A short history of the Mamod company: Part Two - 1961-80

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







1961 was a milestone year for Malins, the eponymous SR1 steam roller is launched - their first real mobile, it was to signal a rich vein of sales as it led to greater things to come. Malins' last year at Camden Street.
1962 and Malins Engineers move into the old pipe works at Brierly Hill, known as the Thorns Works, it was to see some of their finest commercial successes. The site purchased for 10,000, is found by Chairman, Geoffrey Malins. Work now begins on their next mobile...
Not only was 1963 a great year for the Beatles, it was a real landmark for Malins as they launch their most successful engine ever - the ubiquitous TE1 Steam Tractor.
1964 and consolidating their presence at the Thorns Works, the Steam Tractor becomes Malins' best selling engine, along with the Steam Roller.
With ever increasing production costs and to ensure manufacturing economics are right, Malins phase out the use of screws for construction of their models, from 1965 on pop rivets are king! Malins launch a new engine in collaboration with Meccano, the MEC1.
1967, the summer of love sees new models introduced by Malins - the new 'a' series engines, the TE1a and SR1a now have a reversing engine block (ala MEC1) and the stationaries get a facelift too with the SE1a and SE2a. The Minor engines remain unchanged.
With SEL no longer making steam toys (they sold their remaining stock of marine engines to Malins in 1965) the field is wide open for Malins Engineers and 1966 was like every year in the 1960s - one of steady expansion.
1968 and sales are going well, the SR1a loses its aluminim rolls to get mazak types instead. New floorspace is ready at the Thorns Works for yet more investment in new machinery.
With new floorspace being utilised for die-casting the costs of production are slashed. Malins introduce something for the SR and TE to pull at last!, the open type and lumber type wagons. Malins first hard-soldered engine is launched for schools in the form of the 'Griffin and George' SE3. Steve Malins joins the family business, straight from school.
The boom time 1970s dawn and in the first year of the decade the little Minor One finally gets a vapourising spirit lamp! Eric Malins accepts the company's second award (the first in 1969) from the National Association of Toy Retailers.
Its 1971 and Steve Malins gets inspiration for his 'first model' to be manufactured by Malins - the Overtype Steam Road Waggon...
1972 and Steve Malins' wonderful SW1 Steam Wagon is launced in January of this year. Malins' 'patented finger burner' is finally the retired - the brass turned whistle, from now on all engines equipped with a whistle have the sprung reset type. Malins receive their third award from the NATR.
1973 production hits nearly 116,000 units and the Thorns works runs smoothly with only the occaisional hiccup!
1974 and David Evans joins the company, with the job of establishing a proper production and quality control system.
By 1975 development at the Thorns works had been fully realised, with the opening of dedicated offices, sadly in June of this year Geoffrey Malins, founder and Chairman, dies at the age of 83. Production is hit hard later in the year, as retailers cancel orders over concerns about liquid fuel after an 'accident' in the US draws attention to the dangers of methylated spirit. Valued staff are made redundant as a result of journalistic lunacy.
1976 and the birth of Steve Malins' next creation (along with the help of George Morris) - the SA1 Steam Roadster, it turns out to be an instant hit and alleviates some of the gloom of 1975.
After the events of 1975, liquid fuel is outlawed and so from 1977 Malins models are fuelled by solid fuel tablets. The tablets are made on the premises at the Thorns works.
By 1978, to accomodate European regulations (EN71), all models except the Minor One, now have sight glasses, along with the naked flame to be fully enclosed. This year was to be the last for the SE series stationary engines, a totally new design was nearing fruition.
The ambitious new SP series of stationary engines is launched in Spring 1979, featuring a totally redesigned look, the new range totals five engines; the SP1, 2, 3, 4 and the twin cylinder SP5. The WS1 workshop is introduced, containing all the workshop tools on one base.
1980 and the last year of Malins control, the hugely sought after railway sets (RS1 and RS2) are introduced. The banking profession 'brings down' the most successful family owned toy steam company Britain has ever had, and the 1980s dawn with a new owner and a greater series of ups and downs which no-one at the time could have predicted.

Thank you to the Malins family for their lasting toy steam legacy . . .

**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.