Morestone Small Fire Engine & Escape Ladder
Manufactured 1950-51 Issued c.1980 Length 67mm (excluding ladder)
Uncertainty surrounds the small Fire Engine created by Morestone in 1950 and manufactured by Modern Products at the foundry next door to the offices of Morris & Stone. Production appears to have proceeded successfully but sometime in 1950-51 a fire destroyed most of the models in stock prior to launch. This put Morestone in a dilemma because in 1951 restrictions arising from the Korean War were imposed on the supply of zinc needed for diecast manufacturing. Replacing the damaged models was therefore impossible and production of the Small Fire Engine was never resumed.
Despite its unhappy start, some undamaged models of the Small Fire Engine did survive in the store-rooms of Modern Products and were eventually found and issued in 1980 not long before Modern Products Ltd was sold to new owners.
The design was similar to that used for the larger 1948 Fire Engine and was based on an old-style open vehicle with wide running-boards. Changes included a flat base and a non-extending ladder. The body was a single casting onto which the base was fixed with four little rivets. Four extensions were included on the base to secure the solid metal wheels.
The metal ladder (which measured 72mm) was an open-runged casting onto which two spoked wheels were fixed using extensions on each side of the bottom rung. It sat firmly on top of the Fire Engine rather better than the extending ladder on the larger model.
Being a Fire Engine, the model was painted bright red (in a semi-matt finish) with silver trim on the front radiator grille, bumper and headlights, the hose on the top and the two side contol boxes. The base and wheels were unpainted and carried no identification. The ladder on top was painted yellow.
It is almost certain that the small Fire Engine would have been issued in its own box probably carrying the 'Modern Products' name but following the fire few if any boxes survived. If they exist, they are now extremely rare.
The Small Fire Engine model is a rarity and mint models including the ladder are very rare but they do turn up from time to time. However, because there is no id. few people except collectors of Morestone toys recognise them as part of the range.
Morestone Small Fire Engine & Ladder
RED body, silver trim, YELLOW single-length metal ladder
UNPAINTED base, UNPAINTED metal wheels
No known box
Plain unpainted base and short yellow ladder