Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,159 pages of information and 233,681 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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of 34 Mitford Road, Holloway, London, N19. Works: 20 Andover Yard, Hornsey Road, London, N19. Telephone: Mountview 8304

1920s The company was formed by Charles and Benjamin Reid. That part of London had several toy manufacturers, and within a mile of Charbens were Britains , Taylor and Barrett, John Hill and Co and the Crescent Toy Co.

1929 Listed Exhibitor. Manufacturers of Metal Farmyard Models and Novelties, etc., Metal Soldiers, Metal Moneyboxes, Metal Plated Pincushions, etc., etc. (stand No. C.13) [1]

1930s Charbens made cast lead toys and had an extensive range consisting mainly of figures, but included a few vehicles. After the war further vehicles were introduced, mainly using zinc.

Post-WWII. The post-war zinc castings sufferd badly from metal fatigue due to contamination of the molten zinc by lead as both metals were used until the early 1960's.

By 1960 catalogues listed 28 models plus six Military Models and four Miniature Lorries.

1967 Most of the range was still available, but all toy manufacturers were now being badly affected by competition from Mattel's Hot Wheels. Some 'silver' plated models were produced, presumably for mounting on giftware such as ashtrays. Wheels were produced in a number of sizes and styles and were made of either metal or plastic.

1975 Charbens Toys was purchased by David and Maureen Smith to make plastic packaging for their own products.

By 1986 the company was renamed Charpak Ltd. and is still in the packaging business, although now in Huntingdon.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Charbens Miniature Series