by David R. Gray continued
The Noma Toys "Superskyliner" was one of a series of wooden toys made in Owen Sound, Ontario, during and just after World War Two, when metal was not as easily obtained. The Superskyliner was probably modelled after the four-engined DC-4, a popular military & civilian plane of the day. The toys wings were made of masonite, while the engines and propellors were of painted tin. This was a fair sized toy, measuring 42 cm in length and having a wingspan of 53 cm.
RELIABLE TOY COMPANY
Scraps left over from items made for the Canadian Armed Forces were utilized by the Reliable Toy Company to make the first Canadian plastic toys in the mid-1940's. Reliable became the largest toy manufacturer in the British Empire, mainly due to their doll production, but aided in no small way by the manufacture of hundreds of varieties of small toys of all kinds. Included amongst Reliable's vast toy line were at least thirteen different aircraft, as well as other aviation related toys such as an Air Force Jeep and an Aircraft Carrier.
The Eaton's catalogue for 1945-46 includes a set consisting of a Boulton-Paul Defiant, P-40, Spitfire, B-29 transport and a B-26 bomber. Reliable also made a not-quite-accurate Hawker Hurricane.
By 1948, Reliable included a plastic helicopter in their toy catalogue. It was a simplified Sikorsky-type pull-toy with double three-bladed rotors. It is interesting to note that the RCAF only began their use of helicopters in Canada in 1947. This history is continuing today, with the recent Canadian Government announcement of the purchase of a new helicopter fleet to be used by the Coast Guard for search & rescue operations.
The Reliable "Plastic, Polythene, and Vinyl Catalogue" for 1958 illustrates several aircraft. The B-26 bomber was still available, while two six inch "Super Duper Jet Planes" based on "well-known jets" (apparantly the de Havilland Vampire and Avro CF-100 Canuck ... both which saw service with the RCAF) were prominently featured. Another new Reliable aircraft included in the 1958 catalogue is the "Delta Dart Plane", a 6.5 inch elastic sling-propelled delta winged craft "moulded after the latest supersonic aircraft design". A flying "Helicopter" with a 7.5 inch diameter rotor wheel also appears, with "fuselage - tail strut - wheels, etc... moulded in exacting detail in bright colours". The accompanying ad also stated that it "flies ("zooms") upward from a handle when a cord is pulled, then lands smoothly".
Later Reliable aircraft included the four-engined Vickers "Viscount", a 12.5 inch DC-8 Jetliner, and a large (22 inch) four-engined delta-winged "Jet Plane".
RUSSELL FARBER TOYS
A little known company, Russell Farber Toys, produced a somewhat crude rendition of an early helicopter. Although it resembles a sheet metal ice-cream cone with a rotor, it at least had some play value as the rotor revolves when the toy is pulled across the floor. The helicopter is 29 cm. long and comes in at least two colour variations (yellow with green trim and red with yellow trim).
The Viceroy Manufacturing Company commenced production of rubber toys in 1930. In conjunction with the Sun Rubber Company (SUNRUCO) in the U.S.A., they manufactured a line of rubber Walt Disney toys that included two 6 5/8 inch aircraft, a "Mickey Mouse Aeroplane" (No. 12019) and a "Donald Duck Aeroplane" (No. 12013). In the 1953 Viceroy catalogue, Donald pilots a yellow airplane with red trim, while the "Mickey Air Mail" planes came in bright green with yelow trim and red or blue with silver trim.
An unidentified manufacturer produced a "Transport Plane" which was advertised in the 1955 Simpson's catalogue. This palne was also highlighted at the Exhibition Commission in Ottawa, Ontario in 1954 as a toy manufactured in Canada. However, it may have been manufactured in the U.S.A., possibly by the Marx Company, and simply assembled in Canada. Simpson's advertised a twin-engined version in 1955 at a cost of 49 cents (Canadian).