A Brief History of Mersey Models

Starting production in the 1934, the Mersey Model Company of Liverpool, England, manufactured an interesting range of steam engines. The early models had badges with the address 34 Peters Lane, Liverpool 1 and later ones Cooper's Buildings, Church Street, Liverpool 1. These were in fact the addresses of the offices; the factory was on the other side of the river Mersey in Grosvenor Road, Wallasey.

One of the earliest known advertisments featuring a Mersey Models engine shows a Model 51 and was placed by Hamleys in the November 1934 issue of the Meccano Magazine.

Mersey Models advertisment

From the "Meccano Magazine" November 1934

The company went into voluntary liquidation in 1939. There is a persistent myth that Cooper’s Buildings were destroyed by bombing on May 6th 1941. This is not the case, the building only suffered slight damage and remained open throughout the war.

Mersey Models engines had a couple of distinctive features, one being their wooden bases and the other was the use of cotton packing on the piston, which was quite unusual in a relatively cheap steam toy.

The model numbers of some of the engines in the Mersey Models range had suffix letters indicating sub-variants, for example 52R or 53G. The suffix letters were:-

  •  R = Fitted with a reverser.
  •  G = Fitted with a reduction gear.
  • GR = Fitted with both reduction gear and reverser

Mersey Models advertisment

From the "Meccano Magazine" November 1937

Like Bowman, Mersey Models included a small range of machine tool accessories in their catalogue. These included a grindstone, circular saw, power press, drilling machine and a lathe. These accessories are very rare today.

Mersey Models advertisment

From the "Meccano Magazine" December 1937

Mersey Models also produced a steam launch, which was available in two colours, "Miss Mersey 1" with a white hull and "Miss Mersey 2" with a red hull. These were made in co-operation with “Star Yachts” of Birkenhead, the single cylinder steam plants were by Mersey and Star Yachts manufactured the wooden hulls. Star Yachts also sold a steam launch under their own name, the "Comet", which was powered by a Mersey Models steam plant.