Posted by Penelope Lovesy at 14/05/2021 16:49:21
This week we’re featuring an item from our new temporary display: ‘Model Maker.’ This waterline ship model is of the SS Rex, an Italian ocean liner that launched in 1931.
A ‘waterline ship model’ stops where the water would be when at sea. Placed on a flat surface, the ship looks like it is floating. For many years, people associated waterline ship models with a range made by Bassett-Lowke.
Bassett-Lowke was a toy company in Northampton. They started as a mail-order business in 1898. They specialised in model railways, model boats and construction sets.
Bassett-Lowke started selling their waterline ship model range in the early 1900s. The range came about after Edward Hobbs, a marine architect, was hired as manager of their London shop. Hobbs was allowed to find new products to sell. He asked skilled craftsman in and around London to make scale ship models. These included a range of wooden waterline ship models, made to a scale of 100 feet to the inch (1:1200).
Bassett-Lowke’s waterline ship models were very popular before and during World War One. By the 1950s, however, the company decided to sell less of their own product lines and the range was stopped.