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Morris & Stone, Morestone, Budgie "Esso Petrol Pump Series"

The full Morestone "Esso" series and display stand
photograph courtesy of Keith Cholmondley.

In the 1940's Morris and Stone were a small Stoke Newington, London based wholesale toy company much like the well known Moko company, They were distributors for many small toy manufacturers that could make toys but did not have the capacity to handle the marketing side of the business, Later the Company name was changed to the more familiar "Morestone" and in the mid 1950's they introduced a range called the "Esso Petrol Pump" series to compete with the Lesney 1-75 range,

This was in partnership with Lesney founder Rodney Smith who had left Lesney and together they set up a factory in Hackney to produce the new range of toys. They also sold a small range of Dinky size vehicles and some Noddy items but we will be concentrating on the small scale miniatures or "Esso Series",

The company were also closely involved with Modern Products who supplied castings for them, In 1961 Morestone were taken over by S. Guiterman & Co and the name of the Company was changed again and they became "Budgie Toys" and continued to produce the same range of toys, Guiterman went bust in 1966 and shortly afterwards a fire destroyed most of the dies for making the toys. Modern Products continued to produce their own toys under their own name and eventually they bought the Budgie trademark and continued to sell Budgie toys right up until the late 60's when Mattel's new range of Hot Wheels cars came out with their high speed wheels and axles which killed Budgie's toy sales virtually overnight so that was pretty much the end of the their toy range.

Some pieces such as the larger Taxi, Bus, and Rolls Royce were adapted to be sold as tourist souvenirs and marketed by Seerol. Some of the larger pieces were put back into a limited production in the 80's but except for a few road rollers no miniatures were made after 1969.

The models produced were very similar to Lesneys 1-75 series, The early pieces had grey metal wheels which were later changed to grey and black plastic wheels which were on steel axles with crimped ends to begin with and rounded ends on the later pieces,
Silver trim was at first hand applied and later replaced by mask sprayed trim which was reduced over the years until on the final issues the silver trim was omitted completely. The only real difference between Lesney's miniatures and Morestone's was that Morestone did not enhance their Esso miniatures range of models with decals so models which needed lettering on them had it cast into the model and then the lettering was highlighted with paint.
This guide covers just the Esso series, The full Budgie range will be attempted at a later date.

The boxes had an extra long tongue to the
endflap which could be pulled halfway out
to make the box into a petrol pump.

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On the side of the box was the model number and a line drawing of the model it contained.

The boxes contained a leaflet which informed the purchaser that by collecting 15 of the leaflets
they could be redeemed for a (Dinky size) Esso petrol tanker at half price. Later leaflets offered
the purchaser an Esso garage in exchange for 10 Esso series box endflaps.

I believe the Morestone State Landau was made as a
souvenir of the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

The Models

No 1-4 - No 5-8 - No 9-12 - No 13-16 - No 17-20

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