Sudbury Hall NT

Sudbury Hall NT

Frank Hornby’s 150th Birthday!

Today, 15th May 2013, is British toy maker, Frank Hornby’s, 150th birthday! To celebrate, I thought I would tell you a little bit about his life and the fabulous toys that he created.











Frank Hornby was born inLiverpoolin 1863. He married his wife, Clara, in 1887 and they had two sons, Roland and Douglas, and a daughter, Patricia. Despite having no training as an engineer or a craftsman, Hornby started making handmade toys in1899 to amuse his children.

He cut out perforated metal strips to construct bridges and buildings, and these pieces could be dismantled and the parts used to make a variety of different models. Hornby saw a future for this versatile toy and set to work producing it for the mass market.

The toy was patented in 1901 as ‘Mechanics Made Easy’. By 1907 he had registered the name Meccano and it went on to take the toy world by storm. The kits were made inLiverpooland exported all over the world.

After the First World War, Hornby began making clockwork trains. The first Hornby railway engines were sold in 1920 as construction kits. By 1925 all Hornby trains and accessories were sold ready assembled.

 In 1934 Hornby began selling Dinky toys, robust metal vehicles. When the toys were originally marketed in 1931 as ‘modelled miniatures’, they were intended to be line-side effects for the model railways, but quickly became popular in their own right.

 Frank Hornby’s toys were phenomenally successful. He was a visionary in toy development and production, producing three of the most popular lines of toys in the twentieth century.  During the 1920s and 1930s, Meccano Ltd was the biggest toy manufacturer inBritain.

Hornby was a millionaire and was elected Conservative MP for Everton in1931. He died in1936, two years before his company began selling Hornby Dublo modal railways.

His 150th birthday has been commemorated with a Google doodle featuring his famous toys.


(Information sourced from: &


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