Morris & Stone (Morestone) first sold miniatures in the Esso Petrol Pump Series with distinctive boxes and a range of 20 models. In 1959 this Series was discontinued to make way for the Budgie Toys brand.
In 1960 Budgie Toys re-launched several of the former Esso models (with the same numbers) in a bright new range of yellow blister packs and began the task of expanding the collection. The following year they re-introduced boxes using the names 'Mobile' or 'Modern' and later switched to blue blister packs following the takeover of Budgie Toys by Guiterman. Two Gift Sets of miniatures were also issued, Nos.8 & 12
In America Budgie Miniatures were distributed by World Toy House from Minnesota in their own blister packs using blue, white and red designs.
In 1966 the Guiterman business went into liquidation and Budgie as a mainstream toymaker ceased. However, one of the manufacturers of Budgie toys, Modern Products Ltd., bought the 'Budgie Models' name and continued producing several existing miniatures and added some new ones until 1970 when their business was sold.
From 1956 to 1970, Morestone, Budgie and Modern Products created a collection of miniatures sold under a variety of names and in several different boxes and packs. The numbering was haphazard, some models like the Wagon Train items had no numbers, and the quality was occaisionally variable but in their time they were highly successful and sold worldwide. Today all are now collectable and many can still be found in excellent condition.
The beginning - Esso Petrol Pump Series
In 1956, Morris & Stone (Morestone) launched a range of miniatures packed in boxes representing Esso Petrol Pumps. Model details were printed on one side with a line drawing.
There were 20 models in the Series by 1959 at which time it was discontinued to make way for the launch of Budgie Toys. Many of the Esso models were re-issued as Budgie Miniatures.
Full details and images of all the Esso models can be found on the Esso Petrol Pump Series pages
Budgie Blister Packs
The first blister packs appeared as early as 1960 when some of the 'Esso' Petrol Pump models were re-issued. On the yellow cards, 'Budgie Toys' was the banner name with the model title in a white panel and the number (continuing the Esso numbering) in a side circle. An empty circle was left for the price. Each model had a 'Bubble' contoured to its shape so in effect every model had a 'custom-made' pack.
In 1963 blue cards replaced the yellow ones and 'Toys' was dropped from the Budgie banner. Many new models were added to the range, later ones only in blister-packs. A standardised card and 'bubble' were introduced and model details were added on a printed strip which included the number. Either 'Budgie Division of S.Guiterman & Son' or later 'Budgie Models Ltd' were given as manufacturer. Blue blister-packs continued until 1970.
In America, Budgie miniatures were also distributed by World Toy House of Minnasota in various styles of blue and red packs. These were standardised and carried no model names on the front although one style of pack carried the model number beneath the blister. A selection of other models was printed on the reverse.
Yellow Blister Packs - Budgie Toys
Packs were yellow & black, had the model name in black printed on the card, and carried drawings of other models in the range on the reverse.
The plastic 'bubble' was contour shaped for each individual model.
Early packs listed 'Morris & Stone (London) Ltd' as manufacturers, later this changed to 'Budgie Division of S.Guiterman & Co Ltd'.
Models in yellow packs : 5, 7, 8, 11-16, 18-20a, 21a, 22a, 23-26, 50-55 (Road Tanker Series)
Blue Blister Packs - Budgie Models
'Toys' was dropped from the Budgie name and the packs had a new colour of blue & red. A list of other models was printed on the reverse.
The contoured 'bubbles' continued but softer plastic was often used. Later a standard rectangular 'bubble' was introduced with a folded plastic strip inside to hold the model in place.
Manufacturer's name was 'Budgie Division of S.Guiterman Co Ltd' or 'Budgie Models Ltd'.
Models in blue packs : 5, 7-8, 11-12, 14-15, 18-19, 20b, 21a, 21b, 22a, 22b, 23-27, 50-61
Toy House Blister Packs
Sold in the US and distributed by 'World Toy House' of Minnesota
Various designs in blue, red and white
'39¢' or '49¢' packs without model names
Further models listed and/or illustrated on the reverse.
The 'bubbles' were rectangular with inner inserts.
Models : 5, 8, 14, 19, 20b, 21b, 56-61
Mobile Vehicle Series
Having re-issued several models from the Esso Petrol Pump Series in blister packs, Budgie re-introduced boxes again in 1961. Why the Budgie name was not used is unknown but the first boxes used the name 'Mobile Vehicle Series'.
Coloured orange-yellow with red & white edging, the boxes were slightly smaller than the Esso ones but the line drawing pictures continued with new ones being added as the series increased.
The model numbers also stayed the same and were shown on picture faces and on the end flaps where model details were shown in blue panels.
Modern Vehicle Series
In addition to the 'Mobile' brand, Budgie sold miniatures in 'Modern' boxes. The origin of the name is not known but it did not indicate that the model inside was made by Modern Products Ltd. (although several were).
Modern boxes continued to include line drawings of each model with details and numbers on picture faces and end flaps.
There were two types of Modern boxes, the second type replacing the first.
Type 1 - 'Modern' in small font, black panel on ends, yellow picture face with drawing and name.
Type 2 - 'Modern' in large font, white panel on ends, picture face with drawing, red strip for model name