons and includes scarce boxed French examples and early plastic Bentley 4.5 litre models.
The collection does look incredible and the metalic blue Austin Healy looks exceptional – it has an estimate of £100-£120.
Scalex and Startex and Scalextric
Its beginnings can be found in tinplate cars going back to the 1940’s. In 1947 Mr B.F Francis, a dedicated engineer developed a clockwork, friction driven mechanism which didn’t require the use of a key. This was patented in 1952, with its success enabling his company Minimodels to expand and launch two new lines – Scalex and Startex.
Not content, Francis began to experiment with the use of electric in conjunction with his toys, resulting in – Scalex (elec)tric?. This innovative product which included a track and two Maserati 250F Grand Prix cars was the success of the Harrogate Toy Fair on its launch in 1957.
Unfortunately the company wasn’t geared up for the manufacturing success, Minimodels could not fulfil orders and Lines Bros moved in to take over the company in 1958. The impracticality of metal cars was reviewed almost immediately and by 1960 the more practical plastic was the norm for the sets. As with train layouts, the great marketing opportunity with Scalextric lay in the additional pieces that were introduced. including numerous makes of cars, grandstands, people, buildings, extra track and accessories etc.
For more information visit Vectis.co.uk