by Karl Schnelle
A year ago, we published Catalog Corner: Marklin RAK, so it is about time for another! This time, Karl’s Katalog Korner will be about Tekno, mostly from Denmark. Part II will mention Tekno Holland. Even though Tekno started pre-war in Copenhagen, my catalogs only go back to the late 1950s. Let us know if you have any earlier ones! I also have seen a few other catalogs pictured online so I know there are more out there than what are shown here. See tekno-vilmer.dk for example
The Royal Library in Denmark has 2 remarkable catalogs, from 1940 and 1958. I have never seen them for sale. The blue 1940 has construction kits, doll furniture, and wooden toys, but only the last few pages have vehicles: tinplate fire trucks and a tinplate ambulance plane. The tall, skinny red calalog from 1958 has many diecast cars and trucks but is from 18 years later!
The red one is also on this Danish site, along with a larger dealers catalog (undated) in a red binder, but only the cover is shown.
Tekno made a lot of engineering or construction sets (like Meccano) – their catalogs and instruction manuals are not included in this review.
The first two catalog sheets are dated by the models shown on them, so 1956 is just an estimate. (Click on all images for larger versions.) They are both large two-sided, single sheets that fold up to small rectangles (the middle section with the blue Thunderbird). This one is in English.
Because this one has the new Ford Taunus van, I dated it to 1957 when that van was introduced by Tekno. It’s the same size as the previous one but easy to tell the difference by the color of the car in the middle; a green Thunderbird. This one is in French, so I assume that these 2 sheets came in multiple languages each.
These next two are other early catalogs that I have and are very similar to each other but much smaller than the previous two. Really they are just 4-section foldouts with the back being a pricelist and the middle drawings of more cars with their reference numbers. The one on the left has English/French/German text inside (no prices), but the one on the right is for the Swedish market (with prices in Swedish krona). The three trucks on the right are also Swedish versions of more common Teknos. The catalogs are dated to around 1958 or 59 by the newest cars pictured inside.
The next three catalogs are the same size as the previous (10 cm x 15.5 cm) but are now in booklet form. They are again dated by when the newest cars illustrated were released. They are easy to put in order because they have numbers circled on the top right of the cover. From what I have gathered, these are not catalog numbers (if so, where are 1 to 24?) but are the price in Danish øre (100 øre per kroner).
This catalog has a collector’s name stamped on it, I think, as opposed to the more common dealer or store stamp (see the 2nd catalog above). The Scania-Vabis fire truck is a beautiful example of their work in the 1960s. I also love the different versions of the Mercedes-Benz ambulance: black Falck ambulance and black/red fire department ambulance. The yellow metal flag is sitting in a hole on the roof and is usually missing now-a-days, if you can find one at all.
The following year (more or less) saw the same format but with different cars and trucks on the cover. Plus, price increased to 30 øre. The Scania-Vabis excavator is pictured in the common colors it came in, but the two Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs are much brighter and more colorful than any Tekno I have seen.
The bar at the bottom of the cover changes to yellow background, where symbols for features are described in six languages: suspension, steering, and interior seats! [Ed. Note: Date was corrected to 1963 per Peter Frandsen.]
The third in this little series again has a Scania-Vabis truck plus a car on the cover. The front and back cover are shown above. Price goes up to 35 øre, and seven languages are now on the yellow bar!
The back of my copy (with six airplanes) is stamped Schuco Toy Company Inc, New York, – an interesting connection!
Tekno modernized in 1968 by going to color photography and adding a date to their catalogs. Two Ford D-800 dump trucks are featured as well as two very serious-looking Danish kids. A newer Mustang and Monza are shown (opening features not shown!). The older Scania-Vabis Esso tanker is shown in the background as well as half an old beetle on the left. The size increases to 20 cm x 15 cm, as well, for this one, as well as the next two.
These three larger catalogs all have two years printed on their covers – perhaps they were made for the Christmas season which was always huge for Tekno. In any case, 70-71 was very hard to find years ago but now seems to be just as common as the other two on current auction sites. On the cover is another kid who is playing with the Scania CR-76 bus. Lots of play value was included with this bus: opening doors, steering, and driver! Even as a kid, I always liked the skylights so you could peek in and see the seats and full interior! I never had this catalog as a kid, but I did have the bus!
I did find a few of these catalogs as a kid, in two toy stores on the Walking Street in Copenhagen in 1972. The Ford D-800 appears again but with cargo bed this time. The rear sides fold down, as well as the rear tailgate. The rear bed is all plastic but adds lots of play value. Doors open and cab tips up, but this is not shown in the cover photo.
These are all the common catalogs I have seen. In Part II (coming soon), we will explore the Japanese, French, and Dutch connections.
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