Hilary Page Toys
The toy industry has always been a hot bed of plagiarism. Companies copy others, inspired by either inspirational design ideas or commercial success. Page was more of an innovator than a copier, and although may have been inspired by things that came before, re-invented play patterns that have really stood the test of the time.
He patented products extensively in the UK and other markets in which he had distribution, but failed to protect his ideas in all countries. The commercial success of Kiddicraft meant that many others capitalised on Page's ideas and innovation. Page's passion was in the creation of the idea and he often moved onto the 'next big thing' before making a commercial success of what had gone before.
Here we list some of those who copied Page, to a greater or lesser extent.
Lego deserve a special mention, were it not for Page then they would not be one of the three biggest toy companies in the world. They themselves continued to improve what they initially copied and created one of the greatest commercial successes of all time. Page however deserves some acknowledgement for his part in this global phenomenon.
My thanks to Warwick Henderson of New Zealand and his excellent book - 'The fascinating History of Toys & Games Around the World'.
Whilst I have had this copy of Page's Interlocking Buildinng Cube in the collection for some time, I wasn't able to identify it until I read Warwick's excellent book. After contacting him he was able to provide the following history.
"Protex was the brand name of Custom Moulders NZ Ltd, which started making plastic toys in 1946. There is a tie-up with Plastic Moulders NZ Ltd who started in 1944 and I have many early plastic toys with the Protex soldier trademark on the box that says made by either company. They were both taken over by our big plastics company PDL eventually. Most dies and moulds were hired from overseas to produce goods in New Zealand and that was most likely in the case of the blocks and other plastic toys they made here that originated from Canada, America or England. All the early variegated blocks are impressed with ‘reg app no 5676’, later blocks made here from acetate plastic have no marks at all,"
My personal opinion is that Custom Moulders NZ Ltd created new moulds to manufacture the cubes. Protex cubes have a unique 'hollowed out' stud that is unique to this brand, so it is unlikely that they borrowed or licenced the moulds from another manufacturer or country.<<< Back to list