Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Right Toys dolls house - or two?

When an Australian-made dolls house is listed on Australian ebay or gumtree several times from the same area, it's a fair guess that it was made in that area. This type of dolls house on wheels has appeared many times in Victoria:
When I was looking through the Australasian Sportsgoods and Toy Retailer at the beginning of last year, I was pleased to find this dolls house in a photo of a toy fair stand in 1975:

The caption says:
"RIGHT TOYS: Another new manufacturer, also featuring wooden toys, run by partners Peter Fortune and Gary Mellish. The range embraces some 21 items including doll's house on castors, table and chair set, walker wagons, blackboards, rope ladders, swings, go-kart, etc. Holding a truck is sales rep. Beverley Hall."
Right Toy Manf. Pty. Ltd. also had a display at the 1976 toy fair, sharing a stand with Sun Dip soft toys. The caption indicates that Right Toys displayed a '2-storey, 4 room unpainted dolls house on castors' - it is just visible at the front left, under a very large Pink Panther soft toy!
These entries don't give an address for Right Toys, but I have been able to find both partners in the Australian electoral rolls, and their addresses indicate that these dolls houses were indeed made in Victoria. In 1977 and 1980, Gary Mellish lived in Bentleigh, a south-eastern suburb of Melbourne; he was self-employed. Peter Fortune lived in Dandenong, a bit further out than Bentleigh, in 1977, when his occupation is given as 'woodworker'. In 1980, his address was in Seaford, a beachfront suburb further south again. Peter Fortune's occupation in 1980 was stated as 'foreman' - was Right Toys still in operation, and if so, were Gary Mellish and Peter Fortune still partners in it? I don't know.

For some years, I had watched these dolls houses come up, and I was very pleased to be able to buy one earlier this year. I only have a couple of photos of it, which I took when I was in Bathurst in May:
If you've been following my blog for a while, you probably know that I love dolls houses with original wallpaper, so I was delighted to find this Right Toys house decorated with typical 1970s wallpapers! Why pink curtains, though? I suspect they are not from the same period as the wallpaper! I have not yet furnished this dolls house, so I haven't decided whether to keep the curtains or change them.

The layout, of two rooms upstairs and two downstairs, with the stairs on the left and fireplaces on the right, is the same as in two of the other Right Toys dolls houses I showed at the top of this post. One has only two rooms, but the same positioning of the stairs and fireplaces:
I have another dolls house on castors from Victoria, too. It also has four large window openings, although the bottom two have no bars, and the top two have sliding doors:

Left: front of dolls house, closed; right, inner front of dolls house.

The sliding doors, the balcony wall and the back wall of the dolls house are made of laminex on plywood. The main walls are made of chipwood. The curtains came with the house, and seem to date from the 1970s - there is a pair for the other downstairs window too, but they need new wire to hang on.

The front of this house opens from the other side - from the left side, rather than the right side as in the Right Toys dolls houses above. There are no stairs, and no fireplaces. (I haven't furnished this dolls house either yet, though I've had it longer than the one above. I have bought some pieces of furniture in hot pink and bright blue, to match the curtains, so I must try setting it up. It will need some flooring too, I think!)
This house does have a chimney, which is not only on the other side of the house - the left, rather than the right - but runs all the way up the side of the house, rather than sitting on the roof:

Is this also a Right Toys dolls house, despite the differences? I don't know.

I don't know, either, whether these other dolls houses on castors from Victoria were made by Right Toys or by another company:

This one in the three photos above, said by the seller to date from the 1970s, is made of pine wood, rather than chipboard, and has two opening fronts rather than a single large one. The windows are divided into 9, rather than 4, and the stairs and fireplaces are on opposite sides to the Right Toys dolls houses, with the chimney on the roof, but on the back left rather than the front right. (This dolls house has two fireplaces; I have also seen the same model with only one fireplace.)

This dolls house in the two photos below looks more recent, with a piano hinge instead of two smaller hinges. It does have one opening front, and the windows are divided into 4 panes - but there is a front door instead of a fourth window. Like my second dolls house, there are no stairs and no fireplaces. I can't see from the photos if there's a chimney; if there is, it's not on the front of the roof.
So, I definitely have one dolls house made by Right Toys, and the first three I showed here are also by Right Toys. For the moment, I can't say whether my second dolls house and the other two houses shown here are Right Toys variants, or similar models made by (an) other manufacturer(s). Hopefully, I will find more information in catalogues, toy trade journals, or even from the manufacturers themselves! Hopefully, too, I'll be able to show you my dolls houses furnished and inhabited before too long!

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