Morestone (Morris & Stone)

'Esso' Petrol Pump Series

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The 1950's was a golden age for diecast toy makers. With the end of the Korean War during which supplies of zinc had been restricted, toy makers were again able to exploit the growing demand. Lesney started the famous Matchbox models in 1953, Benbros followed with the TV Series in 1954, and in 1956 Morris & Stone launched the 'Esso' Petrol Pump Series. 

 

Rodney Smith, one of the two founders of Lesney (his name provided the '-ney' of Lesney) owned his own foundry in Clapham, London, and after leaving Matchbox joined with Sam Morris to manufacture Morestone Series toys and develop the 'Esso' range of miniatures. Several models were also made by Modern Products Ltd. whose foundry was next door to Morris & Stone.

 

The first ten went on sale in September 1956 packed in boxes representing 'Esso' petrol pumps. They were an immediate success and within a year the Series had grown to twenty models, helped no doubt by special offers of a free 'Esso' Garage and later a half-price Foden Petrol Tanker.

 

But surprisingly this success was not expolited despite the often excellent quality of the toys and the series never got any further additions.

 

In 1959 Sam Morris launched the Budgie range of large and OO/HO scale toys and at the same time transferred the 'Esso' Series models to Budgie Miniatures where they were sold in 'Budgie' blister-packs or 'Mobile' and 'Modern' boxes.

Morestone (Morris & Stone) Esso Petrol Pump Box
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Box
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump box (overstamped)
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Box

The boxes of the 'Esso' Petrol Pump Series were printed to look like Esso Petrol Pumps when the top flap, which had a long tuck-in, was pulled part-out.

 

Model details were printed on one side of the box and included a line-drawing illustration. The manufacturer was listed as Morris & Stone (London) Ltd.

 

On early boxes, the model name and number was in small print and quite hard to read so before long larger numbers were added.

 

Finally, all boxes were printed with both model number and name in large font.

On the base flap of the first boxes there was an offer of a free cardboard 'Esso' Garage if 10 box numbers were collected and sent in. The numbers were printed on an inner base flap. There was also a Garage Coupon included in each box giving more details.

 

The Garage was on the same scale as the Petrol Pump boxes so it was much larger than the models.

 

When this offer was ending, Morestone overprinted the base flaps (in blue or red ink) stating that the offer would close on 31st March 1957.

 

After this, a new offer was started giving a half-price discount on the price of a large-scale Morestone Series Foden No.1 'Esso' Petrol Tanker which was more in keeping with the scale of the Garage.

 

For this, 15 Tanker Coupons, one of which was included in each box, were needed plus 3/6d postage.

 

The final type of box carried the model number on the base flap and included a Tanker Coupon.

Morestone Esso Garage Coupon
Morestone Esso Tanker Coupon
 
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.1 AA Motorcycle Patrol
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.2 RAC Motorcycle Patrol
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.3 AA Land Rover
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.4 AA Bedford Service Van
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.5 Mobile Police Car
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.6 Cooper-Bristol Racing Car
 
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.7 Mercedes-Benz Racing car
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.8 Volkswagen Saloon Car
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.9 Horse Box
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.10 GPO Repair Van
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.12 Royal Mail Van
 
Morestone Petrol Pump Series No.12 Volkswagen Micro Bus
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.13 Austin Taxi
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.14 Packard Convertible
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.15 Austin Countryman
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.16 Austin-Healey
 
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.17 Ford Thames 5cwt Van
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series Foden Dumper Lorry
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.19 Rover 105
Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series No.20 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible

For complete guide to Budgie Miniatures issued after the Esso Series ended click the link button 

Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series Box No.17 Ford Thames Van

Nicholas Martin Diecast

Morestone, Budgie, Benbros Vintage Toys

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Abbreviations used on Nicholas Martin Diecast

   

  • bpw  - black plastic wheels

  • pmw - painted metal wheels

  • pw    - plastic wheels

  • spw  - silver plastic wheels

  • um    - unpainted metal

  • umw - unpainted metal wheels

  • id.     - maker's identification

 

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