This Hungarian company is best known for its many tinplate and plastic toys, many of which feature a mechanical feature, e.g. a flywheel motor or other mechanically operating device. Many of the items produced feature the trademark of a squat diamond with "e. Flim Lemez" inside it. They are also often marked "FOREIGN" to indicate they were produced for export to other countries.
Hungarian toy production is usually stated to have started around 1953, when the Government decided that the Lemezes Factory should be the center of toy production. However, the story really started earlier in 1872 at Mihály Stadler's factory where hand-made toys were made, (sandbox, toy bucket). Later, Müller and Fehér made lithographed watering cans; the Hungarian Metal Box Works Co. a playground, a lithographed toy car, and a torsion spring crocodile figure. Spielberger produced flutes, mouth harmonicas, musical boxes, and toy cars. Géza Monsbarth's factory produced about 1 million trumpets, 550,000 plug guns, game swords, snails, baby bikes, and baby sets.
After nationalisation in 1948, and the attachment of the Metal Box and Tube Works of Győr to the Plate Mill, meant a concentrated production base later known as the Elzett's factory. They started to produce spring-loaded lorries and aircraft based on Czech and German patterns. Soon the first flywheel game was completed and, in 1954, the first electric slide projector (the success of which was also supported by the expansion of the Hungarian Diafilm Manufacturer Company). In the next few years, there were other types of flywheel cars: ambulances, open and closed trucks, fire trucks, crane cars, and three car bodies that could be dismantled and assembled. A novel spring toy was the Mountain Rail. They also tried plush, spring powered, stepping teddy bears and elephants.
In 1957-58, a temporary downturn was caused by the abolition of the production of so-called "bazaar toys" (strollers, baby beds, racing cars, buses). However, strong technological and product development was still carried out as follows:
- 1958-59: Roli Zoli, 240 flywheel car fleet, flywheel helicopter, powerbike motor, spring chick, chariot car.
- In 1960: Wagonway car, flywheel scooter, lighting stove, spring chick, roller coaster.
- In 1961-62: electric car with remote control, spring-loaded shunting locomotive, transport game, jet boat, flywheel motorboat, go-kart.
- In 1963-64: (by this time, 72 kinds of toys were being produced.) Fiat, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Citroen, Trabant flywheel cars, loading train, screaming pig, flywheel mouse, windmill, turbo mixer, coffee grinder, electric powered convertible.
- In 1965: flywheel BMW, Opel, Ford, Dodgem, TU104, basketball, skating Eskimos, moon rocket.
- In 1966: electric self-leveling ring locomotive, rocket and machine guns.,
- In 1967-1968: Donald Duck, helicopter station, french tivoli, a space car, a basketball game, and robot scout.
By 1970 plastics were replacing the use of tin in the toys, yet these toys and games were found in almost every Hungarian home and soon became favorites of children over several generations.
The Győr Plate Factory was established at the site of Vesuvius Rt. On September 20, 1918, the Hungarian Enamel and Metal Factory bought this area because they wanted to create a metal box factory here. After the purchase, however, the plant was left empty for a long time due to the unfavorable political and economic situation. By December 1924, it was registered as being a factory for Hungarian Metal Boxes, owned by Zoltán László. His trademark was added to the products, and later the factory was named after the German pronunciation (EL-ZETT). In the 1930s, its main concern was the production of smooth and lithographed boxes, tin cans, posters, and medicine boxes. In the pre-war years, they had 160 machines and 170 workers, and produced hundreds of thousands of boxes per week that were shipped abroad. The main markets for the products were Calcutta in India, but they were also shipped to Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, and South America.
During the war the Germans used it as a warehouse, and after their withdrawal, the company started production again with only 13 people. All production was difficult, because the most valuable machines and materials had been taken away.
In 1947, one of the locksmiths began designing toy cars, with the idea of producing thousands of small cars for Christmas. A year later, the number of workers in the factory had risen to 67, but orders were scarce and working conditions were still very poor. As demand for traditional tin products diminished, they moved towards making more toy products. In 1954 the factory became a part of the ELZETT Group. After a slow start in the 1950s, by 1957, the factory was exporting children's toys, mainly to the West.
They also developed an innovation to solder the tin without manual handling. The production of toys was also modernised, with the production of "bazaar" toys being discontinued and production transferred to mechanical (primarily flywheel) and spring-mechanical toys.
(Sources: translations from jatekanno.hu, lemezarugyarjatekai.hu, and gyoriszalon.hu)