Pages

A History of Toymakers

1944

Tom Cassidy worked throughout the war as a toolmaker, hand engraver and die sinker, latterly in Blackpool, and consequently did not serve in the Armed Forces. In his spare time he raised capital by repairing household vacuum cleaners, and on 16 September 1944 he married Bridget Donnelly.

1945 – 1949

Tom built a shed at the rear of his mother’s house in Blackpool where he made moulds to produce small articles of adornment for children in the shape of skating boots. In early 1946 he left his ‘day job’ as a toolmaker, became self-employed and on 8 June 1946 he began to record sales in his first ledger (which is available for inspection at the company).

Tom purchased a semi-detached house in Blackpool and constructed larger premises at the back, from which modest expansion followed.

1950 – 1957

Small rented premises were acquired and with 12 employees, output increased and trading conditions improved. Major expansion started. Purchase tax was dropped, so that products could be handled by the wholesale trade. Tom was joined in the partnership by his brother Joe. The trademark ‘CASDON’ was registered (a combination of Cassidy and Bridget’s maiden name, Donnelly).

The company moved to larger premises. Cassidy Brothers became a limited company. A plot of land was purchased and the factory was built, where Casdon’s premises remain sited today.

1958 – 1961

The tool making section of the company was separated from the fancy goods manufacturing and Joe Cassidy was appointed managing director to organise the steady development of this side of the business.

The first toys were produced and exhibited at the Harrogate Toy Fair. The company was firmly established with its products and gained acceptance at all levels of distribution. During this period, the factory constantly expanded and new equipment purchased.

Cassidy Brothers showed their expanded range of toys at the Nuremberg Toy Fair. In 1961 a bungalow and adjacent land was purchased for £2800, which later became part of the company’s premises.

1962 - 1963

Introduction of the Jumbo Telephone toy, a replica of the new and only domestic telephone available on the UK market. Another landmark toy – Supercash, a replica of the high street cash register with a patented mechanism designed by Joseph Cassidy – was also launched.

Paul Cassidy, eldest son of Tom joins the company as an apprentice toolmaker.

1964 - 1967

Casdon continues to develop toy versions of domestic appliances, such as a working carpet sweeper, mini steam iron and a bigger super iron. After England’s World Cup win in 1966, the Bobby Charlton Soccer Game with patented mechanism was introduced.

1968 - 1973

Casdon was the first company in the UK to invest in the first vacuum metal coating machines that deposit a shiny aluminium coating to plastic, made in the UK by Metro Vickers in Manchester. This enabled us to make products that had never been seen before: a metal Kettle; a chrome effect sparkling trim of a toy Cooker; Kitchen Scales resplendent with chrome effect scoop; Washing Machine featuring a chrome bezel encircling the door window; a chrome sink and draining board on our toy Sink Unit.

We also launch an extensive range of pre-school educational toys.

1974 - 1979

Despite difficult economic conditions and with subsequent considerable investment in toolmaking and manufacturing, our first Sit ‘n’ Ride and our Roly Poly with a Rolls Royce body are brought to market.

In 1979 Toy Fair moves to Earls Court, but TGWU issues general strike that results in previous Boat Show exhibits left in ground floor lake; Toy Fair is miraculously moved to Olympia in just 7 days.

1980 - 1981

A challenging time with 2 ¼ million unemployed in the UK and enforced redundancies and 3-day week. Continue to utilise household names for replica toys.

A ‘Knight in shining armour’- a toy buyer from Littlewoods – visits us and says he needs a supplier to satisfy demand for a 4ft x 2ft toy snooker table. Casdon makes them and we mould our own snooker balls; this was followed up by production of 3ft, 5ft and 6ft tables.

1984 - 1988

We obtain our first licence to make the latest Electrolux vacuum cleaner and follow that up with  licences for a: Rowenta Kettle; Beldray ironing board; Addis Cleaning set; Hoover Washing Machine; Sharp Microwave; Morphy Richards Iron; Creda Cooker; Hotpoint Dishwasher; Kenwood Chef Food Mixer, Hygena Kitchen Unit and the Ewbank sweeper – all household names at the time. By following the licence principle, we protected ourselves from Chinese copies.

1989

Casdon becomes a public company: Cassidy Bros plc. This coupled with high interest rates and the decline of the retail market makes it a challenging year for the company. 

1990 - 1993

Casdon ventures into tubular metal products and real nursery items, including a travel cot and a baby rocker featuring the first ever ‘toy bar’ of 3 spinning bears. Half year turnover increased by 46%.

Introduce the latest Electrolux contour toy vacuum cleaner.

Build new warehouse with a mezzanine floor giving us 49,000 sq. ft., connected to the new assembly hall. BS5750 accreditation in April 1992 and the Kitemark awarded the following November.

Nursery travel cot introduced.

1994

Make plans to move some production to China but initially thwarted by the new import quota system from the EU to reduce Chinese imports and putting a halt to new importers.

1996

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the company.

1997 - 1998

Paul Cassidy approaches James Dyson with a proposal to develop toy replicas of Dyson vacuums. He presents an idea that shows simulated ‘dust’ spinning in the central canister – just like the real thing –  in the form of attractive coloured beads. Mr Dyson loved the inventiveness and granted Casdon the license to produce Dyson toy vacuums.

The first replica produced in 1998 was the toy Dyson DC01 vacuum.

The ‘Talking Teletubbies Land’ was also introduced to market in the same year.

Started moving production to China.

2000 - 2005

The toy Dyson DC05 was launched in 2000 and the Hotpoint Washer and Hotpoint Cooker were introduced in the same year.  By 2001 all production had moved to China.

The highly popular Pick & Mix Sweet Sweet Shop (with real sweets!) was first seen in 2002 and it’s a best seller to this day. To reflect the changing face of the high street, we developed a Halifax Cash Dispenser in 2004.

2005 saw the toy Dyson DC08 added to our expanding Dyson range.

2006 - 2008

Another vacuum cleaner brand, popular with parents and children alike was introduced as a Casdon toy replica in 2006 – the Henry Vacuum Cleaner.

Our Chip ‘n’ Pin Till was added to our shopping toys’ range and two further replica Dysons followed – the iconic-shaped DC14 and then the DC22 Canister Vacuum in 2008.

2009 – 2010

Large inflation in China pushes up cost prices dramatically.

The company’s name was changed from Cassidy Brothers PLC to Casdon PLC in 2010.

First TV advertising on the toy George Foreman Grill and Postman Pat Steering Wheel.

The Henry and Hetty Cleaning Trolleys were introduced to compliment the popular vacuums.

Casdon starts its push into the USA market, shipping our first container to a 3rd party warehouse facility.

2011 - 2013

Launch of our replica of the contemporary Dyson Ball featuring the same cyclone action proposed by Paul Cassidy to James Dyson all those years ago.

Company’s 65th Anniversary.

The first large order from a mass retailer cements Casdon’s position in the USA.

Hong Kong office established in order to facilitate further growth internationally.

 

2015 – 2016

Delisted from the stock market. Company name changed to Casdon Ltd.

Celebrate the company’s 70th Anniversary.

2018 – 2019

The Casdon toy replica of the Dyson Cord-free is introduced with great success. It is also significant in that it is our first product manufactured in India.

Through some very difficult trading conditions Casdon records its 10th year of consecutive growth in 2019. We recruit in all departments to strengthen the team, including 3 full time positions in Hong Kong.

Our latest toy replica is introduced – the Flymo Lawn Mower

2020

Watch this space!