Pelham Muffin the Mule.
Many people are confused by the Pelham 'horse' or 'foal'
which are thought to be Muffin the Mule. Muffin has sturdier
legs (sharing the legs and body with Little White Bull)
And a bell under his chin.
Moko Muffin Junior puppet was created by Mr Alfred Gilson
in 1950. Indeed, he was invited to accompany Annette Mills
to Selfridges to promote the puppet in the summer of 1950.
Approximately 50,000 puppets were eventually sold.
The puppet was marketed by the firm of Moses (Morris) Kohnstam.
The Kohnstam Company was a leading importer of German toys
into the UK and Moko was the company trade name. The marketing,
in the early 1950's, was undertaken by Richard Kohnstam,
(the founder's nephew), on behalf of Alfred Gilson.
Mr Gilson had created a "Pressure Die-casting" business
although, according to his son, Mike, his original skill
was as an electrician. It appears that early creations of
die cast toys for his children led to the setting up of
a full time business.
Mr Gilson ran the family business from a factory at 1a,
Shacklewell Lane, Dalston, E8, London until he emigrated
with his family to Canada in March 1951. The advent of the
Korean War, in late 1950, meant that, by 1951, metals such
as zinc (used to produce the Muffin puppet) could no longer
be made available for the production of toys.
Mr Gilson had emigrated to Canada in the hope that he could
establish production elsewhere but, was not successful.
The family later moved to Los Angeles where he lived until
his death in 1980.
During his time in Shacklewell Lane, Alfred Gilson rented
part of those premises to a three some known as the 'Lesney
boys'....and Muffin production was resumed after the war
ended in 1953, under the auspices of the Lesney factory.
Kohnstam and Lesney remained linked until 1959 when Lesney
bought the Moko name.
Very little information has survived about the Gilson
contribution and I'm very grateful to Mike Gilson who provided
the back ground information on his father and to Patrick
Talbot for his considerable assistance in linking the information
provided by Mike Gilson with his own research on die cast
toys. Some of this information and further reference material
may be found in "Collecting Matchbox Toys, the first 40
years" for which Patrick was Consultant editor.