The Mak's company originated in the 1950s as a supplier of plastic items to other trade and industry players. During 1960, the company was re-established as Maks Industrial Ltd.
At the time many Hong Kong factories were having success in the plastic goods trade, making everything from combs and toothbrushes, to kitchen ware and toys. Many of the items they produced were exported to UK distributors of toys and novelty items.
Several UK companies realised there was a big market for toys and set up their businesses to concentrate on well-designed toys with a lot of play value. However they realised that to do so would need a lot of investment and that it would be cheaper if the toys could be "newer and improved" versions of what was available in the market place. One approach was to purchase toys already available from other manufacturers and make plastic versions with modifications or additional features such as sound, friction drive, etc.
F. Levy and Co. Ltd.*, was one such company who contracted with the Maks Industrial Company for the supply of toy vehicles, manufactured to Levy's designs. These toys were based on existing toys by manufacturers such as Dinky Toys with the designs being subtly altered to avoid legal action by the original manufacturer. Levy & Co. are considered by some to be the pioneers in this field and which included reproducing some items in a much larger scale than the original manufacturer.
It has been reported Don Stephen, the sales and purchasing manager, visited Hong Kong with a supply of toy vehicles for re-imagining in Hong Kong. Maks Industrial Ltd was chosen as the source of manufacture but the toy had to be designed to Levy & Co.'s specification which would include friction power motor and packaging in boxes carrying branding unconnected to the actual manufacturing company or companies. This was not of any importance to the manufacturer, as at that time the manufacturer was simply being paid (under contracted terms) to manufacture and supply a set number of toys. Using Maks Industrial to supply toy vehicles did not stop Maks, several years later, from using the tooling themselves to make and sell the same toys under their own name 'MAKS'. Apparently they owned the original tooling!
|* Graces Guide:
F. Levy and Co
of 22-24 Tabernacle Street, Finsbury Square, London, EC2. Telephone: Clerkenwell 1869. Cables: "Fleveco, Finsquare, London". (1929)
of 698 Green Lanes, Winchmore Hill, London, N21. Telephone: Laburnum 4757-8. Cables: "Fleveco Winchmore, London." (1947)
1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Tops, Skipping Ropes, Parts for Toys, Wooden Toys, Flags, Advertising Novelties, Paper and Cardboard Novelties. (Stand No. C.20)
1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Bazaar Goods, Dolls' Furniture, Books, Drawing Slates, Games, Toys, Seaside Spades, Skipping Ropes, Tops, Wooden Toys, Toy Scales. (Olympia, 2nd Floor, Stand No. J.2284)
[Note: references to Fleveco and Clifford toys all relate to F. Levy & Co. who certainly used the Clifford name as one brand for their toys.]