With reference to the picture published in the October 2014 issue of The Journal, The N.C.B. company has been renamed Smiths Delivery Vehicles Ltd. and it is for this manufacturer that Meccano made this promotionnal model and not for a milk company.
Today, Smith is the world's largest company producing zero emission vehicles, the emissions are made somewhere else by the power stations. Their range includes vans, trucks, buses and special vehicles. They have developed a world wide network of agents and are ready for the developing market of electric commercial vehicles.
The item you show here Jacques was auctioned by Lacy Scott & Knight, in Bury St Edmonds on Saturday 16th August 2014.
I was in the auction room when this item was sold.
I stopped bidding at
More than 1000
The price may be worth it - who knows? What I am certain of is that I had reached my limit and had to stop.
It was in a glass cabinet and was never removed, almost certainly because the label on the box is in a very fragile state. There was nothing to be gained by trying to take a photograph.
Incredible, to pay such a lot of money for a poor, dirty piece of cardboard!
Rare it may be, but not something to proudly display ... better hide it in the back of a cupboard.
Well, it may benefit from some basic restoration.
Kind regards, Jan
I just received a very nice 490 Electric Dairy Van "Express Dairy", but was advised in the pdf listings to post here under the 30v listing, which also includes 491. In the past, I had the grey and blue NCB version, then earlier in the year I found a very nice Jobs Dairy Van. A few weeks later I came across the cream NCB version, which gladly joined my collection. Then very recently, I spotted a near mint Express Dairy van in cream, so here are a few photos of it, along with the others.
Best regards, Terry
Browsing through the MM's I encountered this interesting article in MM of July 1951 about The Battery Electric Vehicle, of which the Dinky Toys Electric Dairy Van No. 30v as equivalent was issued from 1949-1960.
Dinky Toys 30v Electric Dairy Van in MM July 1951.
The Dairy Van with "Express Dairy" on the front was intended for the home market and were in 1954 renumbered to Model Number 490.
Dinky Toys 490 Electric Dairy Van "Express Dairy" creme-red. By courtesy of QDT.
Dinky Toys 490 Electric Dairy Van "Express Dairy" grey-blue. By courtesy of QDT.
The Dairy Van with "N.C.B." on his front was intended for the export and were in 1954 renumbered to model number 491.
Dinky Toys 491 Electric Dairy Van "N.C.B." creme-red. By courtesy of QDT.
Dinky Toys 491 Electric Dairy Van "N.C.B." grey-blue. By courtesy of QDT.
Here are my 2 main export versions without box.
Dinky Toys 30v Electric Dairy Van "N.C.B." 2 main versions.
As also shown in TMT I add pictures of this model out of the various catalogues.
Dinky Toys 30v Electric Dairy Van "Express Dairy" in Meccano price list UK March 1951.
Dinky Toys 30v Electric Dairy Van "N.C.B." in Dutch catalogue september 1951.
Dinky Toys 30v Electric Dairy Van "N.C.B." in USA catalogue 1951.
Dinky Toys 30v Electric Dairy Van "N.C.B." in Universal Internatonal colour catalogue May 1952.
Dinky Toys 30v Electric Dairy Van "Express Dairy" in UK catalogue 1953, equal to USA and Dutch catalogue 1953.
Dinky Toys 30v Electric Dairy Van "Express Dairy" - without text on front - in UK and USA catalogue 1954.
Dinky Toys 30v Electric Dairy Van "N.C.B." in Dutch DT price list September 1954.
As you can see is the naming "Express Dairy" and "N.C.B." in the catalogues not always consistent and corresponding with the pictures of the model in the catalogue.
At the end a Dutch street vieuw in the 60's.
Milk factory on the Raiffeisenstraat in Enschede in the 60's with battery electric milk trucks.
Jan Oldenhuis, 29-10-2017.
Nice to see this fine documentation, Jan. I wonder what difference made Meccano decide to make the respective home-market versus export choices for this model. As a child I assisted a friend's father occasionally on such an electric driven milk float!
Browsing through my photo files I found the one below, representing the present state of my dairy vans. The grey 'Express Dairy' is a candidate for replacement and the grey with maroon 'Express Dairy' is still wanting. Remarkable that the 'Job's Dairy' came in a later plain NCB box only. Does this mean that the 'NCB', was longer in production than the 'Express Dairy', or that there was simply a residue of NCB boxes left over? It is known that the die gave problems during production of the Job's Dairies promotional. Kind regards, Jan
How many of us remember when our milk was delivered on a horse-drawn float?
I was no more than five years old when our outer suburban London milk arrived courtesy of United Dairies. Drawn by a horse called 'Bluebell', the classic orange with white lettering liveried float was almost identical to the MB7 Lesney model.
I don't remember the milkman but I do recollect the milkman's 'boy' due to his owning a penknife, with which, if asked, he would whittle a stick into a boat for the village pond.
This was before I had ever encountered a Dinky Toy.
Nice account, John. My memory of the electric van is from my birth place. Paradoxically, when we moved to another town, around 1960, our milkman had a horse-drawn float too, and so did the greengrocer! Kind regards, Jan
In 1960 I went to Grammar School and discovered that one of the boys in my class was the son of our milkman! After that I used to 'help' the milkman when he delivered in our locality. At that time many milk floats were, for taxation reasons I believe, three-wheelers (one at the front and two at the back) but there was enough room for two in the cab. My reward for this help was usually a bottle of chocolate milk.
This is a rare 30V darker grey body with maroon inner and hubs, plain black rubber tires of which a received a picture from Jose Heraud. He sent me this picture with 2 other pictures of his 30V vans with the following email:
"I also saw the Electric Diary van you contributed earlier. To add to the existing variations, there
is a darker grey body with maroon inner and hubs, plain black rubber tires that was probably
a test sample or a promotional commercial model, for an unknown client. There has been
several models sold in the last few years on eBay or auction houses(QDT, Vectis). I found mine
on eBay several years ago. A bit chipped but still a very rare model. I have a photo with two
other typical models to compare colors. The tampo transfer in front of the van is "Express Dairy"
in blue. I include some photos if you want to place it on the 30v/491 thread of the forum.
Some experts say this was a later model color scheme by Meccano using 'left-over' paint but it
has never appeared with an individual box. So, probably sold in packs of six, thus earlier issue?
Jose added also these 3 links that also shows this rare 30V variation:
Jan Oldenhuis 10-11-2017
Unfortunately Vectis has been off line for at least a couple of weeks.
Jacques, how did you get this information? I've just tried it and the links om my PC are working well. I can just come online on Vectis website. I noticed that the website has been completely redesigned recently. At the beginning of the change, all photos of past auctions could not be downloaded, but now can. And I also get to see the prices when I log in.
Jan Oldenhuis, 10-11-2017
No problems at all with the new Vectis site. Great job this improvement. Workes a lot faster! You simply have to get used to it.
Once in awhile, one gets a complete surprise as to something happening, or to possibly receive something special. The latter just happend to me this past week, when my good friend and Dinky Toys collector, Jose Heraud, surprised me with a little box that came delivered to our house. Upon opening it, I was shocked and most pleasantly surprised at what I found carefully wrapped: the very rare, dark grey and maroon Express Dairy Van! The very nice note accompanying it stated he was giving it to me to complete my little collection of these Dairy Vans, which I had worked on the past several years. Having already found the other standard colors, as well as a nice Job's Dairy version, this dark grey and maroon one was but a fond dream, and not likely to happen as I decided last February to stop being an active collector. But I am now the proud owner, and wanted to put together a quick post on this little truck.
First, let me say there is an almost total lack of information about this model, either in any of the recognized books, such as the Great Book of Dinky Toys or even Dr. Force's guide books. Dinky Toys and Modelled Miniatures makes a very brief mention of it, but no photos or description. Searching the web I only found a few references to it.....one on Talk Model Toys and here, on our own DTCA site, and those both referenced Jose's model. So we know very little about it, but I have surmised the following, based on what we do know and what I have seen to date:
1. the only versions I have seen of this dark grey and maroon milk float, are always the Express Dairy version, all have the 30v cast onto the bottom (when pictured), and none have individual boxes. In an earlier post, Jan mentioned that Meccano started using those numbers on the bases around mid-1952, which means it can't really be earlier than that. But, these apparently only came in trade boxes, so that also limits the date of manufacture. I don't remember exactly when Meccano started using individual boxes, but am guessing around 1953 or so....please correct me if that is not accurate. That pretty well limits the time line for this model to around late 1952 to sometime in 1953.
2. These models are quite scarce and very few have come to market, and obvioiusly are not well known enough to be included in the extant reference books. It is far easier to find the Job's Dairy version, and only around 1,100 of those were made, so I am guessing that maybe a few hundred of these were made...maybe as many as 500. And since all the ones seen so far have been just the Express Dairy version, and not the NCB, that prompts me to think that likely only one batch was made this way.
3. The other big question, then, is the color. I have included several photos of this little truck, some by itself, and some with its siblings. The grey color on my later Express Dairy and NCB are much, much lighter....an all together different shade of grey. So the question now is, was that shade of grey the same used on the early grey Express Dairy and NCB Vans, or was it a special color of grey used along with the maroon? I do not have any early 1950's Express Dairy of NCB to compare it to, but maybe some others do........................
4. The last question will likely have no answer: why? Was this done especially for some manufacturer or company, such as the Job's Dairy version? Very possible, and that would explain why the limited numbers and no catalog or other Meccano reference. Running out of the blue paint is possible, but not likely either, and if the grey really was a different shade, than that leads to a definite reason for doing it.
In any event, I am a very surprised and happy Dairy Van collector, and wanted to share with the group, and to also thank my dear friend Jose..............in any event, I have never seen a photo showing all six versions of the Dairy Van present, so herwith are some photos................
Congratulations Terry, with this very special gift by Jose. This is the way true collector friends help each other. And this is the place to share it with others. Kind regards, Jan
Thanks Jan..... am hoping to get some additional comments about this rare model, with minimal information out there.
Best regards, Terry
Sometimes you are lucky when looking for a particular model. I came across this 30v Electric Dairy Van “Express Dairy” in the scarce colour grey with maroon base and hubs for a very reasonable GBP 35 “Buy it now” price, without box. I did not believe my eyes. I examined the photos and could only conclude that the model must be original and not manipulated. I believe the paint is original, the rivet is original and intact, the inside of the paint ring is unpainted and the model shows normal signs of use all around as may be expected. So I bought it to complement my 2 NCB models as pictured below.
The seller describes the model as follows: "Dinky toy electric van in well used condition as seen. A rare version, seldom seen." The seller has a score of 2082 transactions, 100% positive feedback and the model can be returned within 14 days for a refund. That also gives me a certain extra confidence. So I decided to buy it. For a good assessment I show below the pictures of the ad from the seller I had to judge.
Because there is little documentation about the model I have gathered all information I could find related to the production of the model 30v.
My Dinky Toys 30v Electric Dairy Van “Express Dairy”. Grey body with maroon base and hubs.
Below I show some pictures of 30v, grey body with maroon base and hubs sold by different auction houses, including Vectis, LOT-ART, Collectoys and QDT. The first 30v from QDT below, already mentioned in my #12 contribution, is probably a one-of colour test example.
30v Electric Dairy Van “Express Dairy” in blue/grey? with maroon base and hubs, is probably a one-off colour test example, sold by QDT. Has number 30v in base. Photo by courtesy of QDT.
Express Dairy in grey body with maroon base and hubs sold by QDT. Has also number 30v in base.
30v Express Dairy auctioned by Vectis. Vectis auctioned 7 examples “Express Dairy” in grey body with maroon base and hubs. Photo by courtesy of Vectis.
30v Express Dairy auctioned by LOT-ART
30v Express Dairy auctioned by Collectoys with 30 v in base.
30v Express Dairy auctioned by Collectoys with 30v in base.
As seen above: It looks like all 30v Express Dairies have the same grey body and the same maroon base and hubs and as far as seen 30v in base, without box. There may be a slight difference in colour due to lighting. So indeed as Terry stated in # 16 under point 2: “And since all the ones seen so far have been just the Express Dairy version, and not the NCB, that prompts me to think that likely only one batch was made this way.” It must have been a small number of a limited edition.
When I compare the grey body of my 30v with maroon base and hubs with the regular grey body of my 30v with blue base and hubs, I can't hardly detect any colour difference. My new acquisition 30V Express Dairy may have a slightly darker shade of grey, but that is minimal.
My grey 30v with maroon base and hubs compared to my regular grey 30v with blue base and hubs.
The name N.C.B. in all bases of the model is confusing, because there is a 491 version with an “NCB” decal in the front, but also a 490 version with an "Express Dairy" decal in the front of the truck.
Bases of the 30v:
Throughout its production life it got 2 different bases: the first without model number 30v and the latter with model number 30v, but always called "N.C.B. Electric Van" in the base. N.C.B. is the abbreviation for Northern Coach Builders.
For the sake of completeness I show here below a 30v Express Dairy Van with a grey body and blue base and hubs without sales number 30v and with sales number 30v in the base, not yet shown in this topic.
Dinky Toys 30v Express Dairy Van grey body with blue base and hubs without number 30v in base
Dinky Toys 30v Express Dairy Van grey body with blue base and hubs with number 30v in base
NCB: Northern Coachbuilders Limited of Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Coachbuilder (Old bus photos)
(Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History)
1931 Formed by Rington’s
1938 Made bodywork for the Sunbeam: S7 Trolleybus
1946 Horace William Heyman joined Northern Coachbuilders Ltd. as Manager of their newly formed Electric Vehicle Department.
1949 Heyman became Managing Director when a separate Company, Smith’s Electric Vehicles Ltd. was formed
1973 Company removed from the register.
A brief history I found about the manufacturer “Smith Electric Vehicles” in Wikiwand and Wikipedia. It is not clear to me whether this company still exists.
Smith Electric Vehicles (also known as Smith's) is a manufacturer of electric trucks. The company, founded in 1920 in the north of England, moved its headquarters to Kansas City, Missouri in 2011. In February 2017, the company ceased operation due to lack of funding; however, its board was attempting to obtain financing for a reorganization.
As said the company was founded in 1920 as Northern Coachbuilders (NCB) in Newcastle upon Tyne. After making a name as a producer of electric trams and trolleybuses, it moved into electric delivery vehicles. The company's electric vehicle and bus production were separated in 1949, with buses continuing to carry the Northern Coachbuilders brand. All NCB electric vehicles were manufactured by Smith Electric Vehicles, which was based in Gateshead. Overall ownership of the company remained unchanged; the electric-vehicle directors were Douglas Smith, Sr., Douglas Smith, Jr., and H. W. Heyman. The Smith family founded the business, and ran it until 2004. In North East England, the family owns Ringtons Tea.
Smith Electric Vehicles' business in the 1950s and 60s focused on the milk float, a vehicle designed for the doorstep delivery of milk and other dairy products. As dairies phased out horse-and-cart delivery, they opted for near-silent electric vehicles for early-morning deliveries instead of noisier internal-combustion vans and trucks.
Smith launched the Smith Cabac, the first delivery float with a rear-entry cab (so the milkman could exit the vehicle on either side), during the mid-1960s. The company produced four Cabac series: the 65, 75, Jubilee 77 and 85. Smith acquired competitor Wales & Edwards, which manufactured three-wheeled milk floats, in 1989.
Over the past 10 years Smith has focused on two vehicle platforms the Smith Newton, a medium-duty truck, and the Smith Edison, a light-duty cargo van. The Newton platform can be configured for multiple applications. We are headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.
1955 Brochure Smith’s N.C.B. Electric. Note the Ringtons Tea brand name on the electric delivery van.
Ringtons is a tea and coffee manufacturing business based in Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England. It was founded in 1907 by Samuel Smith and delivered tea across the nation through a door to door service which still continues today. Although best known for tea, Ringtons soon sold other groceries and products, including coffee, biscuits and sweets.
(Smith's) Ringtons door to door tea delivery with an Smith's NBC electric van. Photo photomemoriesarchive.org.uk/
Ringtons Tea brand logo owned by the Smith's family since 1907
Introduction artcle in Meccano Magazine of July 1951 about Dinky Toys 30V Electric Dairy Van of the Express Dairy Co. Ltd, manufactured by Smith’s Electric Vehicles Ltd. This example has a closed rear side with open window and open doors. Prototype of Dinky Toys 30v?
Coop Electric milk trucks produced by Smith’s Electric Vehicles Ltd. These examples has an open rear side and closed doors. Prototype of Dinky Toys 30v?
1950’s - Thompsons Dairies Beverley. Note the open rear side and closed doors. Photo Don Reid.
My 30v with a closed rear side with window opening and closed doors.
Meccano Liverpool opt for the closed rear side of the DT 30v. I think that closed concept perhaps was necessary for sufficient reinforcement of the rear side of the roof of the model, while an open rear side probably would be to weak?
First Introduction 30v in Meccano Magazine April 1951. Note the wording “Express Dairy” on the front of the van, intended for the UK home market.
Home market and export:
In the renumbering period 30v got in April 1954 sales number 490 Electric Dairy Van “Express” for the UK home market. The 30v for export got sales number 491 Electric Dairy Van “N.C.B.”, but the wrong name ”Express Dairy” instead of “NCB” on several images of the model in various catalogues are confusing and not consistent.
The most contradictory example is the name "Express Dairy" on the front of the 491 picture in the 1959 USA catalogue, while the text reads: Electric Dairy Van N.C.B., as pictured below.
Dinky Toys 491 with wrong name “Express Dairy” instead of “NCB” on the front of model 491 in USA catalogue 1959.
Entrance Express Dairy Fournierstreet 33-35 East London 1948. (Photo layersoflondon.org.)
The company was founded by George Barham in 1864 as the 'Express County Milk Supply Company, so named as they only used express trains to get their milk to London. The major creamery and milk bottling plant was located just south of South Acton railway station on the North London Line. This gave easy and equal access for milk trains from both the Great Western Railway and the Southern Railway.
Wrong title and production timeline DT 30v/490/491 in PDF library:
Although this is a 30v/491 NCB topic, the topic NCB and Express Dairy Van is a bit mixed up in this topic. The reference in the PDF library to post 490 and 491 in the 30v topic might be a little confusing. I think the best way is to group the topic 30v and 490 Electric Dairy Van “Express Dairy” and 30v and 491 Electric Dairy Van “NCB” into one topic to avoid misunderstandings.
I think the PDF library production time line of these 30v/490 topic (1949-60) and 30v/491 topic (1949-60) are not correct. The first introduction of model 30v is in UK Meccano Magazine of April 1951 and the first mention in the Meccano Toys of Quality price list is March 1951. After that appeared in MM of July 1951 an introduction article about the manufacturer “Smith’s Electric Vehicles Ltd” with pictures of the 30v prototype (see my #7 contribution), all with the “Express Dairy” name on the front. 30v appeared for the first time in the 1951 USA and Dutch catalogue with the “NBC” name on the front. 490 and 491 appeared for the last time in Meccano Toys of Quality price list of 1960. So the timeline of 30v/490/491 has to be changed in 1951-1960, a difference of 2 years.
In this case it is also necessary to know that the 30v NCB assembly drawing is dated 13-4-50 and the 30v Express Dairy assembly drawing is dated 12-7-50, so it can never be 1949!
Jan Oldenhuis 30 April 2022.