In the years prior to the Second World War Sydney S. Bird and Sons,
of Enfield, Middlesex, UK, was a manufacturer of radio components. The
company’s products were marketed under the trade name of "Cyldon", this
name being derived from the Christian names of Sydney Bird's two sons
Cyril and DonaldIn early 1947 they decided to diversify and started producing toys.
Their first product was a construction set, similar to "Meccano", which
they called "Prestacon". This was followed by a range of toy cookers,
sewing machines and steam engines. In the book "Toyshop Steam" the
engines were incorrectly attributed to "Rees and Company". This is
because they were marketed by the wholesaler Leon Rees of London.
Production of steam engines lasted until around 1951 when there was an
upturn in the electrical component market related to the increase in
the sales of televisions.
They made an interesting range of steam engines, including a very intriguing semi-rotative valve model. This model I find the most appealing: it is a proper slide valve engine. It is a lot smaller than it appears, the footprint is about the size of a medium-size mamod, but it packs in an awful lot, and it is very well designed! For example, the large three wick burner is held in place by a couple of bolts through the plate, preventing it from vibrating loose.
I was very pleased to find this engine at a reasonable proce, and even more pleased when the seller informed me he'd found the original box as well! I love the way it looks, I will carry out no restoration on this engine. It runs very well, as can be seen in this video.