Collection of toy farm figures

Made 1921-1961

The English firm of W. Britain, became the world’s leading toy model manufacturer and over a period of 60 years produced several thousand different sets of cavalry, infantry and militia from countries around the world. However, it was the British toy buying public’s rejection of war-like military toys during the inter-war period which provided Britains with the opportunity to introduce their model farm animals and figures introduced in 1921. The farm reflected the social history of agricultural ...


The lead farm animals are part of Britain's Model Home Farm series and include 21 sheep, six horses, one of which is wearing a horse rug, five cows, four foals, four dogs, two Exmoor rams, fowls and chicks, a turkey, a rabbit, a pig and piglets and a horse and milk float. The farm figures include a farmer driving his horsedrawn gig, a farmer's wife, farmer's son, a village girl, a man pushing a wheelbarrow, and a carter walking beside a horsedrawn tumbrel cart. The farm accessories include 32 sections of fencing, three sheaves of wheat, two dog kennels, two "New Model" trees, a water tank, a trough, a dove cote, a step ladder and a fold-up garden table and. The set also includes items from Britain's Miniature Garden including coloured vases, various flowers, tubs and a lawn mower.

The collection of farm animals and accessories also has six timber farm buildings comprising a farm house with detachable roof, an outside toilet with a nail on the door and sheets of paper, laundry with copper and tubs, a stable with a hinged roof with a ladder up to a loft for feed, a milking shed for two cows, and an enclosed fowl pen with hen house.


The farm toys made by W. Britain are of lead and manufactured in a technique called hollow casting introduced in 1893. This enabled the firm to compete in the lead toy market, which had previously been dominated by Germany. The technique involved pouring a molten mixture of lead, tin and antimony into an engraved mould. The lead was then swilled around inside the mould by the hand caster which stuck to the sides of the mould. As the antimony cooled, it expanded and developed the fine details in the casting. The excess metal was quickly poured back into the melting pot, leaving the shell of the figure inside the mould. The air hole in the top remained and was the route by which the excess was discarded. The secret of success relied on the temperature of the metal coupled with the speed of the process. The hollow-cast method enabled up to four times as many figures to be made from the same amount of lead previously required for one solid figure and therefore reduced the cost and increased sales.


Gift of May Eyres, 1983
17 June, 1983

Cite this Object

Collection of toy farm figures 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Collection of toy farm figures |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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