My first featured item for my first blog, is a MOBO Spring Horse. Mobo toys have nostalgic significance for me personally, as a child i had a Broncho version, which i still own. And i have been a passionate collector of Mobos both big and small for along time. As with alot of vintage toys they exhibit a certain charm that is lost in today’s disposable society. When I look at Mobos i don’t see child’s toy, i see an example of carefully thought -out robust design. I especially love the colours, i find they marry exceptionally well with Victorian furniture, making fantastic display items, to me they are in themselves works of art. In the market place they are currently very collectable, whenever i find a good example to sell, i always get requests for more. This NIGHT RIDER SPRING HORSE is in very good condition, and a fine example, some lucky buyer will be very happy with this purchase.
Mobo toys were produced in Eirth, Kent , England from between 1947-1972 .Here is an excellent site that details the history of these toys, including some more images.
A brief run down of the models and chronology from that site is as followed…
The Broncho was the first Mobo horse , produced in 1947 ,and probably the best known for its pedal -propelling action. Many versions were made from those initial pressings, including the SPRING HORSE (PRAIRIE KING), NIGHT RIDER, (featured above),PRAIRIE PRANCER, RANGE RIDER two different types produced, ROCKING HORSE, & BRONCHO MERRY GO ROUND.
1948 saw the first small remote control walking toy the “TOY-TOISE”, followed in the same series was the SPANIEL first sold as PUPPY, there was also a CANOE with the same mechanism.
In 1949 the “WALKING SNAIL” was introduced at the new york toy fair, along with “THE PONY”. The PONY pressings went on to be used for the PONY ROCKER, PIONEER WAGON,PONY EXPRESS, PONY KART, PONY BUGGY, SURREY TROTTER and TODDLE PONY.
Other toys produced included Prams, Bicycles, Desks, Wheelbarrows, Rockers, Swings, Scooters and from 1956 Pedal Cars.
Readers might be surprised to learnt that MOBO toys have quite a significant Australian connection. In fact, Australian design history has the Mobo to thank in some respects. Some of our most recognisable and iconic products today stem from this metal horse. It was on the Mobo factory floor as a 15 year old boy that Harry Sebel ‘s design career was born, where he learnt about all the” things that should be done better.” In a recent interview Harry is quoted as saying about design;
“ You need to know how things are made, why they work and why they don’t work. You’ve got to have a very critical mind”.
Or course the rest as they say, is history. In 1951, Harry came out to Australia and started his own company, which in the 1960’s branched into stack-able furniture. Today Sebel has been credited with bringing good design to the masses, not an easy task. Very few people in Australia would not have not sat in a chair designed by Harry Sebel, and who doesn’t remember the plastic chairs from school? Sebel’s Integra chair is instantly recognisable, it even has a design feature that allows you to slot the chairs together into rows, one arm is ever so slightly wider than the other, very clever indeed. Yes, those plastic chairs we all know so well are a Mobo “relative” or sorts. And as with Mobo toys, good design according to Harry is about “something that works” .
This item is currently listed on my Ebay site for auction. It ends 19-Oct-08 20:01:46 AEST