A short history of the Mamod company: Part One - 1936-60

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A basic guide to highs and lows of the company during the Malins era 1936-1980**








1936 and Geoffrey Malins agrees to make engines for Hobbies, after the partnership Hobbies had with Geoffrey Bowman-Jenkins ends. Initially only Hobbies engines are made; the SE1/2/3 and 4 along with the ME1. 576 engines are produced that year.

Its 1937 and the birth of Mamod. Malins starts to make Mamod engines alongside the Hobbies variants at his Price Street workshop. The legendary Mamod SE4 is introduced, being a slightly different version to the 1936 Hobbies engine.

1938 and Geoffrey Malins moves to his new premises at St. Marys Row, Birmingham. Joined by his son 'Bud' and with 30, mainly part time workers the company is flourishing.

Its 1939 and Malins (Engineers) Ltd., is incorporated as a private company. The first 4-page Mamod brochure appears. Mamod's rarest production engine appears late into the year - the twin-cylinder Minor 2.
By 1940 production has ceased for the duration of the war. Malins association with Hobbies comes to an end and prodution of the MM2 twin is halted after a run of probably less than 100 engines.
Its 1946, war is over and the company slowly comes back to life. Production is limited to the SE1, SE2 and Minor 1. A prototype SE4 is made around this time, but sadly never put into production. Malin's son, Eric, joins the business in charge of production.
1947 and Geoffrey Malins son, Phil, joins the family business. Production slowly picks up, despite post war shortages of materials and unreliable equipment!
It's now 1948 and the business is going from strength to strength, improvements to the range include new brass flywheels for the SE2 and newly introduced MM2 (with single cylinder). Eric Malins asserts his legendary control over production and costs. Grinder introduced.
By 1949 The company moves to larger premises at Camden Street, Malins are confident enough to introduce their first 'mobile' the Meteor boats, although later these would prove to be the only real commercial failure ever by Malins Engineers. 
Its 1950, and the Meteor is not selling well, the price by now was 4 5s 0d, a little expensive for the time. In an attempt to rescue something from the project they introduce the 'Conqueror' powered by a FROG 'Revmaster' electric motor.
1951 and Mamod continue to sell the Meteor, albeit in small quantities. They consolidate the move to Camden Street. Also at this time Mamod made solid brass ball-catches for doors, this kept them going in the quieter months. The only non toy item ever made by the company.
By 1952 the production of the Meteor comes to and end after 1,500 units as does Bud Malins' association with the company, due to disagreements with his father. 
1953 brings more changes to the engine line. The costly hot-stamped brass flywheels are dropped in favour of mazak, which also begins to be used for the tools. This would also be the last year flatbases are used on the bigger engines.
1954 was a year of changes, Eric Malins walks out on the firm and all the engines get the new pressed steel, raised bases.
The company now employs 40 full-time workers which enables Geoffrey Malins to keep the company running smoothly.
During 1955 Geoffrey Malins actively pursues the idea of finding a buyer for the now profitable company - but to no avail. He approaches his son Eric and between them they strike a deal. Geoffrey becomes Chairman and Eric will now get overall control of Malins Engineers.
Spring 1956 and Eric Malins rejoins the company as Managing Director. Eric sets about plans for Malins' first new engine in nine years.
1957 and the introduction of perhaps what many would feel is one of Mamod's most celebrated engines: the twin-cylinder SE3. The engine signals the soon to end production of wick-type burners, as it now uses the simpler 'vapourising' type.
1958 and another new model appears (well two!) the ME1 and ME2 marine engines. Further developments on the rest of the range include revised fireboxes for the MM2, SE1 and 2, as well as the elimination of wick type burners, the excepton being the MM1.
The 1950s end, it was a good decade in many respects for Malins - 1959 was no exception. With only SEL as any sort of real competitor, the 1960s were wide open for Mamod to dominate.
Now with a workforce of around 50, the company could turn out up to 300 engines a day plus accessories. Space was becoming tight at the Camden Street works and a bigger set of premises would be needed for expansion in the 1960s.

Click here for Part Two: 1961-1980

*There was no production from 1940-1945 because of World War Two.

**This account was put together with reference to Steve Malins book - 'The Story of Malins Models' (1996) as well as the webmasters own comprehensive collection of engines, memorabilia and knowledge on the subject.

For more detailed information on engine manufacturing dates click:

Putting a date on your Mamod/1

Putting a date on your Mamod/2