The Bumper Book of 'Lone Star' Diecast Models and Toys 1948-88
In July 1939, the humble beginnings of what was originally Toys and Houseware, were based in a pair of below street-level lock-up garages one capable of garaging two single-decker buses side by side, beneath the forecourt of "The Bridge Garage" in Green Lanes, Palmers Green, north London. Within a year the original company, registered a change of name to Die Casting Machine Tools Ltd. The founder of what was often referred to as DCMT was Aubrey Robert "Bob" Mills who, with a partner, Sidney James "Sid" Ambridge designed, built and sold uncomplicated die-casting machines which used molten zinc alloy to produced castings from a die. The die comprised two mild-steel squared halves set up above a cast iron base at about waist level and was operated by the application of manual pressure. Two levers - one of which closed and opened the two halves of a die; one half being movable on stout rods and the other half securely fixed to the machine and the molten metal receptacle. A second lever was used to push down a supply of molten zinc-alloy (Mazak), through the feeder channel (or sprue) to completely fill the cavities of the casting within the two parts of the die, after which the first lever would be drawn back towards the die-caster thus opening the die and the casting would then be ejected into a bin. During WW2 DCMT produced castings for hand grenades and, its believed, aircraft components. The use of mazak for anything other than the War effort, was forbidden - so the manufacture of metal toys was a non-starter at that time but, nonetheless, some tentative experiments produced a few models in coloured plastic. In 1945, the ban on making metal toys was lifted and DCMT built dies to the order of "The Crescent Toy Co. Ltd.", a potential rival company, then, also in north London. Two different Car and two different Lorry moulds were somehow acquired, or built, by DCMT based upon "Tootsietoy" (U.S.A.) originals to quickly get some wheeled models out and on the shelves of toy/model stores in order to meet the demand for such objects that hadnt been obtainable for six years. In 1949, DCMT parted company with "Crescent Toy" and began to market toys and a range of tools under the uninspiring initials "D.C.M.T." and later "Slikka Toys" and "Slikka Tools". Regrettably, these brand-names didnt catch the public imagination, and so a more suitable name needed to be found. In 1949, they produced their first Western-type cowboy cap pistol called the "Lone Star" which bore "Slikka Toy" markings. The name "Lone Star" had a Western flavour about it with connotations of Texas. In 1951, the first written evidence of the use of the name "Lone Star" was discovered in a DCMT advert which offered a range of juvenile Western-style clothes, hat and accessories, i.e. Sheriff Badge, "Range Rider" Mk.1. cap-pistol (with dummy bullets) and holster set, a sheath knife, "Range Rider" Spurs and a Woggle for a Neckerchief.
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