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Other Milbro items

                                      * This section most recently updated in December 2016*

 

Other items catalogued by Milbro

The firm's catalogues show quite a wide array of buildings, accessories, and items to go with track. The coverage shifted a little over time, some items disappearing and others being added. The earlier buildings were eventually replaced by a simple later range, some of which seem to appear fairly often in auctions, on Ebay, and on traders' tables. 

I do not know how much of what was offered by Milbro was produced by them, as against being supplied to them from other firms and then sold by Mills to enthusiasts. Anything to do with or incorporating track seems likely to have been produced within their own factory, so the buffer stops (for example) would almost certainly have been a product of their own.

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Illustration O1  Milbro wooden buffer stops. These are sprung buffers comparable with the tinplate ones offered by other manufacturers. The tubes are of metal, but the base, beams, etc. are of wood.

Wooden buildings do seem to have been produced directly by Mills, and the firm also sold suitable wood for other people to use from quite early on (and I have seen a very early advertisement referring to the firm supplying impressed/scribed wood). I cannot say for certain, however, whether the company also drew at all on other manufacturers in this product area before 1939, although I think there is some information about another firm supplying Mills with buildings later on (I hope to add more comment on this when time permits). As far as I can tell, many Milbro buildings from the series sold during the later 1930s do not carry the company name. The one shown below is an exception. The pictures of this goods shed illustrate the construction style and materials used for Milbro buildings from that era. Many enthusiasts for vintage trains probably will be familiar with the 'toylike' style.

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Illustrations O2a, O2b and O2c  Examples of typical construction materials and features from a later period Milbro wooden building (a standard goods shed as catalogued), together with the trade mark (enlarged, from underneath). This is the only example I have of that trade mark, as such models often seem to come unmarked, and I only have a small group of buildings (given that storing them takes a lot of space!).

I do not have a very substantial collection of Milbro accessories and lineside items upon which to draw for this section of the website, as I have never set out directly to hunt for the accessories or buildings. I will show some examples I have from the Milbro range, however, within the sub-section containing catalogue pages below. Although I have seen quite a few of the buildings, all were from the later period, during which the company advertised them in a distinctive coloured section of their catalogue. Non-catalogued buildings in the same style also appear from time to time, although it may be hard to attribute them with complete certainty to Mills; I have seen two large carriage sheds and a handsome footbridge. There could be others.   

 

Extracts from Milbro catalogues (with a few examples of the actual items sold)

(i) Early wooden railway buildings, etc.

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Illustrations O3a, O3b and O3c. Three catalogue extracts from fairly early catalogues. There is a reference here to North Light sheds, but no picture of one. The company offered buildings in several scales, including Gauge two-and-a-half. Track was already built into the loco shed, and its doors were apparently hinged. 

 

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 Illustration O4  The water crane shown at this time differs from the one shown in later catalogues.

 

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 Illustrations O5a and O5b  These extracts include the earlier type of coal office and an interesting signal box.

 

(ii) Turntables, loading gauges, level crossings, signals, signal rods, people, buffers, lever frames, fences, etc.

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(This model is not quite the same as that in the catalogue page above, but probably made by Milbro. There is some damage at the right hand end.)

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(Water cranes with similar features were sold by Milbro and Bassett-Lowke. This one more or less conforms to the later of the Mills designs, rather than being like the one shown earlier in Illustration 04. It lacks its chain and the handle from the top of its shorter vertical column. I have also shown the top section from another one to indicate how the crane was assembled; the top part can be turned.)

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(Milbro colour light signal. This has a wooden base, and is probably rather rare.)

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(Made up lever frames, with some separate parts shown in front.)

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(The two photos above show some of the features of a standard rail-built buffer stop.)

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Illustrations O6a-O6x  These extracts show something of the variety being offered in the 1930s. There is a little overlap with our sub-section (below) focussed on track and related parts.

 

(iii) Complete layouts, scenic and building materials, etc.

(NB Items for building locomotives and rolling stock are dealt with in other sections of this site)

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 Illustrations O7a-O7g  The company not only provided specific materials for modellers, but could also produce substantial complete layouts to order.

 

(iv) Electrical equipment for running model railways

(NB  Loco motors and components for mechanisms are dealt with in the Locomotives section of this website)

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Illustrations O8a-O8g   Some controllers or related items may seem out of date or even archaic today, but the catalogue entries might still provide interesting historical insights. I have only ever met one collector who specifically sought out controllers, and I do not have any relevant examples in my own collection to show here.

 

(v) Track gauges, components, track, etc. (selective examples)

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Illustrations O9a and O9b  The track gauges included in these two extracts are relatively early types. The lower example is a form of gauge that may have been available from other retailers as well as Milbro, and Mills supplied it in gauge One as well as gauge 0.

 

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Illustrations O9c, O9d and O9e  The type of track gauge seen in these three pictures was available in the later pre-war years and also after the war.

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Illustrations O10a-O10h   Milbro offered a good variety of components and made-up track. It seems that their track products were well regarded, perhaps especially their 'scale model' range. The catalogues showed a wider array than is presented above.

 

(vi) Later period wooden buildings

The most well-known Milbro buildings are those of the later series, including the engine shed, signal box, etc. Construction and design are very simple, but the items seem quite well liked by collectors. They probably had good 'play value' on layouts (and no doubt many still do).

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Illustrations O11a-O11d     An introductory page referring to the buildings, together with pictures of the specific models.

 

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Illustration O12a   Standard late period engine shed. Since this building was first sold the windows have been upgraded to glass and track has been inserted. It has also lost its opening double doors from the front. There is wiring at the rear which runs to a bulb mounted inside. I do not know whether there would originally have been metal fittings on the tops of the chimneys/vents, but so far I have not seen these on this type of loco shed. 

 

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Illustration O12b  This example of a coal order office has been renovated, and a base and advertising signs have been added. The door has been given hinges, rather than the simple pin arrangement it would have had when made.