Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jackpot! Walther & Stevenson 1933

I buy vintage toy catalogues and store catalogues and so on in the hope that there will be dolls houses in them. Sometimes, as you know from previous posts, I'm rather disappointed. Not with this one, though!

This fragile catalogue is from 1933, from a Sydney toy store called Walther & Stevenson. I also have their 1956/57 catalogue - I'm not sure if I've shown that here yet. The back cover is promising:

And the contents don't disappoint at all!

Here on page 128 are pictures of 3 Australian-made dolls houses, of the 7 which were available:

(There are a couple of pages of Hobbies fretwork products in the catalogue, including plans for a dolls house (not pictured) and furniture, so I think that's probably what Dads could use to build their own dolls house.)

Here are some close-ups:

UPDATE: Isobel Hockey contacted me to let me know that the No 2 Doll's House here is aLines/Triang DH2 c1927 - she has one herself. So this house would have been imported from Britain. I wonder if dolls houses Nos 50, 52 and 53 were also either by Lines, or imported? The descriptions don't match what I know of Lines/Triang houses with those numbers, but then I didn't know about this No 2 house. Thanks, Isobel!

I haven't seen houses in any of these designs, but I'd love to find G 91 and G 94. The cottage in particular is such a quintessentially Australian design, I love it!

There are also pages of dolls house furniture, some of which seems to be made up and some in kits to make at home. These are the 'tab and slot' type of construction, I think, called by a trademark Loktyte ('lock tight').

Among the toy tea sets, I was delighted to see a tomato tea-set:

These three pieces of the tomato tea set came with a homemade dolls house from Sydney (which I haven't shown yet since I bought it, but did post about when it was first sold on ebay):

They are made in Japan - you can just see the words stamped into the side of the sugar bowl (at the bottom).

There are also Australian-made wooden model buildings for use with Britain's diecast lead model farm figures:

I think these are pretty rare - I've only seen some listed on ebay once (I did bid, but didn't win them). There are some in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, which also has a bit more information: they were first available in the Walther & Stevenson catalogue in 1931, and were still made during WWII. The designs must have varied slightly over the years, as the Powerhouse toy farm house doesn't quite match these.

Here are some close-ups:

I love the names - the proprietor of the general store is called Will Weywell:

and the pub is run by Ilava Notha:

There are more scans on flickr, where I will eventually put scans of the whole catalogue. I have, of course, started with the dolls houses and model buildings!


  1. What a wonderful catalogue Rebecca!!! I am very partial to miniatures from the 1930s and to old catalogues to see these images, is very nice indeed.....thank you. I particularly like the G91 Aus Dolls Cottage!!! If you ever find one of these...would love to see an image. Celia

  2. What a wonderful find! I especially like the 91 as well - 1:12 scale do you think?

  3. Hi Celia, yes, I was thrilled! I will scan more, but a lot of the other toys are well known Britain's, Hornby, Meccano etc. I'd love to find one of these dolls houses - maybe someone will recognise their house in this drawing!

  4. Hi Christine, thanks for visiting! Yes, I think from the measurements given it's probably 1/12th, though they could perhaps be 1/10th, they're nice and big with high ceilings, I'd say!

  5. Keep your eyes peeled and I'm sure you'll find a dolls house made to one of these designs. What a lovely find, and always so interesting.

  6. What a great find Rebecca! The G91 cottage is especially appealing!

  7. What great infomation! I hope they all find their way to you.

  8. the g91 is aussie bungalow style and the g94 is typical of the inner city terraces... lovely find. wouldn't it be nice to stumble across one of these!

  9. Very cool! I like the hand-drawn illustrations and the color artwork on the cover.

  10. Thank you all for your comments, DollMum and Rick and CM and Christine and Troy and DG! Sorry I've been so slow with responding - the weeks just seem to go. I hope all these houses find their way to me too - and I'd love some more of these catalogues, too! :-)

  11. Awww - how lovely! I love to browse through old catalogues :) Thanks for showing it and also a christmas-hug from germany!!

    Yours, Nicola

  12. Lynne Lumsden GreenDecember 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Merry Christmas, Rebecca.