The First Five FUN HO! Tractors
Collecting Farm Toys Worldwide
- Sat Jun 01, 2013
- by Christopher Moor
The models were: No. 78 Fordson Tractor, No. 81 Oliver Tractor, No. 103a Small Tractor, No. 104 Medium Tractor and No. 104b Fordson, Cast Wheels.
Hand-finished Repro versions of the Oliver, the medium tractor, and the Fordson with cast wheels continue to be manufactured from the original moulds (plates) by the Fun Ho! National Toy Museum at Inglewood.
When they entered the catalogue the factory was in Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, the first of the three production sites for the original toys. In 1945 the factory relocated to New Plymouth, in the North Island's Taranaki province. In 1949 it shifted to the nearby dairying town of Inglewood, where the bulk of these models were made.
A Wellington suburb is where the Fun Ho! story had its beginnings. Jack Underwood started making lead slush toys in the basement of his Karori home as a hobby during the Depression era of the 1930s. His experiments were so successful that he was manufacturing toys full time by 1939.
E. Mervyn Taylor's design for the distinctive Fun Ho! trademark with the exclamation mark also dates from 1939. Taylor is a respected New Zealand artist who supplemented his income by working as a commercial artist. [Subscribe to Toy Farmer and read the rest of this article.]