Aifix Collectors Club
A Brief History of Airfix
In addition to the famous construction kits, over the 40 years of the original Airfix company several different ranges of toys were manufactured as well as household and clothing goods. Details of these ranges will gradually be added to the website.
The original Airfix company was founded around 1939 by a Hungarian Jew called Nicolas Kovesch. He later changed his surname to Kove. He had established other companies in Spain and Italy before coming to England to escape the persecution suffered by Jewish businessmen in other European countries.
He named his new company AIRFIX as he believed a company should appear at the front of an alphabetical trade directory and he had a particular fascination with words ending in "ix". Since he was intending to manufacture air-filled toys and mattresses, the name AIRFIX seemed appropriate. He has been credited with the invention of the Li-Lo air bed. During part of World War Two he was interned on the Isle of Man and when he returned to London he found raw materials in very short supply. Consequently, for the first few years he was always scrabbling around for materials to keep his factory busy.
He acquired the first injection moulding machine in this country which he used to make toys and combs and in the late 1940s was the biggest manufacturer of combs in the U.K. In 1949, he was commissioned by Harry Ferguson of Ferguson Tractors to make a 1:20 scale model of the new TE20 tractor for his salesman to use as a sales aid. Although it was moulded as a kit of parts, it was assembled in the factory before delivery to Fergusons. It would later be sold as a kit.
However, around 1952, Airfix's biggest customer Woolworth's approached Airfix with a request that they manufacture in the U.K. a range of ships-in-bottle kits that were selling well in America. Airfix decided to mould their own kit of the "Golden Hind" and in order to get the price down to Woolworth's price, it was put in a polythene bag with a colour header stapled to the top. Thus was born the famous "2 bob" kit. Sales went through the roof and by 1955 Airfix producing several ship and car kits. In that year, the first Airfix aeroplane kit was released, a somewhat inaccurate model of the famous Spitfire. From that point onwards there was no looking back and the kits would put all other Airfix products in the shade and make the name "Airfix" one of the most famous in the World. Today, the kit division is the only part of the old Airfix company that survives and under the guiding hand of its new owner, Hornby Hobbies Ltd, it is now producing new models at a rate not seen for 30 years and of a quality that can match that of the Japanese.
Airfix Vanity Tray
Size: 340 mms x 225 mms
Manufactured around mid-1970s - Pattern Number: 3983
Underside of Tray